Economist Paul Krugman wrote a piece on Bernie supporters and how naive they are to believe in Bernie’s ability to affect change. Krugman claimed that throughout history, change has always happened incrementally. That revolution never actually works. I’m one of those naive people, too ignorant of history to counter Krugman with historic examples to the contrary, who thinks Bernie has a chance worth fighting for. Because he’s fighting for me.
I feel a lot of backlash from gays especially who tend to support Hillary. But I could never put anyone in the White House who voted to go war in Iraq to the White House, so last time around I voted for Obama over Hillary. Gave him money, even, because he’d opposed the Iraq war. Turns out he kept those wars going and added a few–with Hillary’s help as his Secretary of State. Almost done with his second term, people are still working harder for less money. They can’t afford to retire. Still can’t afford healthcare.
When I was growing up, one head of the household could hold a good-paying manufacturing job and support his wife and maybe even send a kid to college. That’s largely gone, and Obama’s trade deal will destroy half a million more jobs if passed. Now two heads of a household work full-time and they’re still on food stamps because we don’t have a living wage. We’ve become the “working poor” as the middle class has died out. But the wealthiest have gotten richer and richer under two terms of Bush and two of Obama. Hillary’s a corporate democrat just like Obama, and is now trying to coast on his meager successes. Walmart is the poster child for unfair labor practices with it’s own employees too poor to shop there–and Hillary once sat on their board of directors. We need a government which will benefit workers or I’m not sure this country will recover anytime soon.They say the recession is over but too many people can’t afford health insurance and to save money. That’s bleak. Perhaps that’s the reason why we view Real Housewives with nosejobs snatching wigs and fighting over martini lunches as entertainment. It makes a nice break from the reality of real housewives trying to pinch pennies because they’re scared for the future as I am scared.
And you know what? I’d rather be called naive than jaded. Actually, I have to laugh when I learn that many of Sanders supporters are young. I can barely even read a text, much less send one. But kids, granny gurl is with ya on this one and she is #feelingthebern. See, I even just used a hashtag! So at my age, I probably should be jaded. Maybe I should be like other voters in my age group and be prudent. But if prudent means embracing a deeply flawed candidate like Hillary who I know will lead the country astray based on her own record, I’ll pick naive every time. We need deep structural changes now–and it’s not the time to discuss if Bernie’s ideas can get through Congress. They’re the right ideas so we need to fight for them. If fighting for what’s right is naive then that’s me. I’ll never fight for what’s wrong just because the republican candidates are more wrong.
This is one of the best pieces I’ve read on Sanders. It’s long, but if you made it this far! If you are weighing up your choices (as some of you have said you are) this may interest you.
Economist Bill McKibben for Huffpo:
You could see it last night in the Democratic town hall. Before they let, you know, sensible people ask questions, there was CNN moderator Chris Cuomo. Cuomo, of course, wanted to know if Bernie Sanders was going to “bring back the era of big government.” This is exactly the kind of frame that pundits have been trying to put on American politics for about as long as I can remember, which is at least back to the Carter era.
This question is supposed to be a kind of kryptonite that causes Democratic politicians to sweat and turn pallid and immediately explain that no, they’re for efficient government or some such. It’s the kind of question that turned Bill Clinton into a triangulating centrist who cut welfare to the bone and elevated corporate power with a series of disastrous trade agreements. Everyone in Washington knows that “big government” is always bad.
But Bernie wasted no time in saying that he was going to bring back the era when government helped care for people. He thinks government should help people go to college and pay for their medical care, which is what big government does in every other industrialized country in the world. He even — in an ad released earlier in the day — dared to advocate that people who have spent their lives working might deserve the chance to relax and be grandparents at the end of the day.
This kind of stuff makes the keepers of our political order crazy. In the last few days, we’ve seen folks such as Paul Krugman in the New York Times and Paul Starr in Politico patiently explain that Bernie is too far to the left to be president. It’s like they’re dumping water on the Wicked Witch of the West and waiting for her to shriek, “I’m melting!” But actually, he’s just shrugging it off, like a duck. As Cuomo tried to get him to confess to his socialism, his team just tweeted out a list of “socialist” accomplishments: Social Security, the minimum wage, Medicare, the 40-hour workweek.
The Beltway polls don’t quite get how much America has changed — how unequal and desperate it’s become. Sanders has spent his career on the back roads of Vermont, which is America’s second-most rural state. That means he’s met a lot of poor people and a lot of desperate people — a lot of people like the woman who started crying at his event in Iowa earlier in the day. The Washington Post reporter described it as “a remarkably moving thing,” which it was. But since Post political reporters only meet actual people during those rare moments in a four-year cycle when they happen to intersect with presidential candidates, he perhaps imagined it as rare. This is what life is like.
Which is probably why actual people are also less worried about the other half of the “serious people” test imposed by pundits. Cuomo’s next question for Sanders was about if Hillary’s experience trumps his. This was pretty much the same question Hillary herself posed to Barack Obama with her infamous “3 a.m.” ad eight years ago. In the D.C. world, “experience” is crucial. It doesn’t matter what you believe — it matters how much power you’ve exercised. Do your time, and you’re in the club.
But again Bernie refused to melt. Yes, he said, she’s very experienced — an obvious concession made with the graciousness that’s marked his campaign. (“People are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”) But, hey, experience isn’t everything. If it was, we’d elect Dick Cheney to every possible office, because he’s had the most experience of all. Instead, as Bernie pointed out, judgment is really more important.
That is why, he added, it is relevant that he opposed the Iraq War when she supported it. And he opposed the Keystone pipeline when she supported it. He could have gone on for a long time with that list: why did she set up a wing of the State Department to spread fracking around the planet, for instance? Why was she against gay marriage for years? But the point is clear. A leader is someone who figures out where the future is going, not someone who joins the party once it’s underway. A canny politician, by contrast, is precisely someone who waits until it’s safe and then runs up to lead the parade.
If it was a year for canny politicians, then Hillary would be a shoo-in. She’s spent decades perfecting that approach.
But it’s not, perhaps, a year for canny politicians. Our Earth is becoming hopelessly unequal (a report last week showed that 62 people owned more assets than the poorest 3.5 billion on the planet) and hopelessly hot. It’s a year, perhaps, for people who insist on telling the truth, even if it’s in a Brooklyn accent.