I Really Like Sanders But...
I did not pay attention to Bernie Sanders much until the first Democratic debate on October 13, 2015. Watching him and listening to him at the debate I grew to like and respect him very, very much, and I understood why so many people love and support him. But I don’t think he should be President.
I want his voice to remain as clear and unambiguous as it is today. I want his message, which is fundamentally a moral message that unapologetically seeks equal access to wellbeing (or, as I would put it, equal access to beauty), to remain undiluted. As President, his voice would have, HAVE, to be ambiguous; and his message, of necessity, would be diluted.
In our country today, the person who is President must be a politician who mixes strategy, glad-handing, compromise, power, and moral authority – the last as often kneaded by the first four as not. And s/he must be a competent CEO. Sanders may have the ability to configure himself for strategy, glad-handing, compromise, power, and management, but I don’t believe he has the personality, nor will he have the conditions (legislature; sufficient popular support), to retain the clarity of the moral message of his campaign and transform it into real legislation. That said, I want him to hold our politicians’ feet to the fire. I want him to continue to rouse our youth to hold their politicians accountable, particularly our Democratic politicians as they get elected.
There are other issues. I think Sanders is less knowledgeable about world politics and economics than Clinton. Despite our country’s fascination with exceptionalism, it is now gravely, indeed crazily, important for the US Head of State to be fully aware of and nimbly curious about our increasingly obviously one world. Sanders rightly focuses on a limited message – the gross and growing inequality in our country and the outrageous political power of an appallingly wealthy minority. I want him, his supporters, and others to continue hammering out this message.
But I want a President who combines comfort with the underground of politics with connections to and a ear for the moral voices that call for equal access to beauty.
Is Hillary Clinton that person? I think she could be, if she allows herself to be, if she is supported and encouraged to be that leader. I think she has the capacity for it. But she is a topic for a different blog post.
10/16/2015 04:22:12 pm
Very apt analysis of Sanders! Those were precisely my thoughts except you articulated them way better than I ever could!
10/16/2015 08:26:40 pm
I agree with him that inequality is one of the big issues of the day for the US but its loss of status as the pre-eminent world power is an even bigger issue. I do not see one world at all. I see a world in which the US is still the standard setter by and large and the only country that can be trusted to be a global steward on many issues, including now, amazingly (thanks to Obama) on climate. I see another pole of power in Asia, and now in Russia, neither of whom play by the old rules. Sadly, the US is increasingly flatfooted, insular and slow to read the writing on the wall. I say sadly because in the end, notwithstanding all its faults, gross inequality and what have you, I will still take the US over China and Russia any day. The values that the US stands for are far more appealing to me.
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