Saturday, May 7, 2016

Why Bernie or Bust? Actually, It's Not That Complicated


Photo courtesy of iprimages Flickr page -  06122015_BernieSanders_Drake_102_3x2_1080:

A lot of people - particularly supporters of Hillary Clinton, simply cannot understand the passion that people have for Bernie. They talk about the mathematical impossibility of Bernie Sanders actually receiving the Democratic nomination, and claim that he is unqualified or unrealistic. They will say that Hillary has the experience necessary to get things done in Washington, and that her incremental approach to change is the correct course.

Conventional logic might even suggest that this is so.

Still, this year is very different than past ones, and after decades of watching living standards deteriorate, Americans are fed up with politicians who tell people what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear. Hillary Clinton is such a politician, much like her husband. They are smooth talkers, and they know exactly what to say to each audience that they address.

But they are career politicians, both of them. I mean, it's hard to even imagine what the Clinton family would be if not for politics. Perhaps more than any other American family, they are automatically associated with politics, probably even more than the Bushes or the Kennedys.

The Kennedys, of course, have not been at the forefront of American politics since the death of Ted Kennedy, and probably going back much further than that, to the 1980 presidential campaign, when Ted Kennedy ran against incumbent Jimmy Carter, and possibly going back to the 1960's, with brother John and Robert taking center stage.

The Bushes, of course, have come much more recently, and there are two living ex-presidents in that family. Plus, of course, there is Jeb, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to capture the Republican nomination earlier this year. He had to suspend that, because it was going nowhere fast. People were tired of him, because he represented the old order, the establishment. There was no new message, just a reliance that his connections and political experience would be enough to carry him forward, and he surely hoped that people would forget the awful record that his brother, George, during those eight long years when he occupied the White House.

Not enough people forgot, however, and so Bush was out relatively quickly, despite roughly $100 million that some very interested parties invested in him.

So that left Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, as one of the old and all too familiar faces, desiring for her turn at the top. Her turn occupying the White House.

A lot of Hillary supporters suggest that she is uniquely qualified, going so far as to suggest that she is, in fact, the most qualified candidate for president that we have seen in a long, long time. I even heard Rob Reiner suggest that exact same thing, which rather surprised me. After all, Richard Nixon had spent eight full years as Vice-President, and he had amazing, unbelievable connections as a Washington insider. The only thing that he had not yet achieved as he ran for the White House in 1968 was the office of President itself, and he managed to win that election and finally get it.

Yet, Reiner and others will of course shy away from that, because for all of his political achievements and obvious experience, Nixon's presidential legacy is not a particularly positive one. He was, after all, about to get impeached, and instead, resigned in disgrace. To be sure, there were some positive things that he managed to achieve while in office. Yet, what people remember about his legacy generally tend to be negative things. They remember that he stepped up the war effort in Southeast Asia, expanding it to Cambodia, and stepping up the bombing campaign, despite promising to end the war. And, of course, people remember Watergate, and how he hid tapes, how he lied and swore and acted decidedly unpresidential, lacking the dignity and sense of reverence and proper respect for this highest office that people imagined came with the Presidency. People remember how he told the American people that he was not a crook, even though his behavior indicated that he was, indeed, exactly that.

Yes, Nixon was qualified, and I dare say, he was more qualified in 1968 then Hillary Clinton is in 2016.

In the end, however, that a successful presidency did not make.

The reason that I bring this up is that this is what people who support Hillary keep falling back on, when they insist that she will be the next president, and it should only be her. They insist that she would be best for the country, that no other candidate will benefit as much from that level of experience.

Okay, but her experience is not all positive. She has many years holding high office, as Senator and as Secretary of State. Plus, there were the years when she was the First Lady, while her husband Bill was President.

However, she also has experience with a lot of shady things that are not in the best interests For the American people. She has experience with helping draft, and supporting, trade deals that are not beneficial for the American people at large, and which give too much power to elite corporations, who are only interested in their profits, and not their greater role within American society. She has experience with defense contractors, and empowering presidents to pursue foolish, unjustifiable wars. She has experience with fighting raising the minimum wage, and her negative experience also extends to ties with for profit healthcare and the for profit prison system.

These ties reveal that Hillary really is not different than any other typical politician, except that she happens to be a woman.

Bernie has integrity. He has been an unapologetic socialist in a country where that term was considered a bad name for decades. He spoke out against deregulation and corporate supremacy well before it was popular to do so, and basically predicted bad outcomes well before the 2008 economic crash. He is not in it for himself, but genuinely feels that America deserves better than what it has, and wants to fight to get it.

When he talks about what he thinks is best for the country, it is not simply some political speech. It is
what he truly feels is best for the country, and for the people, and so that is what he is fighting for. Not to fatten his wallet and pursue his own political ambitions.

Indeed, Sanders is exceptional. He is an extremely intelligent guy, and has shown the rare ability among politicians to hold unpopular viewpoints, and to keep fighting for them, not because he has some secret agenda, or because he figures that they will be popular before too long, but because they are right. And he has remained true to this vision.

Either you agree with him, or you do not. But nobody can criticize him for pandering, like Hillary does. Or like Donald Trump so transparently did a couple of days ago, on the Cinqo de Mayo, saying that he loves Hispanics.

This is what people love so much about Bernie Sanders. He has authenticity, in a time, and particularly in a field, that notoriously lacks this quality. He is a man who can be trusted to fight for what he feels is right, and that makes him unique - far more unique than either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump!

And that is why I feel he stands out, and why, for me, and many others, it's Bernie or bust!

Take a look at some other articles that might help shed light on this subject:

Don’t Get Bernie or Bust? Let Me Explain it to You! Roland Vincent, May 3, 2016:

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