Political Opinion by Richard Bleil
Okay, let’s be open and honest from the start. I do like Bernie Sanders. This is not intended to be a piece written in support of his presidential bid, but I know it’ll probably read as such.
Four years ago, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) stole the Democratic Nomination from Bernie and handed it to Hillary with actions that came to light after the conventions but that were long suspected by supporters of Sanders. Emails released after the election revealed an internal bias against Bernie and a proclivity towards Hillary regardless of the will of the people. I always assumed it was out of a desire to elect the first female president (frankly, I believe that voting for people based on anything like gender, race, sexual orientation, faith or other unrelated factors is short-sighted and frankly dangerous). Today, as I write this post (about a week before it’s published) an article has been published saying that the DNC “super delegates” (another dangerous idea) may revolt and refuse to vote for Bernie if indeed he does win the popular vote.
Which means that now I have another reason to like Bernie.
Let me state for the record, I don’t agree with everything that Bernie wants to do. I’ve written in the past of my fears for “free college” up to the bachelor’s degree. In my mind, this will result in lack of “ownership” as people will go to college without feeling the need to get as much out of it as they can since it’s free, much like high school today. In addition, in other countries that do offer free education up to the bachelor’s degree, this degree is more or less meaningless as basically everybody is college educated. The only way to stand out is to have multiple bachelor’s degrees or graduate degrees, both of which the students have to pay for themselves. Because if this, I think more thought has to be put into this plan.
But I don’t fear the idea either. Even if he wins the presidency, to get this past means he will have to get it through Congress (unless the current president has already destroyed the “checks and balances” intended by the Constitution). He will have to convince a majority of congresspeople to pass the law to get it enacted. The reason that I do like this discussion, however, is because it does shift the political dialogue to where I believe it needs to be.
See, by talking about free education, it highlights the soaring cost of education, the fact that the privatized loan system is out of control, that students may never be able to make enough in their careers to make college a sound financial investment and the problems of inequities between those with money who can afford college and those who cannot. For the past four years, the discussion has been deterring immigrants (which, ironically, has recently been blamed for forcing corporations to move their plants out of the US in the past couple of days), the “trade war” tariffs, and the arms race. In the “Put America First” fury we seem to have forgotten about Americans. Health insurance, the cost of prescription medication, the plight of American farmers, the cost of having an apartment have all been swept under the rug as the “big” stories all seem to focus on the failed international policies of this president. It’s time to get back to us.
Today’s news of the threat of the super delegates makes me like Bernie even more. Our nation has moved from Democracy to Oligarchy (rule over the people by the very few who have wealth and power), as demonstrated by the rising popularity of Bloomberg, another billionaire who is throwing his financial might behind his bid for presidency. A friend of mine asked why it is that more people don’t see the misinformation, the rise of the modern American oligarchy and the assault against what is best for the majority of the people. Honestly, I believe it’s money. Psychological studies have demonstrated that the more people hear something, even the most outrageous lies, the more they believe it. Those with money have the power and the means to control what the masses hear, by buying advertisements and people willing to parrot their messages, controlling the media and what we read including the outright purchase of news organizations like Fox News (yes, I am saying that they are on the president’s payroll), and constant bombarding of false news and misleading stories can sway the beliefs of the masses, especially those who can’t afford college and have never learned the skills of critical thinking.
It’s been said that the people should not fear the government, but the government should fear the people. If Bernie is scaring both the Republican and Democratic parties, then both parties are afraid that he’ll upset the entire American political system. Congresspeople, governors, judges, basically all political offices are prone to bribery and this movement away from representing the people and towards supporting the oligarchy. If both parties fear Bernie, it sounds more like a revolution that, in my opinion, is long overdue. One of the beauties of the constitution is that it allows for revolutions without bloodshed.