Sunday, February 09, 2020

Bernie Sanders Catch 22

Catch 22 is my favorite book. I don't even remember how many times I've read it. It's about Captain Yossarian, who had to fly incredibly risky missions. No matter how many he does, the number keeps getting raised. Yossarian goes to the doctor and says he can't fly any more missions because he's crazy. The doctor says if he's crazy he can stop flying missions, but by saying he doesn't want to fly the missions he must not be crazy. Anyone who shows a concern for his life must not be crazy, so he has to continue risking his life.

I get a lot of pushback on Facebook for my support of Bernie. You see, everyone who supports Bernie is a "Bernie Bro," a contrary simpleton who will vote for no one but Bernie in the general. As it happens, I will support any Democrat in the general except Michael Bloomberg, who ran a racist stop and frisk policy for years, who opposed a living wage for New Yorkers, who defied the twice-voiced will of the people for term limits, and who demonstrated a clear animus toward public schools and public school teachers.

Even as so-called centrists vilify Sanders supporters for their simple-mindedness, and even as Bernie surges in the polls, the very same people who claim we won't support anyone but Bernie declare Bernie is unelectable. Why? His policies are too extreme. After all Bernie wants health care for all Americans. He wants a living wage. He wants everyone to have an opportunity to go to college. He wants us to spend money on taking care of one another rather than endless war. He wants excellent public schools for all. What miserable, unworthy goals. He must be stopped.

The fact that polls show Bernie has more support over Donald Trump than his opponents are meaningless. The important thing is that we are fanatical in our support. It's our fault that Hillary lost the election. It has nothing to do with the millions of people who stayed home on Election Day in 2016, the ones who came out twice for Barack Obama.

Now, the rallying cry is vote blue no matter who. It's actually exactly the same battle cry we heard four years ago. You must vote for Hillary no matter what, because the alternative is Donald Trump. Who cares if she says America will never, ever get single payer? Who cares if she waffles on a living wage? Who cares if she opposes free college because she claims Donald Trump's kids would all go to CUNY? Who cares if she stands in front of the AFT and says we can "learn from public charter schools?

In fact, I cared about all those things, and I voted for her anyway. Not only that, but I offered to swap out my Hillary vote with a PA blogger who was choosing Jill Stein. He declined and Trump won the state. I don't blame him personally. Nonetheless, I have people on Facebook telling me if I don't support Mike Bloomberg Trump will get a second term. I tell them that the same low standards that led us to support Hillary are precisely what got Trump his first term.

In any case, you can't stand there with a straight face and tell us that A. Sanders supporters are so fanatical they will vote for no one but Sanders, and B. Sanders will lose 48 states because no one but the fanatics will vote for him. That means that you, the omniscient critic, along with all your crystal ball-carrying BFFs, will not be voting for Sanders when nominated. It is therefore your fault if Trump gets another term. That's Catch 22, circa 2020.

I voted for Hillary. I found her a highly compromised candidate, but liked her better than Donald Trump. That's a very low bar. Michael Bloomberg is blatantly trying to buy the presidency. The DNC, after bouncing candidates of color like Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, and even Corey Booker, has decided to relax its rules so that billionaire Bloomberg can participate in the debates, should he deign to associate with candidates people actually support.

"No matter who" is a recipe for failure. We need to run a candidate who stands for we the people, who represents someone other than the uber-wealthy. In short, we need to get our priorities straight and run a candidate the American people can support. We need to stop listening to fairy tales from people who speak out of both sides of their mouths to tell us things will never improve.

It's time to step into the future, reject the politics of fear, and elect a candidate who represents We, the People.
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