Well, it took more than 40 years but the ol’ geezer has gone and done it. I gave money to a political candidate. First time in my life. I know, shame on me for contributing to any of those money-grubbing scoundrels. So, you might be wondering what cataclysmic event spurred such a nefarious gesture. Some guy, a Senator I think, decided to crash the Hillary Clinton coronation event otherwise known as the United States Presidential Election. How crass!
Can I get a Hallelujah?! Bernie Sanders, Independent Senator from Vermont, has decided to seek the Democratic nomination for President. I would have preferred that he remain Independent but, thanks to the Federal Election Commission and restrictive state regulations that effectively bar third-party candidates from even getting on the ballot, it was probably the best way for him to ensure his message gets heard by the people. That message needs to be heard. Loudly.
“But wait, isn’t he some kind of commie socialist?” Grow up, the Cold War’s been over for decades. He is a ‘democratic socialist’. Why should that scare you? Socialism ≠ communism. And, besides, the good ‘ol US of A already engages in some aspects of socialism such as Social Security and Medicare. The idea is to take what’s good about Socialism and weave it into the best aspects of Capitalism to create a system that is more equitable and fair for ALL citizens. A pure Capitalist society will always eventually benefit the ‘haves’ more than the ‘have-nots’.
What makes Senator Sanders so special that I would open my wallet for him? Hmmm, let me count the ways:
- He speaks the truth as he sees it straight from the heart. Listen closely to all the candidates. Yes, you can hear the specially crafted sound bites carefully designed to not quite specifically address the issue. You can hear them deftly skirt a straight answer. Bernie will tell you what he believes whether you like it or not. What he believes, not what he thinks you want to hear in a shameless attempt to garner your vote.
- He believes in publicly funded elections and that voting should not be made more difficult with voter ID laws that deprive some citizens of their Constitutional right to cast a ballot. He believes that money has poisoned our electoral system. I think only the most naïve would believe that money doesn’t talk.
- He believes that, in a moral society, it is incumbent upon those who have the wherewithal, to help provide basic assistance to those whose legitimate need is the greatest. I can hear it now, “I’m sick and tired of working my ass off so those lazy, good for nothing moochers can collect welfare.” I’ve said it myself. We all know the system is abused, but that’s another subject. It doesn’t render the principle invalid. There ARE those whose need is indeed legitimate.
- He understands that “free trade agreements” are destroying the middle class. We are told that these agreements will create “millions of jobs”. Yeah, in China, Mexico, Viet Nam and dozens of other places around the world but not here. TPP will send even more jobs overseas as the corporations seek to reduce labor costs hence maximizing profits for the shareholders. A strong and vibrant middle class is essential to our economy. What do these CEO’s think will happen to their profits when there aren’t enough “workers” left with enough disposable income available to buy their products?
- He recognizes the need to rebuild our infrastructure – roads, bridges and rail systems creating jobs here at home. Jobs which, by the way, would get workers out of the unemployment lines reducing government expenditure and get them paying taxes again thereby increasing tax revenue. Put Americans to work. What a novel approach!
- He understands that no one can survive on $7.25 an hour in today’s economy. Could you?
- He believes the science that tells us that global warming is an imminent threat and sees the need to move away from fossil fuels improving air quality as well as eliminating the need for such environmental dangers as the Keystone pipeline.
- He believes (as do other major countries) that healthcare should be readily and affordably available to all. If you think our current system isn’t broken then please explain to me why the hospital charges $7.00 for a dose of aspirin when I can buy 100 tablets at less than 6₵ each at retail prices? Sheer robbery.
- He believes he can help old geezers such as me by increasing Social Security benefits. Aha! Here’s where the Senator and I disagree, albeit slightly. He proposes raising the cap on taxable income. I would prefer to see the cap raised even higher than his proposal combined with a small reduction in the rate giving a small tax cut to the lower earners. But why quibble?
- He believes we have wasted too much money and too many lives waging an unwinnable war in the Middle East and that it is high time the other nations in that part of the world shoulder their share of the burden.
The list goes on, reforming the Banking industry and Wall Street, overturning Citizens United, revitalizing our education system, making college affordable, preventing corporations from stashing profits overseas to avoid taxes. All are lofty goals indeed. He will be strongly opposed by the oil industry, the banks, the big corporations and the politicians in the pockets of the wealthy. It will be up to us, the millions of hard working folks that Senator Sanders has spent 40 years fighting for to help his message reach as many people as possible.
Over the past several decades “We the people” have abdicated our Constitutional right to govern ourselves. We’ve done this by allowing money and the pursuit of power to corrupt our political processes. We’ve done this by failing to stand up and challenge the status quo. We’ve done this by failing to be informed. We’ve done this by failing to vote. Political inertia on the part of the citizenry plays right into the wheelhouse of the political establishment and they are quite content to see it stay that way. “We can just keep doing what we’re doing, they don’t care enough to vote us out.” They don’t want some “rabble rouser” coming in and disrupting the clubhouse. They don’t want anyone speaking out in a way that might force them to do the job they were elected to do which is to represent the “people” and not just the corporations and wealthy individuals who financed their election campaigns. Have we simply forgotten that they are supposed to work for us?
From the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The following truths seem to me to also be self evident:
- Over the last 30-40 years our government has, without question, repeatedly failed to secure the “Safety and Happiness” of the general populace and has, in fact, become “destructive of these ends”.
- The government has, however, managed to secure the safety and happiness of the wealthy and to ensure that they get even wealthier.
- The government has also managed to secure the safety and happiness of large corporations.
- The government has failed to properly prosecute the individuals and big banks that caused an economic recession that ruined millions of hard working Americans’ retirement plans. The government has failed to institute regulations designed to prevent another such occurrence.
- The government has failed to create an economic environment that provides for the needs of the many.
- (Insert here any of the dozens more that would fit).
More of the same is in the pipeline if we don’t act now. It is time for the political revolution of which Senator Sanders speaks. “We the people” must shed our political apathy and engage in the process if there is to be any chance to change the mind set in Washington. We cannot depend on the corporate owned mainstream media to do it for us – because they won’t. They will attempt to marginalize, even ignore him. We can’t allow that. They say he can’t win. Let’s get out there and prove them wrong. Our country needs it.
You can donate and/or volunteer by going to berniesanders.com
If you prefer not to donate online you can send your donation to: Bernie 2016, P.O. Box 905, Burlington, VT 05402. You can also volunteer by calling 855-423-7643.
Please do whatever you can or give whatever you can because WE have to BE Bernie’s political machine!