READER OPINION: Bernie Sanders should be president

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(BluePrints Photo)

BY SARAH DAVIDSON (’17)

Our ‘exceptional’ nation was built off of a dream for equality, a dream in which all were to be granted a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But if the founders of our country could see what it is today, they may be disappointed.

Bernie Sanders states, “As a nation, there are many issues we don’t talk about…we push them under the rug. Poverty is one of them.” Income and wealth inequality in our country is absolutely staggering. I realize this statistic is commonly used, but it’s dangerous if we become numb to the numbers: the richest 1% of the American population owns around 40% of the country’s wealth. The poorest 20% of American citizens combined don’t even register as holding 1% of the nation’s wealth, and 20% of America’s children are living in poverty. Bernie states, “We live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, but most Americans don’t know that because most of the wealth and income is going to the top one percent.”

To make matters worse, recent Stanford research shows that people in the US have less potential for upward class mobility than in most other developed countries. What does this mean? We’ve created a cycle of poverty in which many are trapped. Not only is there a cycle of poverty, there is a flow of wealth that stays pooled in the wealthiest handful of Americans. Political economist & former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich says, “The big problem is you have a vicious cycle of wealth and power in America that’s just gotten completely out of control and you’ve seen it in politics, as well.

We cherish the wonderful idea that each person is born with an equal opportunity to achieve their full potential. But that may no longer be true. Democracy itself has been obstructed because of the ability of the powerful, through 501C4s and Super-PACs, to spend “as much money as they wish” financing campaigns & bringing “their legislation” to Congress.

Hillary Clinton is not the most reliable candidate to address the issue of money in politics as she has (based on data from the New York Times) received more money from Super-PACs than any other candidate running—Democrat or Republican. Rather than accepting corruption as a norm, Bernie Sanders, for his whole career, has pushed for more economic equality through his demand to raise minimum wages, restore a 50s-style progressive tax system, and reform campaign financing. He has not only consistently fought for economic equality, but for equality for all Americans.

He is a supporter of free public higher education (such as they have in Europe). He was arrested for protesting segregation in the 60s. He has always been a strong supporter of legislation to end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the workplace, and has been very enthusiastic in increasing women’s rights and ending wage discrimination against women. Bernie Sanders has also worked towards maintaining a healthy, sustainable world.

Some people tend to think that addressing needs of the environment discourages a thriving economy, but how would economy ever exist without environment? Global climate change, biodiversity loss, and other environmental issues need to be addressed as serious threats to the security of our world both currently, and for future generations. Bernie is determined to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels, and incentivize renewable energy resources. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is one of the easiest ways to minimize the threat of terrorist attack, as well.

Because I know which candidate Daniel is advocating for, I will now strategically display the contrast between Bernie’s strong, competent voice for social and economic justice, with just a few racist, sexist and insensitive quotes from THE Donald Trump:

  • “It really doesn’t matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of a**.”
  • “They (Mexicans) are rapists… And some, I assume, are good.”
  • And what about gay marriage? He says it’s “not his thing.”
  • “It’s freezing and snowing in New York – we need global warming!”

Donald Trump is, at times, so insensitive and crude that it’s as if we’re watching an SNL parody of him. His boisterousness holds the attention of many Americans, but behind the clamor there remains a disappointing lack of political experience, an inflated ego, and a whole lot of fear. Building walls, creating separation, or instigating hostility and hatred towards the rest of the world is not our only option though.

Bernie Sanders is calling for a world built on mutual respect. He cares about our country and our planet, and wants to create something better for future generations. He is optimistic, energetic, compassionate, unswayed by corporate interests, globally competent,and boldly stands against injustice. This is why, as an American and as a member of our global community, I support Bernie Sanders.