By ELIZABETH GEORGE
With some interest, I read Peggy Kimbell’s letter about taking a chance on Bernie Sanders. Like Ms. Kimbell, I agree with nearly everything the senator proposes: free state education through college, health care for everyone, a minimum wage of at least $15/hour, the end of the United States’ policing of the globe, the increased regulation of Wall Street, a complete overhaul of our system of national elections, an end to super-PACs, the repeal of Citizens United, an adjustment of the tax code to force the super-wealthy to pay their fair share… The senator is a man of good ideas and good intentions. But all along, I’ve had a problem with Sen. Sanders, and it is his use of one word that he has repeated in every interview that I’ve heard, in every appearance that I’ve seen, and in every debate that I’ve witnessed: revolution.
Just the other night, he was at the University of Chicago where he was interviewed solo by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in front of a small audience. Matthews questioned the senator about his proposals and he pressed him for details, specifically details that would explain how any of the senator’s proposals were going to come to fruition. Given the poisonous climate of Washington D.C. for the past eight years, Matthews pointed out, how were his proposed changes going to be achieved? Through the people demanding change, Sanders said, through revolution.
Although he won’t state this directly—and would not do so to Chris Matthews — the senator won’t admit to the fact that change doesn’t come because we want it or because we demand it. However, the senator does know this, which is why he keeps using the word revolution.
But saying the word is where Bernie Sanders stops, and this is why I will not vote for him, send him money, or support him in any other way. For in not explaining to his followers what is expected of them, in not telling them the truth about the manner in which revolutions occur and the manner in which his revolution will have to occur, Sen. Sanders merely becomes yet another politician making promises.
Revolution means change, often radical change, and the truth is that change comes about in three ways, none of which is quick and none of which is pretty: through war, through massive demonstrations in the streets and acts of civil disobedience performed by hundreds of thousands of people over time, and through voting under a master plan that guarantees one political party comprising like-minded individuals domination of both the legislative and the executive branches of government.
The problem I have with Sen. Sanders is that he’s not saying this. He’s saying only revolution, revolution, revolution, without telling the entire story, and in not telling the entire story, he’s not being honest. Indeed, he’s performing like any other politician, eager for office. He’s telling people what they want to hear, not what they must do to achieve it. He’s not saying that the revolution he speaks of requires the participation of millions upon millions of people and they must be willing to pour into the streets, to march on Washington, to gather by the hundreds of thousands in the national mall, to have sit-ins in the halls of Congress, to engage in acts of civil disobedience, to allow themselves to be dragged off by the police, to stand in front of judges, and to serve time in jail. It’s either that, an actual war, or a master voting plan to take over the legislative branch that Bernie Sanders needs to come up with by November.
It is my belief that this is not an election for taking chances on Bernie Sanders. The stakes are far too high. This is an election that asks us to take a long and careful look at who has not only ideas but also the experience, the wit, the intelligence, the will, the background, and the plan to bring them to fruition. Unfortunately, that candidate is not Sen. Sanders. Ideas are, alas, not results and believing that millions of people are going to heed the call for a revolution and swarm Washington D.C. or any place else in order to get the legislative branch to do anything is, I believe, pie in the sky.