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Member since: Thu Mar 29, 2012, 08:13 AM
Number of posts: 1,150

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A not-that-political friend's take on Bernie Sanders

Got this email from a friend the other day. He's not politically ignorant, but he's nowhere near as engrossed in politics as most of us here are, and though he generally leans left on issues, he's nowhere near the liberal that I am. Posting this here for your consideration and/or enjoyment; the only other bit of "context" I'll provide is to mention that he lives in the city of San Francisco.


I watched the debate twice last night; kinda weird picking winners with this stuff, but the first run through I thought Bernie was the solid winner; second time through I have to say Hillary did well-enough (if you are a Hillary supporter), probably an even score between those two. Bernie earned bonus points, of course, in that he got exposure to people who may not know him so much. I can't say I heard anything from him that was new to me, however I did have a realization last night; and remember this is coming from an outsider of sorts in that I have some conservative-ness in me, not a diehard Dem I guess I'm saying. Anyway, my new view regarding Bernie is, and I put this in caps purposefully:


Throughout the years, in the many, many cocktail, dinner, work-lunch, barbeque coffeehouse conversations I've had with people who consider themselves democrats/progressives/liberals/whatever - all I've heard to the point of exhaustion is EXACTLY what Bernie presents. On every point his view is exactly what progressive, democratic people-for-change claim they want in a politician. There are zero holes; he not only hits all the "we want!" points, he also dismisses and doesn't really care about the stuff that is not truly important. As an example, I'd put the legalization of marijuana in that category. Realistically "liberal" people like to talk about legalization, but to most, even democrats, I think it's a "nice to have". His response (with pause) of "I'd probably vote for that" really shows how that doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things. His focus and core perspectives, the changes he suggests are right on point with what the modern democrat proudly postures as what is objectively and obviously correct. Bernie’s plan of action is clear, concrete and unwavering - "Let's fix the economy, break up the big banks and balance out tax distribution; stay out of wars until we really have to get involved; build back the middle-class; treat all people with respect and dignity; pull tax money away from the top to make education and healthcare available to all and stop wasting time, money and energy on political silliness like someone’s damn emails!"

These points are precisely the promises initiated and strongly upheld, at least in voice, for the last 40-plus years by the boomer generation, the originators of the modern Democratic party. Aging boomers and the modern progressives who have carried their baton forward have repeated this bundle of values over and over and over with loud, insistent, sometimes obnoxious voices and yet very little has been actualized or even felt close in reach. Every four years again there is the opportunity to make your vote count, power to the people. But the people continue to support, by passive allowance, the political machine to move forward manufacturing and outputting a long string of safe, digestible Democrats who are “For Change!, sorta” and we vote accordingly because we, the People, are perhaps “For Change! sorta” as well? We will find out in 2016.

It would be an egotistical slogan and probably not good campaign advice, but really here's the poster:

Bernie with arms spread wide, smiling. Caption reads: "Hey democrats, progressives, liberals, people-for-change - Here I AM!"

Just like any horrible, sinful person will be granted their place in heaven with a simple acceptance of Jesus as their savior on their deathbed, an action that clears all the sins of their past. The entire boomer generation can be forgiven of all their sins if each, on their now deathbeds, open their by-mail voter ballot at the hospital, take out a pen and with shaky hand mark a vote for Bernie Sanders. It would be the final political action to clear all the mistakes and broken promises they’ve made in the past. Fifty years ago they started the exact call for change expressed by Bernie Sanders, point-by-point, and yet that call is still required. For those younger, this is their chance to not repeat the mistakes of their liberal predecessors and choose a candidate for true change, change that will require effort and work, change that will require compromises, but change that will be lasting and in the end be the correct and right thing to do!

To me, this is a defining moment for our generation’s modern Democratic party. Moving forward in any political conversation, if someone starts giving me the whinny liberal rant, I will ask - did you support Bernie Sanders in 2016? If "no", then I say - "Well, you are living the consequences of your own mistake.” I hate to be boomer-righteous, but really - anyone who considers themselves liberal/progressive/whatever and does not support Bernie Sanders in 2016 is a coward! This is a once in a generation opportunity for people to shut-up and put-up. There is no third party splitting here, no interests forcing Bernie's hand, he is not running because of any social or demographic look-and-feel; he is not even a value-based politician like so many Democrats are. His is a call to action. Simply and sincerely, Bernie Sanders is "FOR CHANGE", for actual, concrete, and game-changing change at a time when change is not just a "nice to have", but necessary. Bernie Sanders’ message, echoing Kennedy era progressiveness, begins with "Here's what WE need to do". His language of inclusion was so natural and inviting. And his insistence that it all begins with "You guys out there need to do some of the work and rise up" is key. So - let's do this! And insist with our actions and our voices and our votes that Bernie Sanders be the 2016 Democratic Candidate and next President so that we can finally get this country moving forward!

You know what's incredible to me?

How this whole business devolves into who's pro-Obama and who's anti-Obama.

I think the facts here are pretty clear:

1. Obama made some statements about the build-up to the Iraq war that are, if not COMPLETE bullshit, very heavily tainted with bullshit.

2. Obama HAD to make SOME kind of statement about the build-up to the Iraq war, because he was directly called out on the US's apparent hypocrisy. Yes, it was Bush the Lesser who got us into that particular mess, and yes, Obama rightly opposed it from the start. But as President, it's his JOB to respond to that kind of question in the way he finds to be most appropriate--not in terms of his own stance, but in terms of the US as a political actor in the world, past and present.

3. Obama was in the position of having to make said statement because he was taking a stand on Russia-Ukraine and Crimea. He was doing his JOB, and for my money, on the right side of this issue, but got backed into a rather obvious corner, and used bullshit to get out of it in the hope that it wouldn't distract from the larger point he was trying to make.

The upshot is that he was trying to do the right thing, but this was not his finest moment. Now, if he's neither the Messiah nor the Antichrist--and I like to believe that no one on here believes he's either--then he's human, and not every moment is GOING to be his finest. That's just the way it is.

My visceral response to the President's statement was very much like Will's. But I have to admit that I don't know that I would have handled it any better in a similar situation--especially since he didn't prosecute the previous administration as the war criminals they are. The statement was based on the reality of where we are today, like it or not, and given that reality, it's hard for me, at least, to even conceive of a "right answer" to the question posed.

So how about if we just cut the pro/anti shit on this "issue"? Clearly, some of us are pissed, while others think it was just hunky dory. But what we're NOT talking about here is any major policy change, or even any news about how Obama has handled or will handle the Iraq situation. All that we're talking about here is words--words which, while perhaps ill-advised, were intended to advance a positive goal.

To the "anti" crowd: Be pissed, but get over it. There's nothing new to see here, the President just picked at a scab, and it kind of hurts. Save your real ire for the next time he actually DOES something awful.

To the "pro" crowd: Quit wasting your energy trying to rationalize this statement. There's plenty to be offended by, no matter how you parse it, and I'm sure you can see that. (We didn't seize Iraq's resources? Puh-leez.) Stick to the fact that he was right on the substance of the entire statement, regardless of this piece of it, and don't pretend that those offended by the Iraq bit are tea-baggers in disguise. They're not.

Seriously, the idea this is a litmus test for who's the "better" Democrat is absurd.

Obamacare in South Carolina


My wife recently got certified as an Obamacare Navigator in South Carolina. If you want to sign up, need information, or anything else, please send me a PM and I'll make the introduction.

We are in the Charleston area, but if you're elsewhere in the state, she may be able to help you out anyway.

Please feel free to spread the word!

Just got a poll from Boy Scouts of America

Hey all, just got polled--as a scout leader--about how I feel about the BSA's anti-gay policies. Here's my response to the best free-form question on the whole thing. Hope it gives you a laugh!


Q: What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting? (Please be specific.)

A: I find the current BSA policy to be morally reprehensible. I am viscerally sickened by the notion that homosexuality and moral uprightness are incompatible--the notion currently promulgated by BSA. The BSA's open embrace of naked bigotry is at best embarrassing, and in the minds of good people, it raises doubts about the ability of scout leaders to provide moral leadership.

The idea that the Scout Oath prescribes heterosexuality is, to any person with a modicum of intelligence, a spurious rationalization to justify instilling in young people shameful beliefs that should have been discarded decades ago. As a scout leader, I believe it is my moral duty to actively fight, undermine, and sabotage the BSA's anti-gay policies whenever and wherever I can, not only to live according to my own moral code, but also in order to promote the long-term health of BSA.

If the policy stays in place, therefore, my main concern is that BSA membership will atrophy and that the organization will eventually fall into irrelevance. Already, the vast majority of young adults starting new families hold opinions similar to mine; if the BSA alienates them in order to appease obstinate but aging religious bigots, where will our new members come from?
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