Friday, February 12, 2016
Bernie Sanders and the New American Revolution
Three days after Bernie Sanders' victory in New Hampshire I'm still floating on a cloud, and dreaming up a storm.
I still can't quite believe my eyes. How could an old leftie calling for a revolution in the United States of America manage to win so convincingly?
But I suppose it's only fitting that it happened in a state with the motto "Live Free or Die."
For it is a new American revolution, and at its core is a simple but radical idea.
Take back the country from the hands of the greedy one-percent, who as they are all over the world, are making themselves richer while the rest of us get poorer.
The ones who are buying governments, turning societies into hyper-militarized police states to keep themselves in power, and torching the planet in the name of short term greed.
And if Bernie Sander is against them, and for a more equal, kinder, gentler, more sane world then I'm for him.
Because I too want to believe in the future...
But that's when I hear the voices of some people I know saying something like this:
"Simon stop dreaming, Bernie may be great but he can't win. The establishment will CRUSH him. He doesn't stand a CHANCE. You're only going to be disappointed. You idiot."
And then I remember the time when I was with a ragged band of people who were calling for the overthrow of the one-percent, in this Occupy camp in a Toronto park.
And I can't forget the day this young woman and I found ourselves frozen, staring at each other...
With the sounds of the camp, and our dreams, being demolished in the background.
But although I was sad that day, I was not discouraged. Because I knew it was an idea whose time had come. And that they would have to kill all of us to make it disappear.
I survived that disappointment, and the many disappointments of the Harper years failed to break me.
So to those who would seek to discourage me now, I would just say this: don't be so sure that Bernie Sanders will fail, because he has a lot going for him.
He has an amazing ability to raise money for his campaign.
Since the New Hampshire polls closed Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders has raised more than $7 million — an incredible sum that's the most his campaign has ever raised in one day.
Even more importantly, the average donation Sanders received in that period was around $34, according to his team. That means that the vast majority of those givers will be able to contribute many, many, many more times without running afoul of contribution limits.
Money from ordinary people not super PACS or corporations.
And he has the overwhelming support of young Americans, including young women who would rather vote for him than Hillary Clinton.
For these 20-something women, gender is not a major consideration. Sure, they would like to see a woman become president and expect that to happen in the near future, but they are not especially enthused by the too-familiar female candidate asking for their votes this year. These young women adore Bernie because he is honest, idealistic and bravely radical. They are shunning Hillary because, in their eyes, she is devious, boringly pragmatic and as conventional as mom jeans.
Even though Hillary could become the first female president of the United States, which would be something.
And to those who would put down the young, and claim that they are just naive idealists, who will collide with reality as they always do, and are not capable of supporting a revolution.
I would just point out that many of the eminent so-called fathers of the first American revolution were young themselves.
So the young will help power this new revolution like they helped power that one. Their energy and idealism will keep a flame burning in the heart of the movement, all the way to the day of decision. They will keep reminding people that this struggle is about the future of us all young and old.
For they have been joined by many old boomers who have rekindled their youthful idealism, and are working side by side with them to elect Bernie. And it's a wonderful sight.
And if the Sanders campaign can't compete with the many fancy videos put out by their super PAC opponents, they will use their creativity to make humbler, but still powerful videos of their own.
To show their support for the old man who tells his army of the young never to surrender to despair...
So yes, I am a dreamer, I admit it.
But I really do believe that what's happening could be the beginning of a new American revolution.
For it is an idea whose time has come.
That broken hearted young woman in the Occupy camp was right: We are the change.
And the dream will never die...
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