by Anthony Harrison
I support Bernie Sanders for president.
It may surprise no one that I support his left-wing populism. I’m young, white, male, leftist, recently matriculated from college with a humanities degree and struggling in the wake of the recession. I personify a cornerstone of his base.
But Sanders serves the interests of all, not just those like me.
The senator’s detractors claim he’s an unelectable, single-issue candidate whose call for economic revolution cannot fly in the current political environment.
In actuality, Sanders represents a perfect candidate for these tempestuous times.
It’s true Sanders focuses largely on economic inequality. However, saying economic inequality represents a single plank platform is like saying sandwiches are just two slices of bread.
Fighting for true economic equality would ease tensions across all cultural lines — lines which disrupt the pursuit of happiness across the nation, lines drawn only deeper as time progresses.
Sanders sympathizes with the oppressed instead of treating downtrodden groups with benign neglect.
In the ’60s, Sanders fought in Chicago with the Civil Rights Movement while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was campaigning for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the basis of “states’ rights.” Sanders’ current platform addresses continued persecution of African Americans and other minorities by promoting, for example, demilitarizing police departments, whose violence against people of color reflects the racist power imbalance in society.
Sanders recognizes that black lives matter and that all lives matter. Along with his history of racial justice, he champions living wages, equal pay, universal healthcare, women’s reproductive rights, free college tuition, LGBTQ rights, Veterans’ Affairs expansion, rural development, restoring infrastructure, mental health reform and more.
That “single issue” sure covers plenty.
Pundits blast Sanders for his radical values, grounded in process and democratic socialism.
For one thing, my generation largely doesn’t fear the S word. Socialism is no longer the boogeyman of our parents’ and grandparents’ propaganda-inspired nightmares; no matter how badly Vladimir Putin tries to prove otherwise, the Cold War is over. And, honestly, now that the wool of the Cold War has been lowered from our eyes, my generation recognizes that socialism succeeds in other nations with less wealth than ours. We know the policies advocated by Sanders are already implemented in most of the developed world, from Canada to Taiwan, whether you call them socialism or not.
Of course, the right wing still parades behind fear of socialism while disenfranchising its base to put more money in neo-robber barons’ overseas accounts.
But Americans should accept the fact: Our country basically practices democratic socialism already. We have since FDR’s New Deal.
We need a new New Deal — a Next Deal.
And Sanders’ policies could mend the strains our country has endured since the ’80s.
Call Sanders idealistic all you like. He’d fire back, “Why not?”
That’s why I endorse Bernie Sanders.