Why I'm Supporting Bernie Sanders
"He is the man of the people. He has to be, his name is Bernie." ~ Sarah Silverman
Like many Americans, I've become disillusioned with the political process in this country.
We all know that the two-party system is essentially a sham, and that the presidential nominees are sponsored by the same corporations, which means they represent the interests of the same corporations, and their views - however polar opposite they may appear, are actually the same in that they do not address the status quo. When the CEO of Goldman Sachs says that he’d be just fine with either Bush or Clinton, what does it tell you?
The last time I was hopeful about the presidential race was in 2008 - the Obama/McCain election. It was exciting to witness the first African American be elected president, especially on the platform of Change. The euphoria evaporated once the outrageous $700 billion Wall Street bailout rolled in. The rest of his time in office Obama dedicated to moderate to negligent upgrades to the broken economy, passing a bulky healthcare bill, and fighting off rabid political opponents. And racism, I'm sure.
So I decided: I'm done with this bulls**t. I'm too jaded to even vote, never mind to actually believe in another candidate. Enter Bernie Sanders.
What's Different About Bernie Sanders?
Everything. He's a socialist. He's Jewish. He won't attack his opponents. He doesn't take money from the corporations. He won't comb his hair.
But most importantly, out of all the candidates he strikes me as a completely sincere person. It's a strange thing to say about a politician but it's true. And if enough people recognize it, he has a strong chance to win the election.
He is also the only candidate addressing the real issues: income inequality, renewable energy, criminal justice reform, raising the minimum wage...Not in a populist fashion, but as someone who've been fighting to protect the interests of the American people for decades, and who still has a lot of fight in him.
Why Do Americans Keep Voting Against Their Own Interests?
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” ~ John Steinbeck
Steinbeck is right, as usual. The trouble with America is, everyone wants to be rich, and they vote as if they already are.
It is common knowledge that policies of the Republican party favor the wealthy elite, yet millions of working class, low and middle income Americans continue to support them. What gives? Personally, I blame Fox News. The conservatives learned how to use fear and white Christian bias against Muslims, gays and atheists in their favor, manipulating the people into believing that they're voting for their "values," when in fact they're voting against their own interests. The Democratic party is better, but far too often both parties fail to represent the American working class.
What Democratic Socialism Really Means
As a self-described democratic socialist, Sanders basically advocates for a more egalitarian society, one where all people have healthcare as a right of citizenship, childcare, affordable housing and free higher education.
Now, about the "s-word"... I grew up in post-Soviet Russia when communism (along with its little brother socialism) was completely discredited and millions of people, especially young people, became disillusioned and disenfranchised. But I'll tell you a little secret: that wasn't communism, or socialism for that matter. What we had in Russia was a dictatorial semi-fascist regime with a stagnant economy and internal strife.
One has to be an idiot to compare the so-called socialist regimes in Soviet Russia, China, North Korea to Bernie Sanders' concept of "Democratic Socialism". He simply proposes what every other developed nation on earth has already embraced decades ago, things like free college education, affordable healthcare, social security, paid vacation and family leave, fair wages etc. Does that sound radical or progressive? I think it's just common sense.
Modern socialism isn't about gulags or forceful re-distribution of wealth; it's about economic and political justice, what Bernie calls "economic democracy". Don't forget - re-distribution of wealth already happened when the richest 10-20% took some more from the poor and became the richest 1%. We need to give that money back to the people before our economic system collapses entirely under the weight of corporate greed.
Some People Say That Bernie Sanders Doesn't Have a Chance. Is This True?
Not true. Sure, Sanders is either ignored or marginalized by the press, but he has a lot more grassroots support than any candidate out there, and many more Americans are starting to "feel the Bern".
To those who say that he is too old - so is the Emperor of Japan. Reagan was 74 when he got re-elected. Churchill was 71 at the end of the WWII. Sanders is very energetic and intellectually active for his age (73), so don't get hung up on a number.
Share Your Opinion
Are You Feeling the Bern?
The momentum now is nothing short of extraordinary. Sanders comes out on top in almost every major poll. That's because most Americans actually agree with Bernie on key issues like economic policies, debt-free education, affordable healthcare, expanding Social Security, breaking up the big banks, fair trade that “protects workers, the environment and jobs" etc.
Anyone - anyone - who's not a millionaire with offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands should listen to what he has to say. He is the only candidate who's looking out for the interests of real Americans. As Professor Cornel West said, "Now is the time for [Sanders'] prophetic voice to be heard across our crisis-ridden country."
© 2015 Lana Adler