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General News    H3'ed 3/12/20

Bernie Goes Full FDR in National Address on the COVID-17 Pandemic and Suddenly, Too Briefly, He's the President We Need

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By David Lindorff

Bernie Sanders just gave the speech of his life one that everyone planning to vote in the Democratic primaries ahead should watch before making an decision between Sanders and Joe Biden. In fact, look at the Sanders video, and then read about the press conference Biden held and his anemic proposed response Biden offered to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sanders in this video looks like a president, and sounds like FDR addressing the savage Great Depression and explaining what he intended to do about it. He stands in such stark contrast, not just visually, but in his speech and most importantly in what he has to say to the American public, to both Trump and Biden, that it's hard to imagine anyone watching or even just hearing or reading his words could vote for either of those other two clowns.

He begins by laying out the gravity of the current crisis. As I sit here in Montgomery County, PA, the large suburban and rural country that wraps around most of Philadelphia which Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf just this afternoon ordered to go on total lock-down, ordering the closure of all public schools and universities, gyms and theaters, and requesting the closure of all stores except groceries and pharmacies, and hear Sanders say:

"Let me be absolutely clear: in terms of potential deaths the impact on our economy, the crisis we face from coronavirus is on the scale of a major war, and we must act accordingly.

"Nobody knows how many fatalities we may see, but they could equal or surpass the US casualties we saw in World War II.

"It is an absolute moral imperative that our response -- as a government, as a society, as business communities, and as individuals -- meets the enormity of this crisis.

"As people work from home and are directed to quarantine, it will be easy to feel like we are in this alone, or that we must only worry about ourselves and let everyone else fend for themselves.

"That is a very dangerous mistake. First and foremost, we must remember that we are in this together.

"Now is the time for solidarity. We must fight with love and compassion for those most vulnerable to the effects of this pandemic.

"If our neighbor or co-worker gets sick, we have the potential to get sick. If our neighbors lose their jobs, then our local economies suffer, and we may lose our jobs. If doctors and nurses do not have the equipment and staffing capacity they need now, people we know and love may die."

This is the kind of "pull-together, we are one people, one nation" kind of thing we haven't heard in years, and we need it now.

Having set the stage he goes on to call on the president to declare a national emergency, but then says that if the president is "unable and unwilling to lead selflessly, we must immediately convene an emergency, bipartisan authority of experts to support and direct a response that is comprehensive, compassionate and based first and foremost on science and fact."

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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