VIEWPOINT | Why I’m voting for Sen. Bernie Sanders

By PAULETTE BECKER

Useless Bay resident

Though Elizabeth George is a clever writer of mystery yarns, she fails to perceive the nature of and motives behind the political revolution Sen. Bernie Sanders now calls us to. If not a revolution, then what would she have us call it? Can Americans really afford to remain mired in feckless politics-as-usual, hoping that our present political system will magically repair itself and begin to work for the people again? The hour, in my view, is very late; there is no more wait-and-see time left!

Sen. Sanders has articulated what is at stake: Restoring hope to a middle class drowning in a torrent of upward-flowing wealth, countering the devastation of climate change, preserving wildlife habitat, saving ourselves from a poisoned ocean of our own making, saying no to cynical wars promoted by a ravenously bloated military-industrial complex, setting to rights our failing schools, managing out-of-control student debt, and mitigating the evil of unchecked greed. All supercharged by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and all worth revolutionary change, if you ask me.

Sen. Sanders does not condone violence. But like myself, he is a child of the 1960s, when non-violent, yet full-throated protests by student activists and minority groups made a difference. We protested the Vietnam War. Women bravely stood tall for equal opportunity in the workplace. Martin Luther King marched for civil rights and desegregation. We believed in the power of revolution as envisioned by such as Gandhi, and we were rewarded with greater justice. Today, as then, we make a joyful noise! In that sort of revolution we trust.

To quote Ms. George, “Change doesn’t come because we want it or we demand it.” She’s wrong. Margaret Mead said it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

To remind Ms. George of recent revolutionary change, she only needs to take a look at the relatively small LGBT movement’s success. With amazing suddenness, it liberated itself from the love-that-dares-not-speak-its-name paradigm and proudly asserted its entitlements as an integral part of a free people.

Finally, both conservatives and liberals may be faulted for bad-faith negotiation with political enemies, but without massive numbers of people insisting they work together our ship of state will sink into dereliction. Xenophobia, inflexibility, bullying, disunion, and corruption at home do us no credit in the wider world — they threaten our credibility as the pre-eminent leader-nation.

Americans must change the status quo. We must not allow fear to overcome us. We must accept the urgency and necessity of the peaceful revolution Bernie calls for. Further, while we praise our brave military men and women, we best honor their service and sacrifice by voting with sober discernment. This is how we defend our democracy as citizens. So remember that change comes not only from citizen protest but also from votes cast in that same revolutionary spirit upon which our nation was founded.