Oh, Senator Sanders. Sit on your hands. Right now. Compared to Hillary Clinton in Thursday’s Democratic Presidential Debate, you looked unhinged. You aren’t unhinged, though. You have progressive, humane ideas and great vision. You have political experience. You have life experience. You’re intelligent. But you wave your hands around too much. Presidents don’t do that. Someone told me that that is your “shtick.” Presidents don’t have shticks. Comedians do.
Presidents also have patience. When Secretary Clinton said something you disagreed with, you interjected and wagged your finger. You looked like you were about to explode. Presidents don’t regularly blow gaskets, at least not on national television.
Calm down, Senator Sanders. Control your hands. Wait your turn. Breathe. You have what it takes. You just need to present it in a dignified fashion.
I like Bernie Sanders. I do not dismiss his democratic socialism out of hand. The more I learn what it means, the more I learn how it is not the same as socialism. Capitalism, our core economic principle, would remain under a Bernie Sanders presidency. So would the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government. What would change is that loopholes will be closed for corporations who have avoided paying taxes, and the very wealthy would be taxed more to pay for social programs like universal health care and free state-college tuition. These are goals, however, and probably not even ones that can be accomplished in the near future, if ever. (There’s still the House and Senate to contend with, as well as state governments.)
As I tried to familiarize myself with the concept of democratic socialism, I did some reading and learned that it already exists in our society to a large degree, and not only in government-assistance programs, like Medicare and Medicaid; you’ll see democratic socialism at work in our national highway system, our free public school system, our libraries, our post offices, our municipal trash pick-ups, municipal snow removal, state road resurfacing, bridge building, etc. These things are all possible because democratically elected officials voted for these projects and institutions, for the good of all.
So, I’m rethinking my political philosophy, which is mostly center, or a little left of center, but occasionally veers to the right. I will always support a free, capitalist society. I also support Senator Sanders’ contention that medical care and higher education should be available to all. These two things are not mutually exclusive if some major adjustments are made. After all, you can make a cake with many different recipes, but you’ll still wind up with a cake.