Viewpoint

Breaking up with Bernie proves difficult

Alexandra Petri
Alexandra Petri

A great relationship can be ruined by a lousy breakup. Instead of remembering the many wonderful times you had together, all your recent memories are of his dozens of texts insisting “THIS CONVERSATION IS NOT OVER YET!!!”

You wanted to remember the good times. And there were many of them. You felt energized, at least in caucus states. You changed. You moved left.

But for you to start to miss and remember him fondly, he needs to leave and stop hoping you will change your mind.

The Sanders campaign is that person repeating the joke a second time in case maybe the reason you didn’t laugh was you didn’t hear it properly, and then a third time, and forcing you to say, “No, the reason I didn’t laugh was that it wasn’t funny. I did hear you, though!”

You hate to be that person, but he is making it difficult not to.

A man vigorously beating a dead horse is standing outside Sanders HQ sighing, “Dude, give it a rest.”

But he does not hear. He is too wrapped up in explaining for the tenth time why this won’t be over until July 25.

I think most of us have experienced the form of breakup when you say, “I don’t think we should see each other any more,” and the other party says, “I DISAGREE!” and then you are trapped into a conversation with someone who believes he is the right man for you and that the only reason you keep saying, “No, thanks, though, but it’s been great!” is that you don’t understand the magnitude of what he is offering.

But the problem is that you just don’t want what he is offering.

He seems to think that if he just explained it to you in greater detail, or louder, or at greater length, or with more excited gesticulation, you would suddenly understand and change your mind. But, in fact, that is only strengthening your conviction that it is time to end things.

You thought that when he got to the restaurant, he knew it was to say goodbye. He seemed to hint as much. But he hasn’t said it yet.

You try dropping hints, like – not voting for him, or voting for someone else, or sending President Barack Obama out with arms folded to explain that, really, your mind is made up and he needs to go.

“Yes!” Bernie says. “We should go! Somewhere quieter where we can hear ourselves think! About the revolution!”

You yawn, but he does not notice. It is over, but Sanders does not want it to be over. Instead of taking the hint, Sanders is following all of you to the parking lot and trying to continue the argument there.

You do not feel threatened, exactly. Just – embarrassed. For him.

There are so many positive things that could come out of this. He could put his frustration into taking up gardening, or trying to invest energy in socialist politics at the local level.

He’s been a movement. He’s been a voice.

But now he’s just that guy who won’t leave.

Twitter: @petridishes.

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