Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sayonara Bernie

I sent the following to the newspaper several days ago. It is sloppy, but I thought they might use it. Now, it appears, they won't:


Before Bernie Sanders finally falls off the flat earth that is American politics, I for one would like to say a farewell thanks: He, at least, had the self-immolating nerve to raise issues that affect the country I live in.

Education, climate, disparity of wealth, jobs, and a host of other issues that play out quietly where the applause is stilled and individual voters secretly care -- these have been among his offerings. No klieg lights, no confetti -- just a realm in which the good of the country and its citizens comes first.

Of all the people who helped Hillary Clinton become the first woman president of the United States, I would say Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are first in line. Sanders held the bright torch that Clinton tried and failed to co-opt with sound bites. Trump's emotional appeal was another sort of national torch -- of anger and confusion and frustration with no clarity and no quarter.

Of course, who knows: Perhaps this implicit prediction is entirely wrong and Trump will gain the day: There is no explanation for the myth that lemmings jump off an equally mythological cliff and likewise American voters may have an inexplicable need to go "wheeeeeee!" as they anoint the acidic boisterousness of Donald Trump. "President Trump" may be the new normal.

Sanders' bright light held out hope for a nation less fractured. Clinton has a sound bite for that, but Sanders touched the quiet passion that unification can engender. As Trump's supporters can attest, passion can override particulars and Sanders supporters like me could feel a longing addressed in his cliff-bound travels.

As far as I can figure out, Sanders did fail in one particular: He never did get the electorate to look up the word "socialism" to find out what it meant when it wasn't busy being denigrated by those who likewise never looked it up.

But in the face of the other good things Sanders did, this failing is minor. Knowing what you are talking about has never been the strong suit in political jousts.

Before Sanders goes off the cliff ... well, I'd like to say thanks.

Live long and prosper, Bernie.


  1. If everyone feels that way, it's a self-fulfilling prophesy. Some of us still embrace our naivety and believe it isn't over until it's over. By all rational reasoning, he shouldn't have even made it this far. Your optimism only stretches far enough to say that maybe his presence will make a difference. That is why he got involved in the race in the first place, after all. But I'm not willing to concede to cynicism just yet.

  2. Smarti -- I hardly consider it cynicism to say what Bernie himself has been saying in the last few days ... that he is willing to act as a conscience to the Dems.

  3. With you all the way on this one ---

  4. G. W. Bush lost the election but became president. As Cheney said, it's not who votes for who that counts, it's who counts the votes. And of course Greenspan's tell all retirement book said that big business and government were hybridized, get used to it. And as well he said, of course we invaded Iraq for the oil. Our government will continue as is because it's owned by banks that are too big to fail. Trump and Billery are just the dog 'n pony show that distracts us from the man behind the curtain.

    Optimism and cynicism have nothing to do with it. Reality trumps whatever we feel about it. The power of wealth makes these decisions, always has, and unless our species should suddenly become enlightened by aliens or the baby jesus, i don't see that changing. Another beauty from Cheney was "who cares about future generations, what'd they ever do for us?" Those who can afford it want the best berth on the titanic. We're just supposed to quietly shovel coal.