Hedging The Progressive Bets

A lot has been said regarding how Bernie’s declarations of political reform measures up to that of his opponents. His political platform has been painted as a *Pipe Dream* and colored as a *Far-fetched Utopia*. As far as unrealistic promises go, how does anyone’s campaign promises hold any more weight than Bernie’s when we consider the inconsistency of many of their stances over time? Bernie’s convictions haven’t changed much over the course of his political tenure except to flow with current events – many of which he predicted long ago, such as the bank bailouts. His propensity for whistle-blowing where corruption is concerned may very well translate as passing blame (sorry, Mr. Greenspan), but they have been spot-on, and honest. His only political *faux pas* has been saying out loud what everyone else has been thinking, and while it resonates with the disenfranchised middle class, it certainly doesn’t score popularity points with his political peers on Capitol Hill. Bernie’s senatorial behavior has embodied both the brute honesty and scathing finger-wags most of us routinely shout at our TV screens whenever failed policies are being reported on, or when witnessing the unrehearsed Senate floor meetings via those late-night C-Span marathons us political junkies unabashedly jones for.


One cannot marginalize his accomplishments or diminish the progress gained thus far in his role as a Senate voter without also marginalizing the far left ideals of the support base he’s gained. One definitely cannot refer to the more liberal left’s public support base cry for change as having fallen on deaf ears where progressive candidates are concerned, as their sheer numbers and loud, collective voices – the ones *Feelin’ the Bern* – have been very outspoken about the type of political paradigm they want to see shifted, and the kind of policies they want to see implemented. They’ve been emboldened by this fresh voice of honest reasoning in Bernie Sanders. They feel empowered, instead of helpless. They’re motivated to vote in a candidate who isn’t a carbon copy of the others in a different suit. Moreover, they realize that their vote for Bernie may be their one and only opportunity to usher in the type of candidate they can relate to. Bernie is their diamond in the rough.


One certainly can’t pretend – at least without contradictions – as if his opponent’s actions in THEIR roles in past office somehow has more merit than Bernie’s, especially after it has been argued that they don’t differ too widely in general principle where key liberal issues are concerned. The only thing I’ve seen articulated regarding the lack of partisan compromise on Bernie’s part is that it’s a safer bet not to challenge the status quo in Washington. If we could turn loose for a few moments the pessimistic view that we should just accept the way things are and put that profound cynicism to work for us, it would probably lend us the kind of gumption and fortitude we need to support a candidate willing to repair what we all can agree on: that the democracy we base our political principles on is broken. None of his supporters have assigned to Bernie Sanders any kind of ethereal qualities that affords him some kind of magic touch where implementing his vision is concerned. We just so happen to share in his vision, and have confidence in the core belief that there is indeed more than just the need to affect changes in policy and political procedures. There’s an underlying moral imperative that’s driving his campaign, and it’s entire premise is founded on his bold assertion that buying elections, buying legislation, and allowing Wall Street interests to remain at the helm of Washington policy-making is not only grossly inappropriate – but spells out BAD economics.


Some Democrats believe that the few opposing Yay/Nay historical votes that made Bernie distinct from Hillary are of no significant importance to today’s main issue, which is the state of our economy. The fact is, they are willfully discounting how defense budgets (to fund wars) and job availability/wage stagnation (by poor immigration policy or international trade deals) directly impacts the economy. Therefore, these past votes are indeed relevant in determining where their head is at as they posture their platforms to tackle economic issues of today.


No Sanders supporters are operating under the delusion that the executive leadership role of the POTUS is not without obstacles, or limited by the congressional chain-of-command that democracy is forged under with the majority presence of Republicans in seat. They have seen what results from the kind of extreme partisan rebellion on the right that has stagnated real progress, and they’ve recognized the role outside interest money plays in keeping our democracy-in-action under a bottlenecked chokehold. They truly believe that with the right kind of leadership, this chokehold can be surreptitiously circumvented over time, and that to date, no other candidate has had the guts to not only address the elephant in the room, but also commit to not operating in that same fashion.


Perhaps those voters who are turned off by Bernie’s in-your-face brand of fiery resolve are right in their assertion that “no one wins elections by being hardcore in their disdain for the political process”. There could very well be a ring of truth to that idea. We have certainly had a good quarter of a century’s history to draw upon that proves that mediocrity and centrist-leaning positions most often end up in the high seats of office. But this type of regime is quickly headed towards antiquation, as it has kept us mired in this *more of the same* type of political environment that leaves voters apathetic, pessimistic and uninspired. The only bonafide sources of inspiration we can remember are of those radical boat-rockers who did indeed challenge the status quo. Two of them found themselves assassinated for championing civil rights and addressing wealth inequality, but their respective legacies still remain fresh in our minds.


It can be argued all day long that it’s much safer to hedge our bets on a candidate whose similar flair for the progressive might be achieved without challenging *the way things are*, but that’s not likely to disrupt the kind of momentum building on the ground which embraces the notion that real political revolution is within our grasp. Some may even be capable of influencing folks to entertain the possibility that a sense of defeatism and resignation is the more pragmatic route to take as far as this election season goes – but it’s not going to undermine the swell of support that has already materialized where Bernie Sanders is concerned. The passion and dedication of his grassroots supporters is not only a force to be reckoned with, but it’s the type of collective upheaval that doesn’t dissipate after the election season runs its course. Bernie’s vision has already materialized in the minds of many, whetting the kind of appetite that can only be satiated by political change of the revolutionary variety. Nothing less will do.

1 Comment on "Hedging The Progressive Bets"

  1. Welcome to the BernieBlog.org team L.D. Richardson! Thank you for your contribution!

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