Sunday, February 7, 2016

What About Sanders?

“…but he’s a socialist.”

I haven’t actually heard that line, but I’m sure it’s in the minds of many Americans in re Bernie Sanders. They’re fed up with things as they are, and they like what Sanders says, but…

I respectfully suggest that the doubters forget whatever “buts” they may have and consider the following:

• Sanders served four terms as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, from 1981 to 1989. The last I checked, Vermont was not one of the Soviet states — and he didn’t turn it into one.

• He was then elected to the House of Representatives, serving from 1991 to 2007.

• He was elected to the Senate in 2007, and reelected in 2012. 

• He openly acknowledges that he is a democratic (small d) socialist — which means, if I interpret it correctly, that his idea of socialism is not devoid of democratic content, but that it strengthens democracy, giving people the full rights and security they now only partially enjoy.

And so if anyone is skittish about Sanders’ loyalty to our Constitution and to the democratic principles it embodies, have no fear.

Of course, as this campaign drags on — and there has never been a draggier one in my recollection — should Sanders’ strength continue, the socialist/communist onslaught against him will grow. While those shibboleths don't have the strength they did during the Cold War and the McCarthy period, they can still do damage to the democratic process.

As of this writing, Sanders nearly tied Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Caucuses, and won the New Hampshire primary handily. Whether he will win any of the other primaries, is questionable. But he has brought to this race something our country desperately needs: a powerful voice from the left. And from the way it looks today, it’s a voice the American people are ready to listen to.

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