Bernie Sanders for President

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., smiles as a bird lands on his podium as he speaks during a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., Friday, March 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

Bernie Sanders for President.

I grew up in the 1960s during the upheaval of the Civil Rights Movement and the division caused by the war in Vietnam. Even though I lived in deeply conservative Texas I was drawn to the so-called counterculture; speaking out against the war and thoroughly confused about Civil Rights. I was a committed, if clueless, liberal who campaigned for George McGovern and prayed for the end of the Nixon regime. Even then we knew he was bad, though it was not until later that we found out how bad. 

Over the next four decades I served in the Navy, went to college and entered the workforce. I raised a family. Went to graduate school. By the beginning of the 21st century I was a firmly entrenched Mr. Suburbia with a wife, a kid, a minivan, a house in the suburbs and a 401k. I was happy to see Obama elected. He didn’t light any idealistic fires for me but I hoped it was a sign the nation was progressing beyond its racist past. 

The racist Tea Party backlash to Obama’s election pushed me out of the conservative camp. I was disillusioned and adrift politically. In 2012 I changed my registration to Democrat and voted for Obama, the first Democrat I had voted for since McGovern. There were (and are) a number of positions of Democratic orthodoxy I can’t support, but even then it looked like the Republican Party was going over the edge. 

I started to follow this crazy old guy from Vermont on Facebook. He stated positions about social welfare and justice that really resonated with me. The cynicism in which American politics had become drenched was replaced by the hope that it might be possible to actually move the nation forward toward justice. The more I learned about Bernie the more impressed I became. Here was the real deal. A sixties radical, present and active in the struggle for racial and economic justice, his decades long career driven by a consistent vision of a nation of freedom and justice. He articulated what I believe America has always stood for better than anyone I had ever heard. And for every stupid mistake foreign and domestic the nation had made in the preceding decades there was a YouTube video of Bernie warning against it. When Bernie announced his candidacy in 2015 I was on board right away. I made a small donation to his campaign, the first time I had done so in several years. 

The 2016 campaign began with me more enthusiastic toward the possibilities of politics than I had been since I was a teenager. But enthusiasm soon gave way to disappointment and then anger as it became clear the process was rigged by the DNC against Bernie. I never gave up belief in him or lost hope in his campaign, but I became thoroughly disillusioned with the Democratic Party elite. They were as much in the pockets of Wall Street as the Republicans. Meanwhile the Republican Party was careening off a cliff. 

I was happy about the change in direction Bernie was able to bring to the Democratic platform and the national agenda based on his unexpected success in the primaries. But I was never able to fully support Hillary, mostly because she represented the status quo of bought politicians, but also because of her complicity in rigging the primaries. I wrote in my vote for Bernie in the general election, even though I expected Hillary to win. 

The day after the election, when it became clear that Hillary was the only candidate who could have lost the election to a grandstanding buffoonI predicted, and my prediction has been borne out by circumstance, that the Trump administration would initiate an awakening in American politics. Women, young people and minorities are much more engaged than they were before. The idea that democracy can run on autopilot, that politics is boring and useless, that “someone else” will take care of it has been thoroughly discredited. People have come to realize that not choosing is a choice; that not participating is in fact supporting the status quo, or worse. 

Further, the Democratic Party led by Hillary Clinton entered the 2016 election with the agenda “I’m not Trump.” But single handedly Bernie pushed the debate in the Democratic Party to considering ideas for real change. Healthcare as a right. $15 minimum wage. Student loan relief. Reining in Wall Street’s corruption of government. Racial and economic justice. These are the issues Democrats are discussing today as the 2020 election approaches. In the two years since the election Bernie has continued to aggressively press his agenda of bringing about fair play and justice. He was instrumental in forcing Amazon to raise its minimum wage, and he has spoken out clearly and forcefully against American involvement in support of criminal regimes. 

Our nation has suffered great damage under the Trump administration. The very survival of our free society is at stake. In a time so fraught with danger we do not need more politics as usual. We do not need a President who pays lip service to progressive ideas but has no record of championing them. We do not need a President whose views adjust to whatever the polls tell him. And we do not need another President in the pocket of the billionaire elite, the lunatic right, and/or foreign interests. 

We need Bernie Sanders, and progressives nationwide to support him. Bernie Sanders is the right man at the right time. I wholeheartedly endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.