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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/11/19

Why We Need Bernie Sanders

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Sen. Bernie Sanders Speaks at 2019 National Action Network Conference Watch Sen. Bernie Sanders' full remarks at the 2019 National Action Network Conference.
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I think a lot when I'm doing yard work. Perhaps the mindless manual labor relaxes my brain. As I rake and shovel, thoughts tumble around in my head in what seems like the random action of the numbered balls in a bingo caller's canister - the news of the day, a passage from a book I read, a lecture from the great Noam Chomsky all colliding and connecting, and then BINGO! They will all converge to form a collective truth. And today, that truth was the full realization of why we need Bernie Sanders as our President.

With the field of Democratic candidates expanding every week, and the advocates of any given candidate already prepared to attack the other, I need to say this clearly and unequivocally. Bernie Sanders understands something that no other candidate seems to grasp. He understands, truly understands, the power we the people possess - and he is ready to be the vessel through which we exercise that power.

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Bernie understands capitalism far better than many of those who advocate for it. He understands its history. He understands its exploitation. He understands its greed. He understands its capacity for ruthlessness. I think to sum it up I could borrow a phrase used by Trump earlier this week and just change the word "immigrant" to "corporations": Corporations are not people, they are animals.

When I got my dog, who is now 5, I wanted to train him to sit and stay and be well behaved. But I didn't want to be burdened with the time consuming task of training. So I just sat him down and looked into his little puppy face and said, "Now Kairo, I need you to understand that people who don't have dogs may not like dogs and so you must be well behaved. You must learn to sit and stay and to not bark all day lest I get complaints from the neighbors. And you have to do your business outside and please don't chew things. And you must not bite people because that is just not nice." Of course this is a laughable scenario and no one trains their dog this way because it simply would not work.

The dog is an instinctual animal. It can be trained but one has to understand what motivates the dog. Long philosophical conversations about how his behavior represents the way people will see dogs will not do the trick. Neither will shaming him. Neither will guilting him. You have to do the training in a way that utilizes the dog's instincts. Dogs understand fear and food.

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So I hold out a treat and the dog, now alert and desperate for the treat is watching for the cue. What do I want him to do to get that treat? The dog will figure out very quickly what I want and he will do it. I understand what he wants. I have to use that to make him understand what I want.

We need Bernie Sanders because he understands corporate America. He knows the treat that it wants is profit. He understands that throughout history corporations have demonstrated that they have no moral compass, no empathy, no higher thought function that can be swayed through compassionate appeal. In fact, those who have tried to do so have been demonized, thrown in jail, beaten and killed.

Dogs also have an instinct for hierarchy. Dogs in a group will quickly determine who is in charge and they will fall in line. When corporations have the upper hand they know it. But there have been times when workers rose up and challenged them. After fighting what amounted to be a labor war, workers proved that they were capable of taking charge.

Bernie knows the only time concessions were ever made is when workers took control and threatened the profits of their masters. He knows that the working class having a voice, having control, making demands is terrifying to corporations and he knows that with every attempt to repress them, they only drift further towards socialist principles.

We need Bernie for the same reason coal miners needed Mother Jones. We need someone who is unapologetic. Someone who can reaffirm this truth to us, that WE are the workforce and there is no profit for them that does not originate with us. They are wealth managers. They are profiteers. We are the creators, we are the providers and we are the builders. Reminding us of this causes great fear in the corporations.

We need someone who won't defend CEO's who make 271 times the average worker salary saying "Well they deserve it because they work really hard and they make it all happen" I've worked at corporations where the "top man" at the company left or was fired and it took weeks to months to fill his position. Let me ask you this, if there were no line workers at a business for weeks or months, would that business survive? Would the company tolerate a complete absence of its workers for weeks or months? No because that would hurt profit. But, the longer they wait to replace "important" people in the company the more they save on payroll. So it does beg the question, "How badly were they needed if their position could remain vacant that long?"

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I've worked at companies where a Director of a Department was not replaced for over a year. Now this individual was making a very good wage, allegedly because his position was "vital" but the company managed to survive for an entire year without him because they were saving money by not replacing him. And for those who would argue that in the interim the Director's duties were merely being done by others until a new Director was hired, I would argue that if the other Directors can absorb that work for a year, why not eliminate the position? That's sure what they do at the line level. Managers often eliminate positions and shift the workload to other workers so save payroll. Sometimes one worker will be doing two or three other people's job duties all so the company can reduce staff.

We need someone who doesn't accept big pharma's excuses for charging thousands for life saving medicines. We need someone who is not ok with those same people dying because they simply can't afford it.

For all the complaints people have lodged against socialists, the improvements in work safety and standards, the reduction in workplace discrimination, higher wages, and social safety nets like unemployment compensation wouldn't have existed without them. Those courageous, unapologetic socialists won battles not through negotiating but in taking a stand and refusing to back down.

The only counter balance the right has ever had to offer in the face of socialism's popular appeal is fear mongering, red-baiting and age old inaccurate stereotypes about Socialists. Those tactics worked in days gone by, but these lies fall on deaf ears with millennials and those whose real life experience is desperate enough, fearful enough, that such propaganda is a weak weapon. We have a chance to reclaim our seat at the table - and Bernie is offering it to us. The only question now is, will we have the courage to take it.

 

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Michele Goddard Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I was born in 1970 in Wheeling, WV and have lived here all my life. I come from mostly Irish Catholic coal miners and railroad workers. My original academic interest was in teaching foreign languages studying both French and Spanish in High (more...)
 

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Michele Goddard

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Bernie Sanders is more than a politician or a candidate for President. He is a revolutionary.

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 11, 2019 at 12:53:40 PM

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Robert Vogel

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Republicans never liked the New Deal or the FDR vision and, over decades, reversed a lot of it with the assistance of oligarchs and the religious right. They call it socialism now. They steadily reduced high marginal tax rates shifting lost revenue to taxpayer debt, busted unions, empowered corporations, attacked democracy, sunk the middle class. They scorned human rights in their ruinous, forever wars. Income inequality soared.

Ralph Nader wrote in his book Breaking Through Power (p15) "Western European nations granted themselves important accommodations such as affordable universal healthcare, tuition-free higher education, bountiful private pensions, powerful job protection laws, four weeks or more paid vacations, accommodating public transit, paid family sick leave, paid maternity leave, and free child care. People in the United States today, with the exception of some of those protected by labor unions, have permitted the wealthy class to deny them these benefits, allowing their taxes, for example, to be spent on what is, by far, the world's biggest military budget and an ultra-invasive national surveillance system that allows the government to violate their privacy. People in Europe insist that their taxes be spent to enrich the health, education and well-being of the entire population, not just those with extreme wealth. so there is less grumbling."

Bernie´s proposals are remarkably similar to FDR´s: a living wage, healthcare for all, paid leave, free public Colleges. All good investments. Elect Republicans to guarantee none of that will happen. http://gopiswrong.net/

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 11, 2019 at 4:01:33 PM

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Michele Goddard

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Thank you for the comments. I will definitely check out his book. Ive5always been a socialist at heart but I hadn't read a huge amount about the movement historically other than the coal mine wars of WV. Bit its amazing how all these thoughts Ive always had are reaffirmed the more I read about socialist leaders of the past. I feel like I've finally found a community who underatands my beliefs and shares my ideals.

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 11, 2019 at 4:32:42 PM

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While I appreciate your efforts here, and somewhat agree that we have a polity which requires "enemies" generally ideological divides to mask class struggle, I do have issue with the notion of socialism in Europe and the "hopes" of Bernie Sanders as POTUS through electoral politics to bring socialism to the US.

What we have to confront, straight out, is that those nations with some form of "democratic socialism" have captured directly and indirectly through exploits most of the world's resource wealth. The US, through its hyper-militarization and 21st century imperialism (handed down and adjusted from our European forebears) has forsaken the appeasement of the New Deal (a frontal attack on socialism) for said imperialism and latter stage capitalism.

I think we have larger problems brought on by our Western (not merely US) ways. Those ways have poisoned the air, water, destroyed biodiversity essential for life on the planet, and has overshot the resource capacity of the planet.

This, I would maintain, can not be resolved through US electoral politics. (Nor have I ever believed people can pull themselves up by their boot-straps - try it some time.)

We need to replace the non-natural systems that have wrecked the planet. This now includes the authoritarian capitalism of China. Will that happen?

Submitted on Friday, Apr 12, 2019 at 3:08:42 PM

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Michele Goddard

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Thank you for your comments and I will confess I do wish Bernie would take a more anti war stance. I've heard him talk about the astronomical military budget, using to compare priorities of medicare for all, but I really wish he was closer to Gabbard on this one. Her outright courage to put the military industrial complex on blast is mind blowing. And of course they are destroying her in the press. The DEMOCRATS are destroying her! The baddest departure the left has made aside from abandoning the working class is the neoliberal desire for empire building. Obama and Hillary loved war and regime change as much as they Republicans. There is no anti war party. But part of that is the fact that the media is silent about the wars were cause and create. The immense sufferiing in Yemen, Lybia, Syria all too graphic for iur viewers but we will talk about Stormy Daniels all day long. Progressives are turning more and more away from MSM which had become a total farce and is being shows to what it is, entertainment not journalism. If we become more educated as a people and start to protest war again it may have an effect. But right now money rules everything the media, politics, the justice system so how do we get our foot in the door?


Thank you for the good points you bring to the conversatio. You definitely bring a huge point to the table that Ds have become just as big a war mongers are the Rs.


Take care.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 14, 2019 at 12:33:28 AM

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You may also want to rethink the "need" for Sanders as regards foreign policy. Seems Mr. Sanders only dislike Republican wars.

No, Bernie's Not Anti-War

Click here.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 12, 2019 at 6:32:58 PM

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molly cruz

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I believe there is a spot on the Presidential Cabinet for most if not all the Democratic Contenders, though I resent the premature brouhaha because it's too early to content with another election.

I've picked spots for many of the leading figures, based on their convictions and seemingly favorite topics.

I think they should arrange all this and RUN AS A TEAM.


Such a move would re-energize the format of elections, and avoid the ugly surprises we had with Trump's crowd. They could pool their resources and lighten the load for all, make separate appearances and not wear out the image of one poor bloke saddled with answering everyone's needs, which is impossible, as is 'running' a country this size, with its varied problems and separated identities.


I think this is the hottest idea to hit the Left in a decade.

Sorry about the lack of humility. If you take this idea and claim it as your own I don't really care. I just want it to happen! So please tell just one other person, or write it wherever you can.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 12, 2019 at 3:05:08 PM

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Michele Goddard

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I think there is some hope among progressives for such an idea especially given the disgust most people felt at the corruption of the DNC and Hillary throwing Bernie under the bus. And I'm sure that some of them running will end up as cabinet members. But the Republicans have someone at the head and we can't divide the power of our person at the head into a team because it will weaken the feeling of resolve. We can"t paint the impression that it takes a team of Democrats to beat Trump. People want a strong leader. But I think you hit on a really important aspect which is, deciding who that leader is shouldn't mean a cut throat primary. The candidates need to RESPECTFULLY distinguish their differences. I would LOVE to hear them saying things like "I totally agree with you on the importance of that issue I just would go about it in a different way" or "These are all priorities of our party but I would say that we need to put this first and that second etc " They have to start acting Presidential now if they want my respect. But unfortunately they are already attacjing each other and the press will only egg then on.

The biggest thing I like about Bernie is his authenticity. And I've heard a lot of regretful Trump voters say they were looking for a working class candidate who has integrity and were TORN between voting for Trump or Bernie the first time. That goes to show how important character is over platform. Now that they realize Trump was a con man they will vote for Bernie.

I just feel like Dems have to focus on issues that effect the masses first like income inequality and access to health and education and stop trying to build a coalition of voters based on polarizing issues that only appeal to specific groups.

Thanks for your thoughts though and I would say any idea you have you should take it to the DNC. They need to hear from you. All of our ideas and contributions matter.

Take care.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 14, 2019 at 12:19:23 AM

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BFalcon

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Rake and shovel ?

Taking care of Republicans?

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 2:26:49 PM

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