Bernie and a Progressive Agenda

“When you take on the billionaire class, it ain’t easy,” Bernie Sanders said at Brookings [before announcing his candidacy for president]. “We would have to put together the strongest grassroots movement in the modern history of this country, where millions of people are saying, ‘You know what? Enough is enough.’ ” From Theo Anderson’s In These Times article titled “Why Bernie Sanders is The Perfect Candidate for this Moment in American Politics”

Bernie Sanders

Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. A man of the people. Photo credit: BernieSanders.com

He’s been called impatient, confrontational, a crackpot, and passionate about progressive issues. With an agenda a majority of Americans believe in, main stream press and political pundits are still saying presidential candidate and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is unelectable.

And yet, he’s packing venues.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

TVSet’s final program on June 21 before its summer break will focus on Senator Sanders’ entry into the presidential race. Be sure to tune in to cable Channel 11 (Portland area) at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“Bernie Sanders cannot be ignored—his message speaks too powerfully to the current political moment. And he certainly will not calm down—not when, as he says at every opportunity, 99 percent of all new income is going to the top 1% of Americans, the ‘real’ unemployment rate is 12.7 percent and the United States has the highest rate of child poverty in the developed world.” (Source: InTheseTimes.com)

Senator Sanders’ platform has remained consistent throughout his political career, unusual in the political arena.

“It’s safe to say that Mr. Sanders has never wavered, over the last half century, in his withering critiques of capitalism, poor race relations or the influence of money on democracy.” (Source: The Observer)

Sanders is being credited with pulling Hillary Clinton’s political platform to the left. So what is his focus? At its core: income inequality and a political system corrupted by money. His positions on related issues include:

  • Social Services: Expanding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and nutrition programs
  • Regulating Wall Street: Break up the big banks, which are too powerful to reform
  • Climate Change: Take a leadership role in reversing climate change and transform the U.S. energy system away from polluting fossil fuels and towards energy efficiency and sustainability
  • Healthcare: A fundamental right for all (he believes in a single payer system)
  • Income Taxes: Higher taxes on the wealthy (When asked why the rich should pay more taxes, he responded “Because they love this country and they want to see future generations do well.”)
  • Unions: Supports rebuilding unions
  • Wages: Supports raising the minimum wage
  • Pay Equity: Supports a federal law mandating equal pay for equal work; equal pay for women
  • Trade: Opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership and similar free trade deals
  • Education: Supports making public college tuition free in the United States
  • Campaign Finance Reform: Advocates a constitutional amendment that would effectively prevent corporations from making political donations. Supports public funding of elections.

Going back to the “then they fight you” part of the Gandhi quote above, a 1972 essay written by Senator Sanders for the Vermont Freeman, and alternative newspaper, has emerged and is being raised as a specter of his unelectability. Intended to attack gender stereotypes at a time when women were fighting for recognition and equality, the text is being used out of context and referenced in media interviews. The essence of the article proposed that there should be equality between sexes; no sex should be dominant or submissive. You can read the text for yourselves in the image below. Then you be the judge.

Bernie Sanders Essay

Essay written by Bernie Sanders 43 years ago for a small alternative newspaper. Media is using it to question Senator Sanders’ integrity. Photo credit: Mother Jones

Charles C.W. Cooke, writer for the conservative National Review, dismissed the essay:

“Nobody honestly believes that Bernie Sanders is a sexual pervert or that he is a misogynist or that he intends to do women any harm. Nobody suspects that he harbors a secret desire to pass intrusive legislation or to cut gang rapists a break. Really, there is only one reason that anyone would make hay of this story, and that is to damage the man politically.”

Are you a believer in Senator Sanders’ platform and his integrity? Would you and your neighbors be better off under his reforms? Or perhaps you feel as Chris Hedges’ does: The corporate state seeks to get us to participate in the political charade of choreographed elections (see link below).

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Want to know more about Senator Sanders? Check out these links:

Katie Couric’s interview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpgJYNaIeqo

Wikipedia on Bernie:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders

Juan Cole on Bernie Sanders:
http://www.juancole.com/2015/04/president-bernie-sanders.html

Juan Cole in Bernie and Israeli support, issues
http://www.juancole.com/2015/02/sanders-netanyahu-destroyed.html

Project VoteSmart – Bernie Sandes
https://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/27110/bernie-sanders#.VYV15kPbjgU

Well thought out Progressive critique of Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren
https://www.popularresistance.org/lets-not-be-fooled-by-bernie-sanders/

And here is Chris Hedges to throw some cold water in your face:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/the_electoral_farce_20150616

 

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