A funny thing seems to happening on the way to Hillary's coronation...
People are starting to pay attention to a guy who calls himself a Democratic Socialist. Who would have thought that possible in this Red Scare country? Bernie Sanders is drawing rock star worthy crowds of enthusiastic supporters all over the country, and the more America sees and hears from the guy, the more his support grows. Republicans don't have a bad thing to say about the man, because they hope he'll win the Democratic nomination. They're sitting with their lily white fingers crossed, hoping upon hope that it's Bernie on the debate stage, and not Hillary Clinton.
The only people freaking out about Bernie Sanders' early momentum are his fellow Democrats. Liberals and progressives are terrified that Bernie is going to screw up our chance to retain the White House, handing the government over to the knuckle-draggin', mouth-breathin', science-denyin' troglodytes of the GOP who want to drag America back to the 19th century. And maybe they're right. Maybe Bernie Sanders is a bridge too far for this country. Maybe we can't expect people to hear the word "socialist" and NOT think of Mao or Lenin. It's been tossed around like a slur for so long, most of the folks using the word don't know there's a difference between a Socialist and a Democratic Socialist. Maybe they'll never need to know the difference, 'cause it's a LONG time between now and the nomination.
But maybe Democrats should stop clutching their pearls, put on their big girl panties, and start listening to the message Bernie is trying to convey. Once you've heard the message, you might not be so timid.
I've gotten into some heated discussions with fellow liberals on social media, progressives who support everything Bernie Sanders stands for. Like Bernie (and me) they think the ACA is an improvement, though fatally flawed, and want a single payer system similar to the ones being employed to provide medical care for citizens of every other industrialized western nation. They want the Congress to write and pass a law overturning Citizens United, in order to reduce the influence of the billionaire class on America's democratic processes. They want this country to seriously invest in a jobs program that not only funds and repairs America's infrastructure, but puts millions of skilled tradesmen back to work in high paying jobs. They want to limit the influence of K Street lobbyists on our elected representatives. They want a Pentagon budget that reflects our modern defense needs, and not one that is stuck preparing for intercontinental nuclear wars. And like me, they want us to invest in our schools, reduce our obscene prison population, and make higher education a national right instead of a lifelong financial burden.
The people who argue Bernie Sanders is just too liberal for today's America are basically settling. They're willing to cast a vote for someone who plays nice with Wall Street, sucks up to the corporate tit, and supports an ever growing Pentagon budget, simply because they don't think a man with their own ideals can be elected president.
And maybe they're right. Maybe Bernie's just too good to be true for most Americans. The Faux News talking heads would love nothing better than to chant "Socialist" for the next eighteen months, scaring the piss out of the sheeple.
But maybe, just maybe, there's a sea change of political movement taking place in this country today. Maybe it's because the Supreme Court handed down a couple of reasonable decisions in the past weeks, and that surge of surprising good news has some of us more optimistic than usual. Maybe it's time we noticed that the wind is blowing in a progressive direction, and instead of hunkering down in the galleys with oars in our hands we should run up the sails and go while the going's good.
I'm pulling for Bernie Sanders. Hope you are too. And if his campaign falters and Hillary is the eventual nominee, I'll sure as hell cast my vote for her next November. An unenthusiastic vote, but they all count the same.
Meanwhile, there's a guy out of Vermont who's got a lot of us smiling, and it might be nice if his fellow Democrats stopped bashing his chances and listened to what he's saying.