I find that the older I get, the less likely I am to venture into “new things”. I’ve also noticed that I become more frustrated and irritated when my ventures don’t turn out as planned. That’s one of the many reasons I wonder how in the world Bernie Sanders and his followers ever thought he was going to make it into the White House. People criticize President Biden for being “polarizing” and he’s about as an accommodating human being that ever walked the planet. Bernie Sanders is not shy about delivering his opinion to one and all.
Don’t get me wrong, I love everything the senator from Vermont is saying. He is “speaking truth to power”, as they say, and I love him for doing it. I just see that he’s never really had a snowball’s chance in Hell of pulling off a win in a presidential election. Even with the youth demographic behind him, he would never be able to pull enough progressive voters together to offset the “he’s a socialist, he’s a socialist” crowd. It’s sad that the label defines the man, but there it is.
I see Bernie not as a power broker but more of a conscience for the party. Perhaps it’s quotes like this that rope the young people into Bernie’s corral: “What being a socialist means is… that you hold out… a vision of society where poverty is absolutely unnecessary, where international relations are not based on greed… but on cooperation… where human beings can own the means of production and work together rather than having to work as semi-slaves to other people who can hire and fire.”
I particularly love the fact that the young people are so energized by him, and that they turn out in droves to support him. Someone needs to energize the youth of our country and the fact that an 80 year old is doing it is totally cool with me. I just hope that Bernie’s Brigade is not a part of some bizarro hipster movement that will turn it’s attention elsewhere when they get bored with the old guy. I hope they continue to “Feel the Bern” long after Bernie has left politics. I also wonder where the Bernies-in-training are. Katie Porter maybe?
History/memory informs us of another totally left candidate who played very well to the youth demographic, George McGovern. It was a very different time, one when the youth of our country were out marching in the streets every day to put an end to foreign excursions, civil rights, empowering women and other social issues. The presidential election of 1972, left the Democratic candidates George McGovern and Eugene Shriver crushed in a 61-percent to 37-percent defeat to Richard Nixon. The Electoral College total was 520 to 17, for Nixon. At the time, this was the second biggest landslide in American history. I’m not saying that I don’t think that a totally Progressive movement would have the same results today, I’m just offering up a recollection from the past. After all, “those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it”, as the saying goes.
So, as excited as I am to see the progressive ideas expostulated by Bernie take hold with the American people, I know that the realities of his age have got to be catching up with him. At what point will some dip ask Bernie some dumb question, and Bernie lose it and go total octogenarian Rambo on them? I know it’s a possibility I deal with everyday, and Bernie’s got a few years on me. What if Bernie calls a fool “a fool” on the Senate floor and is censured for his truthfulness? Will he continue to try to serve like a Supreme Court Justice until the last functioning brain cell gives way? I hope not, he has meant too much to too many of us for his legacy to become tarnished in that way.
I hope that when when Bernie’s last race has been run that those of us who call ourselves Democrats will keep this Bernieism in our heart: “Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues.”