I feel weird using words like values and morals, because those are words that have been co-opted by people who wear them as shrouds to justify terrible things like bigotry and greed. I'd like to take those words back from them and use them to describe Bernie Sanders, because his moral compass and sense of values for all people inspire me.
He seems to always be on the right side of history, and it takes a very brave and empathetic and visionary person to do that.
Not only was Bernie fighting for civil rights in the '60s, he was also fighting for gay rights in the '80s. He was against the Iraq War, against the deregulation of Wall Street that led to the 2008 collapse, and, most important, against the breakup of Destiny's Child. (That last one I may have made up.)
Hillary was my choice before Bernie came along. But she takes money from super PACs, as most candidates do, as Obama did before her. I accepted it as a necessary evil. As the way it was. If all the ball players are taking steroids, then you have to take steroids too in order to compete. That's the behavior the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision — which allowed for corporations and unions to pump endless money into political campaigns — has encouraged. It's legalized corruption.
Then Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont, entered the race. Not only is he not for sale, this guy is running on reversing Citizens United, breaking up the banks, and holding the billionaire class accountable for paying their fair share of taxes. (Their influence over politicians usually buys them loopholes to get out of that stuff. They've been getting quite fat off that privilege.)
Where the other candidates are receiving gigantic sums of money from billionaires in an unspoken, but inevitable, exchange for favors and influence over policy, Bernie isn't for sale.
Where the Koch brothers have been pouring hundreds of millions into propping up Republican candidates, by the end of February, Bernie had raised more than $137 million from 4.7 million different sources in total. His small-dollar donors — aka regular people — gave him more than $21 million last month, and their donations averaged about $27.
Not from the Koch bros, not from Goldman Sachs, not from Monsanto. Just from PEOPLE.
Bernie has an effective plan to accomplish free college and universal health care for every American. He feels these should be rights, not privileges reserved only for the rich. These rights are the norm elsewhere in the world. Almost all developed nations besides the U.S. have universal health care. Universities in some European countries have no tuition at all while Americans rack up student-loan debt in the six figures.
He also believes no American should work a full 40-hour week and still live below the poverty line. Bernie intends to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Not only can we "afford" this, but more money in people's pockets means more spending, so everyone wins.
Look, I have a friend named Tall Jon (he's really tall) who I always go to when I'm not sure what the right thing to do is. Tall Jon has a compass like that. I see that compass in Bernie. He seems to care solely about what is right. What is best for people. And PEOPLE are what America is made of. So it works out great.
He says what he means and he means what he says and he is not for sale. Ya can't buy him, and sweet Jesus, I just think that's so neat.