I like Bernie Sanders. Of the five major candidates still running for president here in the United States, he is clearly the second best candidate. The best candidate (by far) is Hillary Clinton.
Sanders’ candidacy is important. It is historically important in that it will be remembered as a turning point in American history. It may be a minor turning point, I’m not sure, but it will be seen as important. Not only is Sander making Hillary a better candidate for the general campaign, he has also made the word “socialist” acceptable in public conversation.
We are, slowly but it seems to be occurring, facing up to what kind of society the United States is. Two forces are teaming up to push us to look at ourselves and ask what we really are. The first force is the implosion of the national Republican Party. This is not an across the nation implosion because Republicans are doing pretty good locally, but it is enough to get people to ask questions. Who knows, maybe the national Republican implosion will lead to a local one too.
The other force is Bernie Sanders. By not being embarrassed about the term “socialist” he too is getting people, even those who do not support him, to ask questions. And although the United States is far, far (this is a good thing) from ever becoming a true anti-capitalistic, 1950s, socialist state, Bernie has made it okay to talk about the ways socialist ideas are helpful and good. Thank you Bernie!
Citizens of the United States desperately need to examine what we believe and why we believe it. Does what we believe make our lives better? The 2016 presidential campaign can start a long re-examination of what we should be as a nation and society. It would not be the first time we have thought about who we are. The obvious first time was the birth of our nation, then the great expansion westward, then came the Civil War, then the Great Depression, and finally Reagan. In the past one hundred years we have tried liberalism, and we have tried conservatism, now we need to pick between them.
I suggest we do a little of each. Republican conservatives are right that capitalism is by far the best economic system. They are wrong, though, to believe that capitalism works best when left alone. Conservatives are right when they wave the banner of freedom, they are wrong to suggest that freedom requires fewer regulations, less taxes, and a smaller government. They are right to suggest that the individual and individual rights are important, they are wrong, however, to suggest that the individual comes first, before the society.
The important question that needs to be answered with this re-examination is what the ultimate goal is. In a sentence or two, what is the theme of our society? When we design our society by making laws and rules, what do we want those laws and rules to say about us? What are we trying to do with our society? Who are we?
Do we want to create a society where only the smartest and most business savvy or political savvy thrive? Do we want a society where only the best are rewarded and the rest have to scramble for crumbs? Do we want a society where you must have a college education with good grades to make a decent living?
People should be rewarded when they work hard and produce. That does not mean they should get 99% or all the rewards. If someone gives you money that you need to start a business, you may do the work, but they still get half the profits. It similar to an entrepreneur, they may create the business and do the work, but it was society that allowed them to do it. The entrepreneur deserves much of the profit, but society deserves a share too.
We need a society that benefits everyone.
What am I trying to do in this campaign is to tell Americans what many of them don’t know: that the benefits for working people are a lot, lot stronger in many other countries around the world. – Bernie Sanders