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writing for godot

The Indispensable Bernie Sanders

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Written by Tom Herman   
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 17:12

The Indispensable Bernie Sanders

by Tom Herman

 

Last weekend I was doing some canvassing for Bernie Sanders on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, when a woman with her young son came by. “I voted for Bernie last time,” she said, “but then there were only a few candidates, and now there are so many. I feel overwhelmed over which one to choose.”

I understood her frustration, but just as clearly I knew that I did not share it, because in my mind Bernie is not only our best choice, but actually towers over his competition. My job as a canvasser is not to “sell” Bernie, but simply to get people to see in him what I see. If I can do that, then surely they will endorse him too! Well, sometimes. People have many different reasons for liking or disliking a candidate. One lady told me she couldn't stand Bernie because he waved his arms too much when he spoke, and she wouldn't want a president who did that. And during the 2016 election my tax preparer told me that she was voting for Hillary (over Bernie) not because she liked Hillary, but because she wanted to see a female president during her lifetime. I asked if she thought that was the most important issue within a sea of important issues. “No!” she said emphatically. “It's just the most important issue for me.”

So I've learned there are arguments you're just not going to win. But the woman on the Upper East Side was a different case. She was genuinely confused and she genuinely wanted to figure out which candidate would make the best president.

May I say something that might help you simplify your choice?” I began. She was open to some input, so I said, “I do understand. There are over twenty candidates, and some of them have similar policies, so even if you know which policies you like, you still don't know which candidate is the best. Now, I confess I am a Bernie Sanders supporter, but let me tell you why I am, and why I believe he is not only better than the other candidates, but unique among them.

Notice what the candidates are talking about,” I continued. “They're debating Bernie Sanders' policies! They are discussing the policies he introduced four years ago, when everyone said they were impossible…pie-in-the-sky… not serious. So Bernie has accomplished two things: First, he has introduced a whole lot of great progressive ideas, and second, he's gotten everybody to talk about them! He has changed the political conversation, and this is the beginning of the “revolution” he is always talking about.

And what is that revolution? It is simply the notion that change does not come from the top down, but from the bottom up. He has reminded the American people—all of us—that we are so used to politicians telling us what we can have, and what we can't have, what is practical and what is not, that we have forgotten that we hold the power. Politicians are dependent on our votes, and there are lots more of us than of them and their plutocratic friends. We had forgotten this! How is it that they always have money for tax cuts for the rich, or a war with the next country they want to invade, but Medicare-for-all is too expensive? We are so used to being ignored, we feel that political policy and direction are out of our hands.

Well, stop the presses. Bernie is here to tell us otherwise. And he is the only candidate who has put it in this way. Now the others are trying to play catch-up. But they can't catch up, because it isn't just a question of which policies you offer, it's also about what government should be, and how change occurs. No one else has articulated this, much less demonstrated it, as Bernie has.”

SNAPSHOTS

Fighting for the betterment of the people is hardly a new activity for Senator Sanders. You can go online and find a photograph of him in 1962, when he was a student at the University of Chicago, speaking to a roomful of fellow demonstrators at the first civil rights sit-in in Chicago history. The student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon, had discovered that the university owned a lot of off-campus apartment buildings which were racially segregated. This news was startling since the dorms on campus were integrated. The editors gave the information to the Student Government, who asked the university chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to conduct test cases where African American students were to apply for apartments in the segregated buildings. When they were all turned down, Student Government and CORE confronted university president George Wells Beadle and demanded the buildings be desegregated. Beadle acknowledged the problem and committed to rectifying it, but he explained that it would have to be done gradually, over an indefinite period of time.

CORE president, Bernie Sanders, frustrated with this response, led a rally at the university administration building to protest the policy. Sanders said: “We feel it is an intolerable situation, when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university owned apartments.”

Then he, along with 32 other CORE members, proceeded to enter the building and camp outside the president's office. The occupation lasted thirteen days and nights. At its end, Beadle agreed to form a committee to investigate the charges of racial discrimination in the University-owned buildings. Once again, this was stalling. But after more than a year of protests, Bernie and his fellow student activists were successful. The administration relented, and racial discrimination in private university housing came to an end.

There are also photographs which show Bernie Sanders physically struggling with police during 1963 racial demonstrations. In one, his ankles are chained in protest to two black women who are lying on the ground next to him. He is upright, his arms extended behind him, clutched by two policemen, as he vigorously tries to escape their grip.

The occasion is a protest against so-called “Willis Wagons.” Benjamin Willis was the superintendent of Chicago public schools at the time. The segregated black schools were overcrowded, and instead of either creating new fully-funded school buildings or moving some of these students into various underpopulated white schools, Willis's solution was to house the overflow in trailers, which were usually placed on the schools' playgrounds or parking lots. Black parents were incensed by this treatment and they demonstrated. Ultimately there were boycotts over segregation and inequality, with some 200,000 black students staying home from school.

In 2015, Bernie described his involvement in the early civil rights movement: “It was a question for me of just basic justice—the fact that it was not acceptable in America at that point that you had large numbers of African-Americans who couldn't vote, who couldn't eat in a restaurant, whose kids were going to segregated schools, who couldn't get hotel accommodations, living in segregated housing. That was clearly a major American injustice and something that had to be dealt with.”

REVOLUTION

One of the things that distinguishes Bernie from his rivals is the consistency of his message over many years. And that message has always been about empowering people by taking on the inequities in our society. It is important that we understand what is revolutionary in Bernie's message; that we understand exactly what he is trying to do. In a recent video called 20 Questions for 2020 (published by Now This News), Bernie made several illustrative statements:

To bring about real change, you need a mass mobilization of millions of people at the grass roots level to stand up and fight for justice. . . A lot of good people, honest people, well-intentioned people say, 'You elect me and I'm going to do this'— and the result is the rich get much richer, and we have veterans sleeping out on the street.”

I look at a political movement in this country which transforms this nation. None of the ideas that I talk about, none of that stuff is radical. None of that stuff is not supported by a majority of the American people. Our job is not just to win the Democratic nomination; it is not just to defeat Donald Trump—the worst president, the most dangerous president in modern American history—our job is to transform this country. So it's not just one thing—you know it's not combating climate change or Medicare-for-all. It is doing all of those things, and we can do them because that is what the American people want.”

The history of real change in America, whether it is the civil rights movement, the labor movement, the women's movement, the gay movement, it never came down from a member of Congress or a president saying, 'You know what? I think that gay people have the right to be married! Hey that's a great idea! Let's write that bill!' That's not the way it happens. Or: 'I think that we should end segregation in America and African-Americans should have the right to vote in Mississippi!' It doesn't happen that way.”

On the Rachel Maddow show Bernie was asked that if he becomes president, and Mitch McConnell is still Senate Majority Leader, “What would you put on his plate first? What would be your first legislative priority?”

I'll tell you, before I put anything on his plate, I would be in the state of Kentucky holding a rally with tens of thousands of people, to say to what is, in fact, one of the poorest states in the country. . . that we need to raise the minimum wage. We're going to rally the American people in Kentucky. We're going to rally the American people in Mississippi. We're going to rally the people in South Carolina, to demand that their representatives—I know this is a radical idea—actually do what the American people want. The point that I make over and over again, Rachel, is the ideas that I talk about are ideas that the American people want. They don't get it because you've got a Congress indebted to wealthy campaign contributors.”

And in a Washington Post interview (7/17/19) he said:

Maybe the Washington Post might want to do a poll on this. And that is to ask the American people whether they think they should give huge tax breaks to billionaires, greatly expand military spending and then cut back on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education. Now if you did that poll what percentage of the American people would think that's a good idea?”

But Bernie goes on to say that what he is most proud of in his campaign is that it is more than a campaign. It is a movement with over 1,000,000 volunteers. As president he would expand that movement so that citizens become engaged in pressuring both Republicans and Democrats to support the needs of the working class in this country. In other words, he would be the president who brings an activist agenda to the White House. The presidency, rather than being a final pinnacle of power, complete and fixed, would be a vital extension of the movement toward popular justice. Not separate from, but united with the people, it would help galvanize the means to take on the forces that keep injustice in place.

AGE

We hear so often about Bernie's age. Some people write him off simply by saying “He's too old,”—as if that were self-explanatory. Or they say we need “new blood”, “new ideas.” That last assertion is rather perplexing, since it is Bernie who has revolutionized the conversation in Washington, the terms of debate. Half of the candidates, are aping his positions and the other half are defending against them. Fifteen dollar minimum wage… free college tuition… Medicare-for-all were considered, just a few years ago, mere pipe dreams. Through Bernie's dogged persistence they have become mainstream ideas. This is so much the case that some corporate media pundits have suggested that Bernie has served his function in making these policies mainstream, and that now, having reached a state of redundancy, it is time for him to pass the torch to someone younger. This is suspect, since these same pundits were the ones who accused him of being irrelevant four years ago because his policies were too impractical.

But the most important thing missed in this appraisal, is that it isn't his policies alone that are important, as if just anyone adopting them could carry on where Bernie left off. What is extraordinary about Bernie is that he was able, in a very short period of time and against the stonewalling and the attempted humiliation by the media and the DNC, to pull off this dramatic change in political dialog. The very fact that people can discuss these revolutionary policies as “old hat” is only proof of the effectiveness and power not only of his ideas, but of Bernie himself. Obama may have had audacious hopes, but it is Bernie who has been audacious and outspoken, fearless, and yes, the one who is most seriously bringing about the “change” that Obama could only campaign on.

Age is no doubt a disadvantage from a statistical, actuarial point of view. Fewer people in their seventies would be able to tackle the presidency than people, say, in their fifties or sixties. But individuals are very different in their capacity and in their aging. Bernie has shown zero evidence of slowing down and exhibits more vitality than many people twenty or thirty years younger. He often tires out the people working alongside him.

But there are also great advantages to his age. His depth of experience and his qualifications for the job are unassailable. Moreover, he has wisdom accumulated from his years of service to this country and its people. And we, the voters, have the assurance that throughout this long history, Bernie has never wavered from his principles, his priorities and his dedication. He is the one candidate we can look at without wondering—when push comes to shove—whose interests he will serve. We don't have to ask if he will favor the healthcare or pharmaceutical industries over the working man or woman. His long history gives us that answer.

It is Bernie that vigorously calls out bad acting corporate titans by name. His “Stop BEZOS Act” would tax employers who pay their workers so little that they are forced to obtain government assistance in order to survive. This bill was largely responsible for Jeff Bezos' raising the minimum wage for Amazon workers to $15 an hour. This was followed by Bernie's “Stop WALMART Act, which would prevent public companies from buying back their own stock unless they pay workers at least $15 per hour, offer paid sick leave, and limit CEO pay. Bernie wrote: “Since 1982, the wealth of the Walton family [Walmart's owners] has increased about 10,000 percent, and the family now owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans. Meanwhile, 55 percent of Walmart's associates are food insecure.”

In June, Bernie attended Walmart's annual shareholders meeting in Arkansas, where he confronted their corporate leadership and introduced an employee proposal to put workers on the company's board and to raise their minimum wage. He said:

Despite the incredible wealth of its owner, Walmart pays many of its employees starvation wages, wages that are so low that many of these employees are forced to rely on government programs like food stamps, Medicaid and public housing in order to survive. Further, Walmart should give a voice to its workers by allowing them seats on the board of directors. The concerns of workers, not just stockholders, should be a part of board decisions.”

In May of this year, Bernie rallied supporters to McDonald's picket lines in cities across the country. Employees had walked out on strike to fight for a $15 minimum wage, union rights, and to demand that McDonald's address workplace violence and sexual harassment issues. The Sanders campaign, using its extensive email list, turned out supporters in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, St. Louis, Milwaukee and other cities. Previously, the campaign has rallied support for the union movement for workers at Delta, Disney, Amazon, General Motors, Wabtec, Nissan, as well as teachers in Los Angeles and workers at the University of California.

THE MILITARY

Bernie's record of voting against the Iraq war is well known, due largely in contrast to Hillary Clinton's having voted for it, facts brought out in the last election cycle. But less well known are Bernie's prophetic warnings about the folly and danger of such an enterprise. He addressed Congress in 2002:

I have not heard any estimates of how many young American men and women might die in such a war or how many tens of thousands of women and children in Iraq might also be killed. As a caring nation, we should do everything we can to prevent the horrible suffering that a war will cause. War must be the last recourse in international relations, not the first.”

And: “I am concerned about the problems of so-called unintended consequences. Who will govern Iraq when Saddam Hussein is removed, and what role will the U.S. play in an ensuing civil war that could develop in that country? Will moderate governments in the region who have large Islamic fundamentalist populations be overthrown and replaced by extremists?”

The thoughtfulness and insight shown by these remarks are representative of Bernie's approach to the military generally. The 2018 military appropriations bill approved a record $700 billion for the military and intelligence agencies, an $80 billion increase from the previous year, and $26 billion more than Trump himself had requested. The bill—The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—passed in the Senate with 42 Democrats voting for it. These included Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. Only six Democrats voted against it—including Bernie Sanders. The NDAA had passed 56 years in a row—it being one of the few areas where true bipartisanship can be found: pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist legislation. For her part, Senator Warren has said, “The defense bill has a long tradition of bipartisan cooperation and I was glad to join that tradition.” Bernie was not afraid to buck tradition and stand up to the military industrial complex and vote no.

Today he is doing all he can to prevent wars in Venezuela and especially Iran. With his usual perspicacity he has said a war with Iran would “make Iraq look like a cakewalk.” He has already called the Iraq War the worst foreign policy blunder in modern American history; but an Iran war, he warns, would be far worse.

A recent example of Sanders' effectiveness in potentizing Congressional direction within the realm of foreign affairs is his work on getting the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Since 2015 our government has been assisting the Saudi war effort by providing intelligence and selling arms and ammunition to fighters from Saudi Arabia and the the United Arab Emirates. We have been a critical player in what Sanders has called “both a humanitarian and a strategic disaster.” He adds, “According to humanitarian agencies, at least 85,000 children have starved to death in Yemen since the war began and around 14 million are at risk of famine.” Add to that a devastating cholera epidemic: during an 8-month period in 2017 alone, over a million suspected cases were reported. The situation in Yemen is generally considered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Sanders, who has been leading on this issue for years, worked closely with Senators Mike Lee, a conservative Republican, and Democrat Chris Murphy to build a bipartisan coalition to end support of the war. The bill they co-sponsored, which passed decisively in both House and Senate, invokes the War Powers Act of 1973. While the Constitution clearly says that Congress has the power to declare war, the 1973 Act says that if we are aiding another country in its war effort, this is tantamount to our being part of the conflict, and therefore Congress can end our participation in it. The recent vote on Yemen was the first time the War Powers Act had been successfully used to demand withdrawal from an unauthorized war.

Not surprisingly, the joint resolution was vetoed by Trump. But this across-the-aisle rebuke of his policy and of our blind collaboration with Saudi interests is significant. Furthermore, it is an example of genuine bipartisanship. Most “bipartisanship” is nothing more than the Democratic party capitulating to Republican demands. Under Bernie's leadership, we have a case of finding common ground, where both sides can agree on a positive and worthy goal.

As the group Veterans for Bernie Sanders put it: “Sanders has an uncanny ability to reach across ideological and party divides to push an agenda that is for the people, not the special interests that have led us into perpetual war. . . He is the only candidate who has challenged Trump in the halls of power and come out victorious.”

ENDORSEMENTS AND MONEY

Bernie has a page on his website where he touts his “Anti-Endorsements” as a way of showing who he is, by reminding us of who despises him: Essentially, certain billionaires, business tycoons, Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers, as well as political organizations that support the interests of the rich. One of the anti-endorsements comes from Kenneth Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and personally worth $3.7 billion, who has called Bernie “the antichrist.” Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, a “centrist” Democratic think tank which takes Wall Street and pharmaceutical money to oppose Medicare-for-all and most other progressive ideas, has called Sanders “an existential threat to the future of the Democratic party.” Bernie aptly and powerfully quotes Franklin Roosevelt in response to such attacks:

I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”

And: “They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”

Just as his anti-endorsements reflect accurately what Bernie is not, so do positive endorsements act as appraisals of the person endorsed as well. Moderate, middle-of-the-road Democratic corporate types, while perhaps not excited about the idea of an Elizabeth Warren presidency, still view her favorably, at least by comparison with the much-reviled Bernie Sanders.

Matt Bennett, co-founder of Third Way, has said: “The thing about Warren is that she is staying within the lines of what is manageable.” And he has expressed that he felt some reassurance from the fact that at a recent speaking engagement, Warren didn't discuss single-payer health insurance—a possible indication that she was not as committed to the idea as Sanders is.

Stephanie Schriock, president of the Democratic group EMILY's List, has said: “What I am always super impressed with her about is her discussion about capitalism, and how she is a firm believer in capitalism while acknowledging there has to be some changes to protect consumers and workers in that system.”

While such comments reflect the opinions of the speakers and are not definitive of Warren's campaign itself, such perceptions do tend to give one pause. For if moderate Democrats—those who would be more comfortable with a Joe Biden, say—have conciliatory words to say about Warren—does this not suggest that their expectation is that she will be less effective than Sanders in making actual structural changes in the system?

Now while this may reassure some—people who benefit from the status quo—it suggests that there may actually be a substantive difference between Sanders and Warren, who up till now have been widely regarded as more or less similarly progressive. True, their policies have a lot in common, and both seem genuinely interested in helping the average citizen. But only one is seen as having the potential to deeply transform the system. Only one is seen as an existential threat to the plutocratic corporate order. While Sanders is revolutionary, Warren may be “manageable.”

It is not to pick on Warren, to the exclusion of so many other Democratic candidates. It is precisely because, of the several leading Democrats, she is the closest to Sanders politically, that I draw this distinction. As for the others—Biden, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, et al., with their myriad high-ticket fund-raising events—it is much easier to see their clear differences from Sanders.

Would it be radical to propose the idea that politicians can be roughly classified into two groups: those that get a significant part of their support from corporate interests and high dollar fund raising venues and those that rely on small donors? Can we agree that big money in politics is corrupting? That if you rely on big money interests to get elected, you are not going to want to jeopardize that cash flow once you are in office? Can we agree that if you rely solely on average people contributing to your campaign, there will be no conflicts of interest in serving those people after you are elected?

The mainstream media headlines like to compare quarterly donation totals among the various candidates. But you have to read the fine print to learn that while Pete Buttigieg may have received more money than Bernie Sanders in the second quarter of this year, he, like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, received the support of top financiers around the country. Sanders received no such help. Indeed, 99% of his nearly 1,000,000 donations in the second quarter were $100 or less—the average being $18!

Warren, like Bernie, has sworn off big money donations for the primary election. But if she were to win the nomination, she has said she would not honor such a pledge. “Republicans come to the table armed to the teeth,” she said on MSNBC. “They've got their wealthy, wealthy donors, they've got their super PACs, they've got their dark money, they've got everything going for them. And I'm going to be blunt: I do not believe in unilateral disarmament. We've got to go into these fights and we've got to be willing to win these fights.” And when Chris Hayes asked if she would be willing to “raise all the money you can however you can” she said that she would.

So she would take the money only in order to be competitive? But that is the exact reason everybody who takes big money takes it! And if accepting such donations is corrupting, then what difference does it make if you take them now or later? Once you are willing to accept them at all you are compromised—and Warren knows it, or else she wouldn't be forswearing them even in the primary.

Yet it appears to be even worse than that. Ruby Cramer, writing on July 15 in BuzzFeed News, reports that Warren, in order to obtain an expensive DNC voter database, relied on money from major Democratic donor Karla Jurvetson to help pay for it. (Jurvetson also helped Kamala Harris purchase the database.) The database costs $175,000 and comes with other strings attached. To obtain it, campaigns have to agree to appear once every three months at lavish DNC fundraisers, send quarterly fundraising emails on behalf of the DNC and record promotional videos for DNC use.

Many politicians give lip service to the idea that we have to get big money out of politics. Yet, at the present time there is only one way to do that: Just say no. It is difficult to argue that you want to get money out of politics because it is corrupting, yet claim that you can nevertheless accept it and remain uncorrupted. But that is what we are asked to believe, by the politicians who do so and the mainstream media who are beholden to the same corporate financing.

Of the front running candidates, only Bernie has followed Nancy Reagan's dictum. And though the former first lady was referring to a different kind of drug problem, the allure of money seems no less addicting.

RELIGION

There has been some discussion about Bernie's religion, or lack of it, and suggestion that despite his Jewish heritage he is actually an atheist. It seems to me that people who discuss Bernie in these terms are saying much more about themselves and about the deplorable state of spiritual awareness in this country than about Bernie Sanders. During the 2016 election cycle, the CFO of the Democratic National Committee, Brad Marshall, infamously wrote an email to several DNC communications directors, suggesting that if they intimated that Sanders was an atheist, they might gain some votes for Hillary among fundamentalist Christians.

In 2015, Jimmy Kimmel asked Bernie point blank if he believes in God. Bernie responded as simply, honestly and eloquently as one would expect from him: “What my spirituality is about is that we're all in this together; that I think it is not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people.”

In a Washington Post interview he said “I think everyone believes in God in their own ways. To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.” And: “I want to be treated with dignity and respect, and I want other people to be treated with dignity and respect.” Here are statements which reflect the essential teachings not only of Christianity and Judaism but of virtually every religion in the world. How far beyond the hypocritical and self-righteous religiosity of so many who purport to be doing God's work! Yet Sanders' words on the subject are almost extraneous. His policies—from Medicare-for-all to a $15 minimum wage, to free college tuition—are evidence enough of a highly evolved, highly spiritual point of view.

The conversation about religion in the world is generally on a primitive, elementary-school level. When Bernie says, “I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings,” it should make many an adherent—religious and atheist alike—sit up and take notice of what an effective, responsible and integrated life path looks like, whether you call it spiritual or humanistic.

This same philosophy dictates that Bernie look at all people as human beings, essentially equal. Thus, for example, he must be evenhanded in his view of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Israel is, of course, the third rail of American politics, and Bernie's calling out of Netanyahu's coalition as a “right-wing, dare I say racist, government” is asking for trouble. Yet, as always, principled and courageous, Bernie is speaking the truth—not the relative truth of one side of the conflict, but the truth of a larger view, a wider humanity.

It is, by the way, a blessing that Sanders is Jewish. Otherwise he would likely be reviled as an anti-Semite, for daring to include Palestinians in his definition of human beings; seeing them as worthy of respect—no more nor less than the Israelis.

WHAT DO WE WANT?

We have to decide what we're looking for in a leader. We have to ask ourselves honestly what we want. If we think the status quo is fine, or if we think that the only thing wrong with this country is the objectionable fact that Donald Trump is sitting in the White House, then perhaps Bernie Sanders is not our man. If we prefer a calming, anodyne rhetoric because we believe that lack of civility is the major threat we face as a nation; or if we think that Mr. Trump is the cause of all our problems rather than a symptom of a much deeper disease affecting our society and our shared world, then maybe Bernie Sanders is not for us.

But if we have opened our eyes and we see that it is not enough simply to get rid of Trump; that what we need is not just a tweak here or a touch up there, but a thorough reappraisal of our situation, and decisive and bold action to turn it around, then Bernie may be our only choice.

Most of the evils of the world can be connected to an insane inequality of wealth. Bernie often points out that the three richest men in America own more wealth than the entire bottom 50 percent of the country. They have become rich at the expense of others and they have more money than they could ever possibly use. At the same time, others struggle, working two or three jobs, one emergency away from bankruptcy. Many of our laws are actually written by corporate committees and are designed to maintain and increase the wealth of the already rich. Lobbyists for the military industrial complex make sure we are in perpetual war to secure perpetually more profits from perpetually more oil, meanwhile abetting the annihilation of the climate and the environment. Our politicians are bought off to do the bidding of the greedy while the will of the people is ignored.

Bernie is the only top tier presidential candidate who recognizes that the malaise is systemic. Warren almost gets it, but she doesn't realize that the problem can't be solved by a system which is itself the problem. She has a “plan for that” and plans are good, but they mean nothing if they can't be implemented. Only Bernie recognizes the missing part of the equation: the people: “Not me. Us.”

Until we recognize that we, the people, have enormous power, there is no impetus for our governing bodies to swear off the bribes of the rich. And we have no power until we realize that there is an “Us.” Bernie's “revolution” is nothing more than the understanding that together we are strong, separately we are powerless. It is a call to reclaim the power we always had but forgot about through disuse.

And one more thing: We hear so much about Bernie being too far left, too radical. The truth is that virtually all of his policies are favored by the majority of Americans. Though the corporate media will tell you otherwise, this makes Bernie a centrist, if that word refers to what appeals to the mainstream of the population. Yet Bernie is an outlier, outside the window of the usual political discourse, in his total dedication to the will of the people, to social justice and economic fairness. We are so used to hypocrisy and platitudes, that the simple truth can seem foreign. We are not accustomed to being told what deep inside we always knew: that society could be fair; it could be kind; it could support the people—every one of us.

 

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Comments  

 
+3 # RICHARDKANE.Philadelphia 2019-08-12 23:35
Bernie is the most wished for candidate for President, but many fear him calling himself a socialist would make Trump more likely to win again. Actually Trump would likely get more mileage at calling Elizabeth Warren or another entailment oriented Democrat a Socialist, as they constantly vehemently deny it, then Bernie just admitting it.
 
 
+4 # Moxa 2019-08-13 17:25
Bernie HAS to own the word "democratic socialist", just as you say. It's hard to attack someone for something they stand by and are proud of!

People are so afraid of what "other people" are going to vote for or against. You're right, there are millions of people who love Bernie yet think he is unelectable. The polls show just the opposite. In the last head-to-head with Trump, Bernie won by eight points! These head-to-head polls are some of the best evidence we have of Bernie's electability. Also his extreme popularity is shown by his vast donor base and the huge crowds he draws at his events, as well as his high favorability rating. As a volunteer canvasser for Bernie, I notice people are very vocal about their enthusiasm for him.

But the fear you mention is still there with some. I think we need a new slogan:
BERNIE SANDERS--Becaus e We Need to WIN!

I really do believe he is the MOST electable of all.

Trump is a genius at finding people's Achilles heel and bringing them down by making them look foolish. He won't be able to do that with Bernie. Bernie has every advantage, above all his time-tested honesty and integrity. Bernie will wipe the floor with Trump. It will take more than the word "socialist" to bring down someone who is so authentically populist and beloved as Bernie Sanders.
 

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