Bernie Sanders told the Rolling Stone he understood the frustration of the American people in dealing with political bickering and personal attacks on rival politicians. Bernie says he wants the fighting to stop, and he rarely engages in that sort of bickering. The bulk of Senator Sanders’ conversation with the public has been driven by his passion for helping people.
“There is enormous frustration on the part of the American people with the way we do politics in this country. Most politicians, they’ll say ‘I’m great, you’re terrible, vote for me, the other guy is the scum of the earth, blah blah blah.’ But you know what? People are hurting in this country. The middle class is disappearing. We got a lot of poverty, we don’t have health care for all people. People want us to talk about their lives and their issues and not just spend our whole lives attacking our opponents.”
Bernie Sanders is always talking about the issue of poverty, even when nobody asks him. In the nine debates Sanders had with Hillary Clinton, there was never a single question about poverty, yet Sanders managed to slip the subject in 12 times. Clinton mentioned it five times in total. Vox reports the findings of FAIR, or Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Their recent study contends the absence of poverty issues from questioning was a serious oversight, considering the importance of income equality in this primary season, and the overall number of questions asked.
If Bernie Sanders is largely silent on the subject of his opposition, his supporters gladly fill that void. The Atlantic quotes spiritual activist, filmmaker, and Bernie supporter, Prasad Paul Duffy as follows.
“The delegate system is corrupt. It’s a tool of the 1 percent, the powers that be. It should be abolished. [Clinton is] owned by the billionaires. I would vote for Trump. At least he’s challenging the status quo. He sees we’ve been sold down the river and we’ve got to get it back. I prefer Bernie’s means to Trump’s! But Trump is being demonized in the press for similar reasons as Bernie is being ignored. They’re both challenging the system. We are people who don’t believe in the system! We want to make a new system where people take care of each other.”
Bernie Sanders stands for a new system of caring for others. That is why he and his devoted young followers are in it to win. “Bernie or Bust” has nothing to do with Bernie’s ego, or Bernie’s burning desire to be president. Sanders is — in some ways, at least — the reluctant leader of a growing revolution. Steve Fraser, author of The Age of Acquiescence: The rise and fall of American resistance to organized wealth and power, felt obligated to write a postscript in light of Sanders’ and Trump’s candidacy. The postscript essay by the author is featured on Bill Moyers and Company.
“So consider this essay a postscript to that work, my perhaps belated realization that the age of acquiescence has indeed come to an end. Millions are now, of course, feeling the Bern and cheering The Donald. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the first signs of what was to come as I was finishing my book: the Tea Party on the right, and on the left Occupy Wall Street, strikes by low-wage workers, minimum- and living-wage movements, electoral victories for urban progressives, a surge of environmental activism and the eruption of the Black Lives Matter movement just on the eve of publication… Anticipated or not a new age of rebellion has begun, one that threatens the status quo from the left and the right.”
Bernie Sanders is unique as a candidate. He doesn’t usually say “me,” he says “we,” and apparently his favorite word is people. He uses it frequently out of concern for the general population. Bernie Sanders is unique because he, unlike Trump and Clinton, doesn’t talk about himself, his accomplishments or his qualifications although they are many. He talks about what he wants for the people of this country. He speaks about basic human rights being denied, in an otherwise civilized country, because of corporate greed.
Bernie Sanders might be surprised at the people listening to him, or at least agreeing with him. In a recent academic paper, three high-ranking IMF leaders expressed a divergence from neoliberal policies. IMF Deputy Director Jonathan Ostry, Division Chief Prakash Loungani, and economist Davide Furceri have admitted neoliberal economic policies have resulted in increased inequality and stunted economic growth according to Fortune.
“The evidence of the economic damage from inequality suggests that policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are. Of course, apart from redistribution, policies could be designed to mitigate some of the impacts in advance—for instance, through increased spending on education and training, which expands equality of opportunity (so-called predistribution policies).”
Bernie Sanders’ well-educated and informed supporters are aware the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, has inadvertently caused tremendous suffering with their free market ideas in the third world. Lending money at interest to poverty-stricken people, who can’t pay it back without selling a kidney, would seem immoral on its face to most people, but the IMF had to learn for themselves that it doesn’t work as a way to fight poverty. Sanders point has been proven exactly. Stacking the deck in favor of the rich does not help the poor. Knowing that is one thing, but hearing the IMF admit it is quite another. As Fortune explains, this new statement is quite a departure from their usual neoliberalism.
“Neoliberals advocate for free and unfettered trade, removing restrictions on capital moving across borders, and cutting government budgets through austerity measures. They argue that free markets and so-called ‘frictionless capitalism’ is the best engine available to create growth and lift people out of poverty.”
Bernie Sanders could have quickly told them nothing could not be further from the truth, but they had to learn the hard way and so many third world deaths and so much suffering later, they are at least talking about the failure of Neoliberalism. Will the IMF change their policies away from neoliberalism? Only time will tell, and it will take some time to dismantle the prevailing economic ideology.
Bernie Sanders’ peaceful revolution is changing the world, simply because he doesn’t claim any patent on it. Sanders sees himself as a library of good ideas that all can freely borrow from, and borrow they will. The free exchange of ideas during the occupy movement produced an ideology very similar to his. It happened organically, making his lifelong philosophy the natural evolution of economic and societal ideals among young people in this country. It’s really just a logical conclusion to the economic problems corporate greed has caused.
Bernie Sanders is, through his young followers, building a revolution that will not see an end in his lifetime. He is raising up an abandoned and disenfranchised generation. He is giving them an ideological upbringing, and reinforcing in them a sense of empathy, compassion, and values in a world where those things are no longer obvious to adult society.
Bernie Sanders may or may not become the next president, but he has already become the father of the ideas that could define society in the future.
[Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images]