It’s Time

Listen up. Bernie Sanders has a good chance of becoming the nominee of the Democratic Party even though many see the favorite—Hillary Clinton—as a shoo-in.

Even some mainstream pundits—a group often seemingly blinkered by conventional wisdom—are beginning to figure out that Sanders has a better-than-average shot. Those making such an argument are, of course, right for a number of reasons. I’ll lay them out.

Reason 1

President Obama changed everything. He’s often been a disappointment for progressives like me, but he has benefitted the nation in at least one very important way. His winning the election (twice) opened the door for other “unconventional” candidates to walk through. Who’s going to be next to step across that threshold? A woman? A true progressive of Sanders’ ilk? Anything seems possible now. “Democratic Socialists”—Sanders calls himself one—certainly benefit from Obama successfully smashing through all sorts of barriers.

Reason 2

People are angry. I’m an American who lives in the Middle East and can testify to the fact that many folks, here and elsewhere, including those in the US, are simply fed up and not going to take it anymore. Noteworthy examples of this exasperation would include recent protests against abusive police practices in the US. Another would be the “Occupy Wall Street” protests of 2011 and 2012. When the OWS movement fizzled, lots of analysts attributed the fact to a lack of leadership. If Sanders can step into that role and re-energize those in the 99 percent, his popularity could snowball because he’s the right guy for this moment in history.

Reason 3

Honesty and passion will resonate. Most Americans value authenticity in politicians. What we often get is pre-packaged candidates who are taught not to turn people off. They don’t say anything terribly controversial because they want to appear to be all things to all people. Their strategy is to win elections by not losing them. Sanders is certainly not pulling any of his punches so far, and I don’t think he’s going to change his tact no matter what happens. That’s not Bernie Sanders. He tells it like it is and lets the chips fall where they may. His honesty and energy are going to inspire millions of voters. Whenever he encounters opponents of the sort I described earlier, he’s going to appear genuinely principled in contrast. Americans have been dreaming of a guy like Sanders for a very long time.

Reason 4

Sanders has put his finger on the problem—inequality of wealth distribution in America. He realizes that many of society’s ills are caused by wealth hoarding by a tiny fraction of the citizens. This is a simple message that most people viscerally understand to be true. Sanders is going to hammer it home time and time again. His opponents are going to argue that he’s a radical for saying this. But he’s not and most will know his message isn’t either. I’ve heard ordinary Americans say what Sanders is saying all my life. And they know, again very viscerally, that the super wealthy own the political system. He’s going to play up the unfairness of all this and win many converts. Americans, of all political stripes, are united in the belief that fair play is what matters.

I’m going to finish with a video I want everyone to watch, especially since it was filmed in Austin, Texas, a place near and dear to my heart. If you do, you’ll see the Bernie Sanders I’ve written about in this blog.

Speaking of Politics…

Many of us had high hopes when Barack Obama was first elected. We thought he would be different. In a few small ways, I suppose he was. His name, after all, sounded unusual. And, of course, his skin pigmentation was not what we were used to in our presidents. There were plenty of signs he wasn’t your average WASP.

Right from the beginning, conservatives worked themselves into a lather. They argued—most of the time with a straight face—that Obama was the anti-Christ. He was on a secret mission to destroy the nation from within and was allied with Muslims and/or Communists in carrying out his evil plan. Now, nearly eight years later, we find that he didn’t actually take America’s guns away. He didn’t create a One-World Government and invite in the “Black Helicopter” bunch. Nor did he introduce Sharia law. I wonder what happened.

Now that the Obama lease is about to expire, we find ourselves in the beginning phases of finding a new tenant for the White House. As we go forward, I have one wish for the nation: That we continue to expand our thinking about what makes a good American president.

Open-mindedness and innovative thinking should come natural for a country as large and diverse as the United States. Even the nation’s symbols suggest a need for this. The American flag, after all, has fifty stars, suggesting multiplicity. It’s downright un-American to engage in groupthink or to close the door on certain ideas or to certain types of presidential candidates.

All this brings me to Bernie Sanders, a fellow hailing from a small state but who thinks really BIG. I’ll cut right to the chase and tell you he’s the guy I’ll be voting for. Actually, I’ll go even further than that. He’s the guy I’m going to tell others about.

I don’t normally watch shows like “Face the Nation” because they mostly invite very mainstream, unimaginative guests who offer us the same old tried (and failed) solutions to the nation’s problems. Still, having said that, I’ve included a clip because it features Sanders.

We all know that Bernie’s opponents are going to try to discredit him. They’ll call him “weird,” “effete,” and probably “soft”—on all sorts of things. They’ll call him “liberal” and very “European.” The list of terms they’ll use to describe him will undoubtedly be a very long one. On top of all that, they’ll even try convince people that he’s “scary.” But, honestly, were you frightened by anything you just heard?

Here’s what you should be scared of, especially if you belong to America’s middle and working classes. You should be terrified by the status quo—more “trickle down.” That’s been tried again and again. And we know how it turns out. The roots get starved and the whole plant withers.