Posted by: minnow | March 18, 2016

The Coming Hour

I admit, the Bernie sign cut in half with a hand written note on the other side is actually kind of clever, no wonder it went viral.  That said, it also reveals, yet again, our sad willingness to remain ignorant about how the American system works and has worked since its inception.  Currently, our infrastructure, our public education system, and the social security program (to name just a few) are all socialist concepts.  Do away with everything that has anything to do with socialism and our cities would crumble or be overrun with disease, destruction, and crime.  In short, America is, and has always been, socialist.  We are also democratic which means every citizen has the right to vote and every vote counts.  Finally, our economy is based on capitalism, which means our country’s trade and industry are privately, not State, controlled enterprises.

When the anti Bernie folks clamor about socialism they  want you to envision some huge militarized government threatening to take away your freedom, and steal your guns.  Bernie Sanders however, expects something entirely different. In the way the police keep us safe from criminals and the EPA is designed to protect the environment (and ultimately us), Sanders expects government to protect individual people from corporate bullies and the wealthy elite because individuals cannot mount those battles alone.  Sanders wants to restore our nation to a time when the individual vote counted.  He wants to make certain that faceless dollar bills don’t wield undue influence in Washington. He is tired, like most Americans are tired, of ego inflated politicians collecting paychecks for doing nothing. Ultimately, for Senator Sanders socialism is about making a social contract with one another to work for the common good.

Not so long ago, most of the people we entrusted to positions of leadership were concerned with the greater good, with moving the nation forward, with successfully navigating the storms which battered our will and tested our moral fiber.  Today, that is simply not the case.  The Republican party has lost its way.  Their threats to block any nomination  President Obama makes to the Supreme Court, their denying veterans benefits while calling for a greater military presence everywhere in the world, and their allowing the GOP presidential front runner to incite violence during his rallies, threaten to commit war crimes when he becomes president, and suggest we monitor specific groups of American citizens because of their religion or ethnicity, without so much as a public slap on the wrist, ALL call into question the Republican party’s ability to govern our nation responsibly.

While Secretary Clinton knows how to play the political game, Senator Sanders know how to do the political work. As a veteran in the Senate, Sanders has demonstrated he will roll up his sleeves and get things done.  When Republicans blocked his first veterans bill he went back and drafted another.  He also helped to make healthcare reform a reality, a feat which proved too daunting for Secretary Clinton. Sanders has not been afraid to stand alone when his principles demand he takes a stand, and  yet he has demonstrated his ability to build bipartisan coalitions as well.  This is the kind of presence we need to maintain in the Oval Office.

Our country can not afford to conduct business as usual, to play politics with our future or to gamble America’s integrity away.  A safe vote in this election might be for Secretary Clinton.  But the Republicans have shown they aren’t interested in safe–or even reasonable.  If they were we would probably see Governor Kasich ahead in the polls.  Instead, Republicans are going for radical, in your face, bring it on machismo.  Their front runner think he can bully everyone on the playground into doing what he wants.  But, we forget every real bully has a goons squad behind him and Mr. Trump has no one.  Oh,..well,..maybe one.  I guess Governor Christie–who once called Trump a 13-year old, a carnival barker, and a thin-skilled entertainer-in-chief whose policies make no sense and who is painfully naïve–endorsed the self absorbed billionaire. So, I guess Trump can count on one thug.  But our allies, those nations we would need to rely on in an emergency are seriously scratching their heads. According to a USA Today article: “Negative reactions to Trump have also come from some of the United States’ most stalwart allies, including Canada, Ireland, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia.” The same article quotes Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who compared Trump to “dictators Benito Mussolini and Hitler, populists who rode a tide of economic discontent to power.”

Our friends are afraid we’ve gone mad. And can we blame them?  I understand.  America wants change.  We’re tired of all the talk and no action.  But we cannot afford Donald Trump, no matter how far outside of Washington he started.  The truth is Trump has been dipping his hand in the cookie jar for as long as he’s been a businessman.

Now as wonderful as Hillary Clinton is to her supporters, she is still tightly tied to what many believe is wrong with Washington politics.   And, while it can be argued her vision is more realistic, Americans are ready for something MORE, something radical, A FUTURE TO BELIEVE IN.  Sanders believes in that Future.  He is unwilling to tell a new generation of Americans that they should not expect to do as well as their parents did.  Instead, he is asking us if we are ready for a revolution. Sanders envisions a better America, the same America King and Kennedy envisioned and died for, a nation strong enough and confident enough to face our fears, to be tested by our difficulties and challenged by our adversaries and still be able to emerge united in a common cause, the cause of liberty and justice and the pursuit of happiness and a future to believe in for everyone.

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. “When the anti Bernie folks clamor about socialism they want you to envision some huge militarized government threatening to take away your freedom, and steal your guns.”

    I can’t really comment on what anti Bernie folks want me to envision, but I can comment on what I envision when I hear the word “socialism.” I think:

    1. Nothing in life is free. If one person is getting something for free, someone else is paying for it.

    2. A lot of people who want socialism desire getting something that they didn’t earn.

    Obviously, you feel differently, and really, I’m not trying to convince you to change your view. My point is that, if you want to change minds, I think these are the two perceptions that you need to address, not taking away freedom and stealing guns.

  2. I have in several blogs addressed the idea of getting something for nothing. Personally, I don’t think that is an accurate understanding of socialism. As I said in this post, socialism is focused on the common good. Police, firemen, road crews, health departments, and public education are all socialist constructs. A government that protect its citizens from industry which would pollute the nation’s airways and waterways if it wasn’t forced to limit its toxic emissions is socialism at work. Expecting corporations that make billions in profits and benefit from government subsidies to pay a tax equivalent to or even slightly higher than a family making under $100,000 a year is, in my opinion, reasonable. Expecting business and industry to pay its workers a living wage is, in my opinion, reasonable. Expecting those who make most of their money from investment to pay a higher tax rate, as opposed to the lower tax rate they currently pay is a “socialist” concept because it seemingly takes more from one pocket than another. Yet, investment income is received because someone borrowed money and then paid back more than he or she borrowed. Without such a system investors might actually have to make their money the old-fashioned way instead of just letting their money make money. In reality, very few people get something for nothing. The current unemployment rate is 4.9. Most people who are poor and living below the poverty line work. They aren’t paid a living wage so our government helps out. A socialist concept which a whole lot of wealthy people and corporations are against is having the federal government insist on paying people a living (minimum) wage. Putting money in the hands of the middle and lower class is good for the economy because those dollars get spent for goods and services. I guess for me the bottom line is I’m willing for a few people to “seemingly” get something for nothing because ultimately I believe it’s for the greater good.


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