Wednesday, October 14, 2015

240. Supporting Sanders was an easy decision

Can you feel the burn?

By burn, I am not talking about the anger immigrants feel about Donald Trump, Muslims feel toward Ben Carson, or pro-choice advocates feel toward Carly Fiorina.

I am talking about Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont who is running in the Democratic primary for president. While Republicans are slugging it out, some 18 at a time, there has been a quiet and swelling support for Sanders.

Although Hillary Clinton is the presumed Democratic nominee, regardless of vice president Joe Biden’s interest in running, there has been a progressive, dare I say socialist, interest in Sanders.

Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist, which advocates a democratic political system combined with a socialistic economic system. However, Sanders seems to be really advocating a social democracy, where there is increased regulation of capitalism. Either way, he is the only candidate who really understands that wealthy inequality and a political system controlled by the wealthy are the biggest threats to our democratic and economic viability.

The feasibility of most candidates on the presidential stage is dependent upon the fundraising ability and support of super PACs. The infamous Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court allowed corporations and special interest groups to donate at will, thus providing millions to candidates they feel will protect, or improve, their financial interests. True to his beliefs, Sanders has refused to accept any super PAC money, instead relying on individual donations.

There is a difference between a politician and an ideologue. A politician makes decisions and supports those issues that will garner votes, while an ideologue runs on principle and passion—and tries to inform and convince the electorate of the value of those principles. With Sanders’ passions aligning with my own, my support for him was an easy decision.

What most don’t understand is income inequality is not about envy or jealousy; it is about a moral commitment to make sure the incredible wealth of a few does not push others into poverty. It’s not about everyone having an equal share. There should be winners and losers. Those who work harder should reap greater rewards. What it is about is closing that gap between the winners and losers.

Sanders, who could fill the page with quotes to this effect, said, “A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much, while so many have so little.”

Unfortunately, this is a difficult battle to win. The wealthy have the influence, the middle class is too busy making ends meet, and the poor are rarely heard.

As Sanders said: “The billionaire class fully understands what is at stake. That’s why a handful of them are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the current elections. Their goal is not to strengthen the middle class, but continue the trend in which the rich are getting richer at the expense of everyone else.”

I have heard from many that I am wasting my time because Sanders can’t win.

Maybe not. But his candidacy is raising the issue, and that alone can be considered a success. It’s a movement and we need to get there sooner rather than later, but it is not all or nothing based on Sanders’ success.

Sanders joins Robert Reich and Elizabeth Warren in fighting for economic reform. Americans have been indoctrinated into a capitalist system where they believe that trickle-down economics works, that rich people create jobs, and lower taxes are better for everyone. It’s rubbish and it has created a country with one of the largest gaps in wealth inequality in the world.

For me, Sanders is on the right side of almost all the major issues, but for me this is the dominant issue. I would suggest that Republicans and Democrats alike take a look at Sanders. Listen to what he says and do your own research.

Consider the man who advocates “people over profits.”