Monday, May 2, 2016

Enough with the Shtick, Bernie

It appears increasingly likely that a fanatical minority or Republicans will succeed in nominating Donald Trump as the party’s presidential candidate. In the world of politics it’s not unusual to hear dire warnings about the importance of “this” election versus “that” election; or the need to defeat candidate X because he or she represent(s) a threat to the very survival of our democracy. We’ve heard these claims so often now that it’s admittedly tempting to ignore the boy who cried “wolf!” entirely. However, given the number or racist, sexist, and just plain bat-s**t crazy rants emanating from the Donald, it’s plain to see that if he succeeds in getting anywhere near the White House, our homes may indeed collapse in the rush of hot air, and the republic may well be screwed.
It would seem that the sooner the Democratic Party is able to unite, the better off we’ll be. Given the lure of Justin Trudeau’s bold new visions and proposals, it’s certainly tempting to consider a mass emigration to Canada (if they haven’t built a wall), but we can’t afford to leave our country in the clutches of an intolerant, hateful minority.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has surprised almost everyone by running an inspirational and powerful campaign. His focus on issues such as income inequality, the influence of big money in politics, universal healthcare, free tuition at public colleges and universities, and offering a legal pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants have resonated with millions across the country.
Unfortunately, he has recently veered off course and misses no opportunity to try and inflict damage on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Setting aside the simple arithmetic, it’s simply disappointing to hear Senator Sanders resort to such tactics.

For example, it’s silly for Senator Sanders to try and claim the mantle of the “anti-establishment” candidate when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988, where he served until being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. These are among the most exclusive and powerful legislative bodies in the world. (It’s also worth noting that in every election campaign Sanders has benefitted greatly from the support of a Democratic party that he then attempts to keep at arm’s length.)
It’s absurd for Senator Sanders to attack Secretary Clinton (at the contentious Brooklyn debate) on the issue of global warming and then turn around and charter a private plane for a 8500 mile round-trip flight to Rome—for a conference on wealth inequality? The Mail Online calculated 33,193 gallons of fossil fuel were used for this jaunt. Now that’s some carbon footprint! Another moment at that debate was particularly striking. While Secretary Clinton clarified a comment she’d made regarding the proportion of guns from Vermont used to commit crimes in NYC, Senator Sanders almost chuckled. He seemed to find the topic amusing, until Secretary Clinton reminded him that “gun violence is not a laughing matter”. Unfortunately, Senator Sanders also passed up on an opportunity to apologize to the parents/families of the Sandy Hook massacre for his comments in an interview with the “N.Y. Daily News” maintaining those parents didn’t have the right to sue the gun manufacturers.

A few days ago, Jane Sanders sounded uncannily like Donald Trump in a recent interview with Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto Coast to Coast” as she complained that the delegate selection process “isn’t fair”. To make matters worse, in today’s headlines I’m seeing that Senator Sanders himself is promising a contested Democratic convention. I have no doubt this provided tremendous glee at Trump headquarters.
I can only hope that, in time, Senator Sanders and those supporters who’ve promised not to vote for Secretary Clinton, will look again at the danger posed by Donald Trump and think long and hard about what they’re doing.
I plan to vote for Hillary Clinton not as the “lesser of two evils”, but as a capable, experienced candidate whose time has come. I believe that the basis for much of the antipathy toward Hillary Clinton stems from one of the most brutal and disingenuous hatchet jobs ever to emerge from the world of public relations. In 1994, in response to President Clinton’s proposed health care plan (with Hillary taking point), insurance companies launched a year-long, multi-million dollar smear campaign (“Harry and Louise”) that seems to have shaped perceptions of Hillary Clinton ever since. I admire Secretary Clinton for her resilience and determination in facing down decades of uninformed vitriol, and look forward to her election as President of the United States.

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