I have nothing negative to say about the other candidates right now – there’s plenty going around and much more that will surely be said. Instead I’d like to say, simply, why I am supporting Bernie Sanders:
He legitimately seems to give a shit.
If you get what I mean, you can stop reading now and go about your day. Otherwise, less simply put:
He’s the only candidate I’ve seen in my lifetime at this level that isn’t doing it for himself. I’m not saying it’s 100% altruistic, just that he seems to genuinely care about the struggles of the average person, not because it wins him favor or is convenient.
You’re right, he’s not perfect. Flawed? Yep, of course. Jesus or Buddha, he ain’t. Though, if either of those two were running I’m sure they would have a tough time winning the Presidency as well (far too “socialist”). He’s not the dream candidate I would hope for, but in the current “Choose the best answer” type of field, he’s the closest fit. Many will decry that’s he’s another straight, old, white, male. Excellent observation! I’d point out that none of us choose the color of skin we’re born with, the gender we’re born with, our sexual orientation, where we’re born or when. It’s the choices we make during our lives that define us. And he’s been on the side of the exploited, of all colors and genders, for longer than I’ve been alive. Some may also point out that his Presidency would be doomed from the start, a constant, fruitless and ultimately pointless battle. You’re right, it’s likely that the powers that be on the left and the right would fight to prevent any changes to the status quo.
But most of us can agree that the status quo isn’t where we want to remain, right? Unless you think everything is great and all the problems are solved (good for you!) the rest of us look around and wonder “wtf?”. I’d point out that electing Sanders would send the message that we’re tired of the way things are and recognize that we need to change…also that we’re not garbage humans who choose not to see past our own limited lives or that of our immediate family members. We’re people who recognize the global impact of our choices and the connectedness of all living things on this planet. He’s the only candidate dedicated to concentrating resources on climate change to protect our shared global ecosystem. While at the same time, he’s stated his intention to focus on first improving the health of the middle class (i.e. every person I know, e.g. you) here in the States.
The ideas he’s arguing for are a move in the right direction. You may not agree with them right now because, you know, “Socialism”! You’ll see memes being shared with images of “socialist” countries and their surrounding decayed cities and squalor next to an image of the bounty of America. Of course, reality is never that black and white, never that cut and dried. What’s missing is what our bounty costs – the destruction of the planet, the bombing and destruction of other peoples. The continuation of an unnecessary zero-sum game. But, you know, at least our roads aren’t crumbling, at least you can drink the water here…
Some of the best things about the U.S., and indeed some of the most necessary, are things based on “socialist” ideals. Things like, oh, I don’t know, ANYTHING THAT EXISTS BECAUSE OUR TAXES PAY FOR THEM. Such “take ’em or leave ’em” entities like Police Departments, Fire Departments, the Military, Public Schools…
Anyway, again, the reality is more nuanced and what we’re looking for is not socialism as it may be popularly understood, but democratic socialism.
These “radical” ideas he promotes, things like a stronger social support system, universal basic income (WELFARE OMG) are 100%, positively, without a fucking doubt, going to be a necessity in the next decade. That is, if we give two shits about our fellow humans. Technology is advancing fast and it’s coming fer yer jobs. Most people don’t work in technology – most people barely understand how to use the internet (“Copy and paste this status to protect your rights…” Psst!), which means that few people really understand or can even imagine this reality coming to be. It’s already happened at smaller scales and will sooner than we’re currently prepared for happen in a much more widespread nature. People will be laid off with no recourse. The people who still have jobs (and homes) will tell them they should get a job. What job? There will come a day when “jobs” as we know them don’t exist. That’s the whole point of technology – to replace the need for human labor. I’m not talking about all the cool face swapping and food ordering apps you’re thinking of, but real, earth-shaking, world-reorganizing technology, aka robotics and AI. It’s coming. And it doesn’t have to ruin anyones life, but it will require us to reorganize our society and to build a culture around caring for each other in a way we never have. We need to start this process now.
No, the ideas he’s arguing for won’t fix everything, not at once, but when tackling large, complex problems only foolish people go after the whole thing in one bite.
These shades aren’t rose colored.
I know that genuinely racist, sexist, classist and other shitty people exist. They weren’t born that way. I know that the government isn’t perfect. It’s run by people, the same beings that run the private institutions whose special interests are the reason why holding the government and these institutions accountable is so damned tough. I understand that some people are very afraid and angry all the time and that makes them difficult to reason with. Bernie Sanders won’t fix that. No one can “fix” that. Only time and long-term changes – changes that I’m sure many people are not ready for and don’t want right now. Due to fear, or worse – comfort, many may see other candidates as a better choice because the status quo is protected. No real change is promised, expected or even discussed. Trump would, I imagine…actually, I honestly can’t imagine. I sat here for several minutes trying to think what it would be like and I have no idea, but I don’t see rainbows and sunshine. I imagine Clinton would perform as expected, capably, and continue us on our current path with little deviation. Little would change or rupture. Steady as she goes. And yet, most everyone agrees that change is needed, but disagrees on what change exactly. If we ignore what the best and smartest amongst us are calling out now, we’ll remain stuck and the choice to be made for us, so that we will each be forced to adapt or be left behind.