Listen to Your Children
Let’s talk about one of the most astounding political ascents in history, that old, white, Jewish New York socialist. Just one of those monikers could sink a lesser man. What Bernie Sanders has achieved in the twilight of his long and distinguished career as a champion of the underclass is nothing short of stunning.
Bernie has already made history, regardless of the outcome. Forget minority candidates or even females. We may never see a better, more decent and civil human being run for president in our lifetime. Is he perfect? Certainly not. Does he get hot under the collar and yell too much? Of course, he’s a New York socialist, remember?
This lone voice so often dismissed and derided as that looney lefty from liberal Vermont has done something unthinkable. He has come from nowhere and taken the demonic charge out of the word socialist. If Bernie was a political animal, he would have disavowed that title and hid behind something more benign, like Democratic inclusionist. But Bernie wore socialism on his sleeve, respecting his audience enough that he could actually explain it to them. Free healthcare and education for all. He even showed how we could pay for it.
Win, lose, or draw, he has evoked a singular passion, an awakening from young people who will inherit our mess that there’s a better way and a more humane form of democracy. It goes way beyond free tuition. It is a repudiation with the ways things are going, for jobs, for fairness, for humanity, and for the planet. There’s a feeling of hopelessness among our youth, and Bernie has given them hope by identifying a revolutionary way to stem the decline: reining in greed.
Take a look what’s going on in social media. The sheer volume of heroic memes shows his galvanizing impact on the next generation of activists. You won’t see a Facebook page called Hillary Clinton’s Dank Meme Stash. But there it is for the Bern – a never-ending cascade of clever, enlightening, hand-crafted, badass, gansta superhero memes where Bernie kicks ass and saves the planet! Add to this grass roots giving from people who for once feel they have a voice and you have birthed an awakening that will blossom for years to come.
So while pundits predict a Hillary victory, which appears more likely after this past Tuesday, don’t count Bernie out. Hillary’s lead rose this week with the grits and guns states, and then we head west to states where Bernie has big momentum.
Here’s the thing: Hillary Clinton is incredibly gifted, smart, and a wonderful statesman. Her whole life has been one of achievement. But she has unfortunately shape shifted through many scandals over the years: her husband’s infidelity, voting for war, supporting NAFTA, Benghazi, and the email scandal to name a few. And now she won’t release transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs, which paid her close to $2 million. She just feels too ambitious, too beholden to special interests, and with no real conviction other than amassing power. And that’s why there’s no Hillary Clinton Dank Meme Stash.
But no one impugns the integrity of Bernie Sanders. They resort to ageism. Why do we dismiss and discard those with the most wisdom and seasoned judgment – our elders? He’s perfectly healthy and of sound body and mind. It’s why he gives measured, thoughtful responses that show restraint over an impulse to act tough and send young people to war. He is also the only candidate who has called climate change the biggest crisis we are facing.
They say Hillary has the experience, but what about Bernie? His political career began when he ran for governor of Vermont in 1972 when Ted Cruz was 2. Hillary didn’t officially enter politics until 20 years later.
Much has been said about Bernie not being able to get any of his radical ideas through Congress. I disagree. A Republican Congress will obstruct either candidate. They loathe Hillary. But the public passion for Bernie is so loud and absolute, so incendiary, he will incite them state-by-state to support the revolution by throwing the bums out at the mid-terms. They’ll call it “Berning down the House.”
If your kids are for Bernie Sanders, listen to their concerns about the direction the country is going and what kind of world they will inherit. In Bernie they see a trustworthy elder with wisdom, someone who has charted the righteous path his entire political career. He’s making mad sense. The system is rigged. Capitalism has failed the American people because it rewards greed. We need a new system. One that still rewards hard work and entrepreneurism, but also gives everyone else a chance at a decent life without the habitual struggle. Isn’t that an America we’d all like to see?
For many generations it was always thought that parents know best. But in the face of a very turbulent and uncertain future, its time to give youth a chance.
Billy Fried hosts “Laguna Talks” on Thursday nights at 8pm on KX93.5, and can be reached at [email protected]