Democracy is waking up

Bernie Sanders might not win, but his message and platform has been taking root

I don't believe Bernie Sanders can win against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic machine.

What's important to me is his slogan - “A Future to Believe in” - and his platform of:

• taking money out politics

• raising the minimum wage

• holding Wall Street accountable

• preventing catastrophic climate change

• supporting single-payer health care

• breaking up financial institutions

• moving from free to fair trade

• making infrastructure investments

• reforming education and the criminal justice system

We might have to wait until the next election cycle in 2020 when Bernie Sanders' message will be translated into a more-progressive Democratic party or possibly a third party.

In the meantime, he will be working hard at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on the progressive causes mentioned above.

Many of my liberal and progressive friends gave me a hard time when I shared my views on the current primary election. It wasn't that I didn't support Bernie - I voted for him, sent money, and made phone calls the day before Super Tuesday in Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts.

One fellow I called told me Bernie Sanders is a Trotskyite and Communist and hung up on me.

I wish I could have sat down with this voter and explained how President Roosevelt was considered a Communist when he brought in the New Deal and Social Security. Later on, the G.I. Bill and Medicare passed. All of these social/economic programs provided opportunities and support for the people of our country.

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I believe Bernie Sanders' success stems in part from two major historical events that have taken place over the last five years.

First, who could forget the infamous comment of Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who ran against Barack Obama in 2012 at a private fundraising event?

In his remarks - caught on video - he said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president [Obama] no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it[...]. And they will vote for this president no matter what[...]. These are people who pay no income tax and take no personal responsibility.”

Obviously, this comment caused a huge uproar and cost Romney much support. Romney's not-so-accidental words were an expression of his elitist and dismissive attitude toward a huge part of the population antithetical to Bernie's positions.

Second: Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is the name given to a protest movement that began on Sept. 17, 2011, in Zuccotti Park, in New York City's Wall Street financial district. Inspired by anti-austerity protests in Spain and Canada, it received global attention and spawned the Occupy movement against social and economic inequality worldwide.

The protesters were forced out of Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15, 2011. They turned their focus to occupying banks, corporate headquarters, board meetings, and college and university campuses.

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The main issues raised by Occupy Wall Street were social and economic inequality, greed, corruption, and the perceived undue influence of corporations on government-particularly from the financial services sector.

The OWS slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” refers to income inequality and wealth distribution in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1 percent and the rest of the population.

Occupy Wall Street eventually sizzled out.

But the progressive movement picked up again when Bernie Sanders came along with his platform for a political revolution - especially among young people.

“The times, they are a-changin.'” Democracy is waking up. It will take a great organizing effort to win the hearts and minds of the American people, and it's beginning to happen.

Get involved.

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