Once again I listened to part of an excellent debate last night between two candidates I enjoy. They've both slung a wee bit of mud at this point, but so far I hadn't seen anything stick. I did wake up to a sticking point this morning though. I read that Hillary closed last night with that fact that she is well versed in many issues, while Bernie tends to focus on one: income inequality.
Well, as an advocate and Berner, I felt it my duty to post a little context for that notion. There's a reason why this supposedly one-trick pony has caught fire with so many Americans. As a social worker I see and care about a wide array of issues each day: healthcare access, clean water and air, LGBT rights, voting rights for felons, a fair economy and proper rules for the big movers and shakers, access to housing, access to opportunity to change one's situation. One ring rules all or most of these things though: that almighty dollar.
I have a good friend that wants to be a chef, but she and I have been working since we were 15, and her mom's been working since she was 15. Also, my friend's been taking care of her siblings since she was a child, never finished high school, and now has a daughter of her own. What are the chances she's going to make it to the next economic rung? Certainly not impossible, but the deck is stacked against her. You want a safe house, a good job, a fair shot at influencing legislation on the issue you're passionate about? I hate to say it, but in this day and time, most of the fundamental parts of society are run by that sweet, sweet cheddar, and most of us don't have it.
Bernie Sanders understands this. He, like so many Americans, cares about all the issues described above and more. I think he sees though that true success in most of these issues would require the fundamental changing of the profound injustice that is economic inequality in our country. He's sounding a bell, and it is ringing clearly in a lot of our ears. I don't like that people say his ideas are radical. Perhaps for the present time in our country, but not historically, and certainly not presently in most first world countries. You know what is radical though? How many Americans are in prison, how many children are growing up in poverty with a slim hope of changing their future, how many people don't have fair access to housing, healthcare, or a different fate than their parents.
As for the criticism that he isn't well versed in a number of issues, such as foreign policy. Much to the dismay of how Presidents are often perceived, they do not exist in a vacuum. They rely very heavily on many trusted and well educated advisers. Because our country is a little strange and we get races started very early, he doesn't have those advisers gathered yet, but - uh duh - he will, now that he's seen we're with him. If Bernie's ideas are wrong, I don't wanna be right. Let's be radical in our time and get the people taken care of!