Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Why I am Voting for Bernie Sanders Today

Hola mi Gente,
I don’t vote. Period. I have my reasons. For one, I refuse to indulge a process that has been rigged for almost as long as elections have been going on. I also believe both parties are like to two dogs shackled to the same stake -- the stake being capitalism.

But today I am making an exception and casting a vote for Bernie Sanders and here’s why…

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La Bandera at a South Bronx Sanders Rally

Why I am Voting for Bernie Sanders

I’m not voting against someone, I’m choosing to vote for someone.
 -- Rosario Dawson, actor and activist

There are two incidents that sand out for me when I think of casting my vote today in the democratic primary of New York. One was when Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists at a Sanders rally bum-rushed the stage and took the microphone from Sanders in order to air their grievances. Many white Sanders supporters at the time were visibly upset and many more took to social media to parade their racism. But what really got my attention was Sanders’ willingness to engage the BLM movement and how he not only incorporated the movement’s platform into his own, but also hired some BLM activists to work on his campaign.

The second incident was when, during a debate in Brooklyn, Sanders refused to back down from his criticism of Israeli apartheid in Palestine. Right then, I turned to my friend and said, “Bernie just blew New York.” No other politician in my memory has ever had the cojones to stand up and speak truth to power when it comes to the Israel/ Palestine quagmire and live to tell the story.

Both these incidents highlight for me what I believe is Sanders greatest asset: his honesty. Sanders is a politician who actually believes what he preaches and has been a consistent voice for the past 35 years. Unlike his opponent, Hillary Clinton, Sanders has been on the right side of history from his time doing civil rights work to voting against the Iraq War, to his opposition to rule by the financial elites -- the 1%.

I am voting for Bernie Sanders today because I am not a super-predator, nor are the children from my community. Sanders may have voted for the Clinton crime bill, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. Sanders voted for the crime bill, largely because it included some provisions that he strongly approved of, such as the Violence Against Women Act and a 10-year assault weapons ban. 

I am voting for Bernie Sanders because he is the only candidate that has a coherent and well thought-ot economic plan to help Puerto Rico out of its financial crisis. 

But in other instances, Sanders voted against tough-on-crime measures. He voted against the 1991 crime bill. He voted against banning Pell grants (for college) for people who are incarcerated. He voted to amend the 1994 crime law to ban the federal death penalty. And he voted against the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which stripped defendants and incarcerated persons of their ability to contest court rulings -- even when the rulings may be unconstitutional.

Historically his opponent, Hillary Clinton, has been much tougher and more punitive on crime. Clinton also talked up the 1994 crime law before it passed and it wasn't until last year that she acknowledged that the 1994 crime law went too far. As recently as 2008, Clinton's campaign aides played the “soft on crime” card against then–presidential candidate Barack Obama by saying he's too liberal and out of touch for opposing mandatory minimum sentences. She also, until very recently, continued to receive funding from the private prison industry.

I am voting for Bernie Sanders today because the evidence for the efficacy of single payer health has been proven again and again. That establishment pundits and politicians have tried to discredit Sanders’ health plan, the consensus of experts in the field say otherwise. Sanders’ single payer plan will save billions and, more importantly, countless lives.

I am voting for Bernie Sanders today because my personal experiences and research has shown me that quality education is the very practice of freedom. Sanders has a plan that shifts economic priorities from eternal war to building up our society. The fact is that the math is clear: free 4-year college for every American would only cost taxpayers 70 cents a day.

I could go on and on: Sanders’ economic plan, vetted by none other than distinguished economist who’s a Clinton Supporter, showed that Sander’s Keynesian approach would result in economic growth that hasn’t been seen in over 50 years. Of course, this economist was attacked, but no credible economist has run the numbers and published a finding that was contrary to Sanders’ claims. This who have, have either fudged the numbers or omitted crucial parts of his economic plan.

But what bothers me the most is this notion that we progressives must relinquish our principles. The Clintons and their supporters consistently demonstrate contempt for people who would build a movement. The Clinton campaign is basically a “No we can’t!” campaign. We can’t demand fairness or healthcare as a universal right. We can’t demand an economy that works for all of us rather than the richest 1%. We can’t. We can’t. We can’t. 

Well, I’m saying that not only can we, we must demand fairness and equality or we will be doomed. As it is, people who study such things are saying the US is no longer a democracy but an oligarchy. I refuse to submit to that form of nihilism. How long will we continue to be content for voting for the evil of two lessers?

I say we stop now and that’s why I am voting for Sanders today.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

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