Photo by David Cohen
Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, spoke to an overflow crowd tonight after giving a speech at a rally in the 4,500-capacity special events center at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“Next time we’ll get a bigger room,” he said.
During his remarks, which lasted about an hour and a half, Sanders focused heavily on income and wealth equality, while cautiously incorporating a now-standard piece about institutional racism. He decried the loss of “unarmed African Americans who died at the hands of police or while in police custody,” while adding that “the vast majority of police officers are honest, work hard and do a good job.”
Sanders concluded, “Any officer that breaks the law must be held accountable.”
The candidate also vowed to “take a hard look at the so-called war on drugs” and to create “a pathway for those who have served time in jail back to civil society.”
Sanders’ careful parsing of racial justice issues contrasted with his unequivocal stance on other matters.
“When [the Republicans] talk about family values, they mean women should not be able to control their own bodies,” he said. “I disagree.”
He proposed eliminating profiteering by the federal government on student debt by taxing “Wall Street speculation.”
“The working class bailed out Wall Street,” Sanders said. “Now, it’s Wall Street’s turn to help America out.”
Pivoting to another subject, he said, “The debate over climate change is over. The scientific community is nearly unanimous in saying climate change is real, and it’s caused by human activity.”
On the matter of racial justice, Sanders’ most resounding remarks pivoted back to his platform of social investment and economic populism.
“The sensible conclusion is that what we have to do is invest in education and jobs,” he said. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that investing in education and jobs makes a lot more sense than investing in incarceration.”