Bernie Makes Hay While the Sun Shines

No one knows where this unusual election cycle will take us, but Bernie Sanders, candidate for president, has been gaining in the polls even as he was flattered with a pot shot by the front runner

Never one to bask in what might prove temporary glory, Bernie is wasting no time in getting the important messages out there while he commands the spotlight as Hilary Clinton’s chief competitor for the Democratic nomination.  

Today, that message focussed on campaign funding in the wake of Citizens United, agreeing with former president Jimmy Carter who has called it

“unlimited political bribery…a complete subversion of our political system, as a payoff to major contributors who want, and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election is over.”

Sanders has promised that, when Congress reconvenes in September, he will introduce legislation that would create a system of public funding for election campaigns so that the focus of such campaigns can return to issues and policies rather than the distortions that result from competition for special interest dollars.

Just one family, the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, plan to invest some of their fossil-fuel fortune and, along with other wealthy donors, bankroll a $900 million political operation this election cycle. That’s more than either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party will each spend on the 2016 campaigns, Sanders noted.

Since Koch money has bought and paid for much of our sitting Congress, the measure is unlikely to pass this time; but sooner or later, American voters will throw off the yoke of corporate agenda control and demand meaningful change with no little urgency.  

We’d better hope it will be sooner because the longer it is postponed the more dreadful the potential consequences for civil society.

The argument has to be made that public funding of elections will more than pay for itself in taxpayer savings, when elections become uncoupled from boondoggle projects and subsidies for things like the sugar and corn industries.  

Economy driving innovation will soar when legislators shake off the grip of the powerful fossil fuel lobby and end preferential treatment of the nuclear energy industry.

With such an unencumbered Congress, infrastructure projects that will benefit the entire country and employ millions will replace the few projects that currently get funded (even over-funded) only because special interests are pulling the strings.

It’s got to happen before very long if this nation is going to survive well into the twenty-first century without being torn apart by the powerful pull of grave social inequities.

Revolution is only glorious in hindsight when the flag wavers and reenactors get hold of it.  

I understand that it is far less pleasant to live through.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

4 thoughts on “Bernie Makes Hay While the Sun Shines

  1. How far out of balance is the U.S.?

    For years talking about this was almost exclusively Bernie’s turf. Now, it’s so bad the Washington Post is casually using the term oligarchy to describe what they call a “preeminent clan of tycoons”.

    This class of wealthy patrons, some with new fortunes and others of long-standing, is throwing money into campaigns, not of all which will end happily. But the preeminence of this clan of tycoons so early in the season is not a good sign.

    But what does

    “So early in the season”


    Maybe oligarchy is acceptable and all okey-doke in the proper season? Like fishing.

  2. There is something to be said for Hillary’s pot-shot.  If Bernie doesn’t ‘expand’ his ‘platform’ he will be open to more pot-shots like this.  Economic Justice at home does not solve Racism.  Nor Sexual harassment, abuse of the elderly and disabled, and the mentally handicapped.  Nor does it solve the American view that we should have ‘spheres of influence’ in South America, Africa, and Asia open to our form of ‘barrel of the gun’ democracy and environmental and economic plunder.

    Bernie needs more ‘juice’ in his campaign.  He has to ‘let go’ and start connecting with blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, and WOMEN.  And the ‘regular working stiff’.

    One thing he could do to make his points about economic disparity seem less ‘socialistic’ (but they will always call him a Socialist) is do a ‘shooting the shit’ type of town meeting where he says things like:  “Boy, my fuel bill last winter really sucked, and I can afford it.  But I don’t like it that these oil barons can raise prices and use my money to pollute the environment and poison our kids, speed up Global Warming, which is fucking up the tourist economy all over America–I know, I’m from Vermont–and then send our jobs and money to China.  And you folks here who can’t afford it, if I were you I’d be so pissed now about them cutting fuel assistance that I’d want to kick my dog, if I had one I could afford to feed.”  And:  “Your kids should be going to college so they can learn how to change the world.  But you folks have to be millionaires or go into heavy debt just to get your kids a quality education.  These bastards sucking all the money up don’t want your kids to be educated.  They’re afraid of that.”  And: “Did you folks ever sit down over coffee in the morning at your favorite breakfast place, or over drinks at your favorite bar, and talk about maybe putting some of these Rich and Corporate bastards on trial for TREASON.  After-all, isn’t it TREASON to undermine the economy and security of THE REPUBLIC?”  

    Stuff like that.  And humor.  If his staff goes the safe ‘politically correct’ way, well…I liked Ralph Nader, but sometimes he was very BOR-RING.  Think about it.

    Oh–And I’m waiting for Donald Trump to ask about Bernie’s BIRTH CERTIFICATE.  He was born in Poland, right?  Or was that Trump?

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