Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bernie Sanders

 Almost 6 times as many people voted in the election of the All-Star baseball team as took the trouble to vote in the last presidential election. Only half of all persons eligible took the trouble to vote for president in 2012. Among young voters the numbers are even worse. In 2012 only 45% of eligible young voters went to the polls.

These same young people flock to the events where Bernie Sanders speaks. His attendance is impressive and the majority are young people.

Young voters are not apathetic but there is something about regular politicians that leaves them completely cold. There is something about Bernie Sanders that interests and attracts them.

It is not difficult to see what that something is.

The news reports about Hillary Clinton record almost daily the kinds of compromises she makes in order to attract very rich donors. Her program is so far fairly vague. In the initial stages of her campaign she is catering to the very rich, she is building an enormous campaign fund to match those being constructed by Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and other Republican candidates. She is being cagey in her answers to the press; her policy statements are very general. Not offending anyone sitting on bags of money is the dominant strategy at the moment.

Given our current state of democracy that is clearly the right thing to be doing. We are so used to it, we no longer notice the stench of corruption.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is talking policy. He is talking about justice, about inequality. He is talking about what he sees as our major problems and what he would do about them, were he elected president.

He is talking about change and what changes need to be made. He is talking about making America better.

Bernie Sanders is talking about running the country. According to press reports, Hillary Clinton is running an electoral campaign. He wants to make the country better. She wants to better her position by becoming president.

Sanders' democracy has to do with all of us running our country together. Her democracy has to do with getting the rich to support her.

Among the young, Sanders' democracy is more appealing. Democracy as usual, they think, is not worth wasting your time on unless you too are sitting on bags of money.

This is the lesson of the Sanders campaign so far: ordinary people are not going to pay attention or vote in a democracy that excludes them because it listens only to the rich. An oligarchy of the rich is just around the corner, if it is not already here, unless we manage to make room for everyone once again to participate.