Let’s Bern a path to revolution. We’re the purifiers. ––YahNé Ndgo, “Feel the Bern”
PHILADELPHIA––Tara Kurek describes herself as an orphan. By the time she was a teenager, her parents had descended from prescription drug abuse to heroin addiction. “They didn’t raise me,” she said. “I’ve been emancipated since I was 16 years old.”
Now she is 24.
After a stint living in a Baltimore women’s shelter, where she fled to escape an abusive relationship, she has returned to her hometown—Toledo, Ohio—where she is a manager at a retail store. Recently, she has been working as many hours there as possible there so that she could spend her week of vacation at the Democratic National Convention and still have enough money to eat and pay rent upon her return.
She felt it was her civic duty to show up and make her dissent known.
“I do not plan to vote for Hillary Clinton,” she told me Tuesday at a Bernie-or-Bust rally near City Hall, where hundreds gathered for speeches, songs, and chants extolling Senator Bernie Sanders and attacking his rival, who hours later formally became the first woman to win a major-party nomination for the presidency.
Part of the DNC’s official message is that the left is better off sticking together, that liberals must unite to stop Donald Trump from harming women, Hispanics, and Muslims. On consecutive nights, Sanders himself endorsed that message in words and deeds. But neither Democratic unity nor the lens of identity resonates with Kurek—who is white yet relatively unprivileged—as much as alternative lenses, like flaws in the electoral system, economic injustice, and environmental crises.