I was up very late last night and while channel surfing came upon Bernie Sanders on C-Span giving a speech at a college I never heard of in, I believe, Ohio. I’m thin on the details because I was watching from my bed a 12-inch TV across the room and couldn’t read the identifying bottom ribbon.
I was absolutely riveted to Bernie’s recitation of dozens of issues dear to my heart, some of them unremarked by public figures since back in movement days. He talked about women getting pay equity and reproductive rights, and then blew my mind with a promise of high-quality affordable day care for pre-schoolers. This was a revolutionary feminist demand in 1970 (free 24/7 daycare) and still is.
He talked about economic and racial justice, of course, but he also talked about how ridiculous it is that weed is in the same crime category as heroin. He affirmed that heroin is dangerous and bad, but that weed should be decriminalized.
He said young people should be rewarded, not punished, for wanting to be educated; that instead of dumping students into lifelong debt, we should pay them a stipend for studying, as is done in other countries. It would be in the interest of the future of the country. Instead of building jails, we should build colleges. Instead of incarcerating young people, we should save money (and lives) by sending them to school. He talked about trade schools as well – noting that professions like plumbing can be great.
The list went on and on, although he was interrupted after every sentence, if not in the middle of most, by rapturous applause. I have never heard a presidential candidate give a speech that would keep me up at 3:00am with its radical tenor, its clarity, and its echo from our dreams.
Really, time is running out folks. Let’s get this guy who was marching next to us since the 60s elected.
Let me address one more point. Why do I think Bernie is more likely than Hillary to beat Trump? I’ll answer with an anecdote. I was chatting with the woman checking me out at TJ-Maxx. She was a 50+, Black woman with a ton of caring responsibilities at home. She was obviously heads-down just trying to survive, not following the daily peeps and poops of this election. She said she would vote for either Trump or Bernie because they both sound like they are speaking passionately from the heart. She was horrified when I told her some of the things Trump actually says.
The more people see of Bernie, the more they’re going to support him. Both Trump and Hillary have high negatives: they may shine within their own primaries, but out in the wild that will harm them. I’ve heard that independents make up 1/3 of the electorate. Many of those independents will go for Bernie if they find Trump distasteful.
Trump will be so awful to Hillary that I can’t bear to think about it. Bernie speaks truth to pigs. He’s clean: he can’t be touched personally. And he has the most experience of any of the primary runners: as a mayor and with his decades as a Representative and a Senator. He has negotiated through all those decades as an Independent and as a Socialist. I mean the man still calls himself a Socialist!
I’ve never before been involved in American electoral politics except as a protester, but time is running out. Each minute is precious, and I feel the Bern.