There’s a storm brewing on the horizon for as-yet-undeclared presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the winds are blowing from the far left. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the combative people’s champion of the U.S. Senate and self-described Democratic-Socialist, is fighting mad — not with the former Secretary of State, mind you, just with the state of our political discourse.
Clearly, if we are going to save the middle class and protect our planet, we need to change the political dynamics of the nation. We can no longer allow the billionaires and their think tanks or the corporate media to set the agenda. We need to educate, organize and mobilize the working families of our country to stand up for their rights. We need to make government work for all the people, not just the 1 percent.
The prevailing wisdom of many progressive voters is that former Secretary Clinton is too cozy with the power brokers on Wall Street and big banks, and too hawkish on foreign policy matters for their comfort. Senator Sanders isn’t advocating for a Department of Peace (as former Congressman Dennis Kucinich did during his bid for the Oval Office), but the issues that matter most to Bernie, resonate strongly with the progressive left wing of the Democratic party.
With a large deficit and enormous unmet needs, it is absurd that the United States continues to spend almost as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. The U.S. must be a leader in the world in nuclear disarmament and efforts toward peace, not in the sale of weapons of destruction.
He’s made it clear he’s willing to enter the 2016 race for the White House, to make sure that the issues he champions, and are important to many Americans, get the national spotlight a presidential campaign attracts. Senator Sanders isn’t naive, however, and understands the reality of current polling numbers, showing just 4% of Democratic voters responding indicating they would cast a ballot for him if the election were held today. Vice President Joe Biden claimed 15% of the vote, but it was Hillary Clinton who ran away from the field; 50% of respondents picked her as their first choice for a former First Lady to serve as POTUS.
Still, those numbers won’t dissuade Bernie’s supporters, who look to the junior United States Senator from Vermont as one of the sole voices of reason speaking up for them in the halls of Congress today.
The Congress has just ended one of the worst and least productive sessions in the history of our country. At a time when the problems facing us are monumental, Congress is dysfunctional and more and more people (especially the young) are, understandably, giving up on the political process. The people are hurting. They look to Washington for help. Nothing is happening.
Bernie Sanders grabbed the national spotlight when, on Friday, December 10, 2010, he claimed the floor of the United States Senate chamber and refused to yield until he had said his peace; that historic moment in American history became his best-selling book, “The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class.” It seems Senator Sanders still has quite a bit to say.
A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much, while so many have so little.