Recently, I voted for Bernie Sanders as our next President.

Talib I. Karim

Talib I. Karim

Why?  Well, I’m not a millennial.  I’m 40ish, a business law professor and CEO of a STEM nonprofit.  Yet, I support Bernie because he’s an underdog just like me.

And how did I earn my underdog label?  The hard way: through a bitter divorce.

About 9 years ago, my ex-wife, decided that we had grown apart and wanted out of our 8-year marriage.  So, months after our son was born, she filed for separation.  When negotiations over alimony hit a snag, she moved for sole custody of our son by alleging that I violently pushed her and held her down.

For the record, these charges are false. Yet, I admit that our marriage was far from perfect and I made lots of mistakes.

My costliest mistake was representing myself in court to dispute these charges.

I reasoned, “I am a lawyer.  All I have to do is tell the truth.”  I was wrong.

In law school, we are taught, “The lawyer who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.”

Since then, I have spent years and thousands of dollars seeking to fix my mistake. To make matters worse, while in a senior government position several years ago, my legal woes were leaked to the press.  This caused a minor political scandal and cost me my job.

As a father who is African American and Muslim, I realize my chances are about equal to Bernie’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination.

However, Bernie inspires me.

Sanders argues that his campaign is about more than being elected President.  He too is realistic, understanding that he’s up against the most powerful forces in this nation, the establishment.

Sanders even admits that his big ideas — free college tuition at public colleges, ending the corrupting influence of big money in politics, and bringing lasting peace to the Middle East — are impossible to achieve without a political revolution, literally.

Yet, the stakes are too high for me or Bernie to fail.

Not only do I struggle for my family but for countless others.  Each week, hundreds of fathers are stripped of their parental rights.  Unlike me, few have the resources or will to fight.

And if someone with my credentials can’t get a second chance what hope is there for the millions being released annually from prison.

Bernie Sanders is an underdog.  His path to the White House is a long shot.  But as I have faith that I will, someday win joint custody of my son, likewise, I refuse to give up hope on Bernie Sanders. #IstandwithBernie, #BernieorBust

Talib I. Karim is a business law professor and CEO of STEM4Us. A lawyer and engineer by training, he previously served as the chief health and technology counsel for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).