There’s Something about Bernie! (Sanders, that is.)
Now don’t get me wrong. I do not support Bernie Sanders’ bid to become the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Far from it. In fact, I strongly disagree with almost everything he espouses regarding economic policy.
I believe that Bernie’s policies, if put into practice, would do serious damage to the fabric of the American economy. The entrepreneurial spirit that is the bedrock of American economic success would be smothered. And so would the appeal of this country as a melting pot, attracting the best, the brightest and the most ingenious from around the globe. Gone would be the opportunity to start with little or nothing and be able, through dint of hard work and creativity, to achieve a life’s dream.
But I must admit that I find Bernie Sanders refreshing.
That’s because Bernie doesn’t have the proverbial finger in the air to see which way the political wind is blowing. There’s no sense that his minions (if he has minions!) are poring over poll data to detect trends that would be advantageous to embrace.
What you see with Bernie is what you get, and it’s been that way for more than forty years. His principals, his political philosophy, his rhetoric have changed little since the days of protest in the 1960s.
One might argue that therein lies a problem — the fact that part of the process of maturing in life is the ability to change one’s point of view and to recalibrate the naïve assertions of one’s youth. How many radicals of the 1960s are today’s millionaires (and maybe even billionaires)? For myself, I fully admit to having altered my point of view on many issues — both economic and social — over the last forty years.
But not Bernie. He’s been a self-proclaimed bedrock socialist since he had unkempt black hair and carried his young son to a rally in the early 1970s. Today all that’s changed is the color of the unkempt hair. Have you noticed how many young people attend his rallies and speeches? His appeal is not dimmed by the fact that he could be grandfather to them all. Press reports indicate that no Presidential candidate in this season has had as many attendees.
Crowds demonstrate excitement, but polls indicate the breadth of appeal. In, of all places, conservative New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders (as of this morning) is the leading presidential candidate. Maybe it’s just part of the friendly neighbor effect, but in truth there aren’t two more politically diverse states than the Yankee neighbors of Vermont and New Hampshire.
I think Bernie’s appeal over his Democratic opponents derives from his candor, the evidence of his conviction in his long-held beliefs and his total disregard for what the establishment thinks of him.
He’s David — the one without the heft of money and connections. He’s facing Goliath — the powerful, the globally renowned, with armies of sophisticated fundraisers and business people to ensure the necessary conclusion.
We know the outcome of that Biblical story. Wouldn’t it be fun to see it happen again.