Dear Mr. Sanders,
Katie Fustich here. You surely don’t know who I am (unless you’ve taken notice of my monthly campaign contributions of $2.70 a pop), but I have been a pretty big fan of yours for a while. I just heard that you aren’t feeling too well, and that your campaign events have been put on indefinite hold while you recover.
I’m not gonna lie, Bernie — reading that you had to undergo an emergency heart procedure gave me the start of at least one gray hair. The very notion that something grave might happen to you, or that you might have to abandon the 2020 presidential race in order to care for your own health is terrifying for myself, and for the millions of others who have rested the idea of a better future on your shoulders alone.
I know you say “It’s not about me, it’s about us,” but the bigger picture is a bit of a paradox, isn’t it? I wince to admit that the success of a collective, socialist movement relies so heavily on an individual’s presence.
On the one hand, it speaks to how much you’ve done: the millions you have radicalized, or even merely given license to feel like electoral politics are relevant to them again. You have established yourself as the leader this country needs if it has any hope of surviving (let alone thriving).
Yet it also speaks to how much work is left to be done: how much this movement has yet to congeal around real, radical principles, rather than relying on a figurehead to champion our ideas in the public sphere. This is the work that we, as your supporters, need to pick up and move forward with, full steam ahead. It’s not only what you’d want, but it’s what we all need.
As you recuperate in your hospital bed, I’m sure you’re regretting the campaign stops you’re missing, the hands you’re not shaking, and the calls to action you’re not making. But I know you also have faith in us, Bernie. I really do feel the belief you have in your supporters, and the will you’ve given us to succeed in the face of adversity.
So please, Bernie, get your rest. Follow the doctor’s orders and don’t push yourself. Maybe even do a crossword puzzle or two. We will continue your work, because it is our work. We will continue spreading your message, because it is our message. And when you’re well again, we’ll continue building our movement.