You mean besides the fact that he’s ridiculously good looking and has a voice that can only be described as sensual? There are lots of reasons I think Bernie Sanders should be the next U.S. president. Before now, I had lost all hope in the U.S. political system. I was convinced it wasn’t even worth voting anymore, because the only choices were evils, just on a scale of lesser to more. And I still think that’s the case, except when it comes to Bernie Sanders. I think he’s our one and only beacon of hope before we plunge further into an irreversible, corrupt, 2 party system that’s ostensibly democratic but in actuality run by corporate America. And a lot of people think he doesn’t stand a chance. But he needs to be given a chance in order to stand one–don’t count him out before he’s had a fair shot.
For starters, Bernie is a true public servant. Meaning he has spent his career working for the people, not getting rich or dying trying. Different sources will give you different numbers, but on average his net worth seems to be between $300-500k (in 2013, it was $330,506). Which basically means he owns a house. In stark contrast to Hillary Clinton and most of the other candidates, whose net worths are in the tens of millions. He believes that there shouldn’t be such extreme wealth inequality. Which to me is just a basic human principle–how is it ok that there are people sleeping on the street, starving, lacking adequate healthcare and access to education, while the next block over there are people living in such excessive wealth, corrupt with power and greed, setting sail on their yachts after they cheat on their taxes and earn money off the backs of underpaid laborers (for example, please see: Walmart, which Hillary Clinton was on the board of for 6 years, or Bernie Madoff, or Republican proposed tax cuts for the wealthy, or Wells Fargo’s subprime lending fraud, to name a few)? How can we all sleep soundly knowing that such disparity in wealth and corruption of power exists?
Sanders’ emphasis on wealth inequality represents his focus on fixing domestic issues in the U.S., which leads his international policy towards peace. Because if there is peace, there is no need for war or for the U.S. to engage in it internationally, which leaves more time, money and effort to spend on fixing domestic issues. It really is that simple: he wants to work on improving the United States, and not making things worse abroad. And he has a proven track record in this: he voted against the Iraq War, has been advocating to lower the U.S. military budget since 1992 in favor of redirecting those funds to domestic issues like poverty, education, industry, etc. (the military budget has gone from $270 billion in 1992 to now $610 billion), and has consistently condemned the inhumane use of torture as a tactic of war. Again, to me, peace is a basic human principle: it makes no sense to fight violence with violence. Call me naïve, but war is so clearly and disturbingly counter-intuitive, and if we ever have a shot in hell of it ending, we need a president who will actually work to end it (Obama insisted he would, but in reality has waged deadly drone wars and didn’t pull troops out of Afghanistan as promised).
Sanders supports less overstepping, meddling, and violence by the U.S. not only abroad, but also domestically. For example, he supports an individual’s right to determine what to do with his/her own body, as opposed to the government being able to choose; he supports racial justice and the demilitarization of police in the U.S.; and he supports an individual’s right to privacy, as his consistent voting record on the Patriot Act proves. And he supports not only each individual’s right to these freedoms, but also government oversight for the sake of protecting those individual freedoms. For example, he advocates for the right of every person to be able to access healthcare and education by way of government measures.
All of these stances Sanders takes, as far as I’m concerned, boil down to believing in humane treatment and equal rights for everyone. Of course there are countless other issues to consider, more than I can cover here, but these examples give you a good idea of his overall platform. It’s easy to oppose him on grounds of wealth privatization–in other words, if you believe in hoarding wealth, and an “every man for himself” ideology, it’s easy to accuse him of being a grubby communist who doesn’t believe people should be able to keep the money they earn. But what that argument fails to take into account, besides a basic level of compassion for humanity, is that a lot of the wealthiest people don’t earn their money all by themselves. They earn it by employing and underpaying laborers, through inheritance when they’re born into privilege, and by cheating, whether by insider trading, evading taxes, or tying up their money in trust accounts so that the countless people suing them can’t access it. Yes, those are just a few, broad examples, but if we’re being honest, we know that’s often the case (again, please refer to the above examples I gave: Walmart, Bernie Madoff, tax cuts for the wealthy, and Wells Fargo). So why should those people’s wealth be protected above all else–including other’s rights to live, above the poverty line, with access to adequate healthcare and education?
And even if the top 1% earned their money completely above board, where is the recognition that all lives matter, not just rich lives, and that maybe it doesn’t make sense to be spending billions keeping the wealthy wealthy, when so many people are living in such despair? And if nothing else, can we at least all agree that the wealthy shouldn’t be getting tax breaks, compared to the wealth-less? I mean seriously, fine, keep your billions of dollars, Top 1%–but don’t expect to pay less taxes than someone who makes 1/1,000,000 what you make while they struggle to keep food on their table, their families healthy, and to get their kids through school day in and day out.
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