Here’s What I Do Like About Bernie Sanders
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I have devoted numerous house to criticizing Bernie Sanders (and, particularly, dangerous arguments made on his behalf). I will in all probability proceed to take action, partly as a result of I have disagreements along with his worldview, and primarily as a result of I suppose the accessible proof says his nomination would improve President Trump’s odds of reelection. But we must be cognizant of the distorting impact a major can have on our perspective. The flaws of candidates we oppose really feel extra irritating over time, even when they haven’t really grown, whereas their virtues appear to recede. As an train in sustaining perspective, I’m devoting a column to the virtues of Bernie Sanders.
Sanders is motivated by an ideological imaginative and prescient that’s essentially humane. For all his assaults on the “millionaires and billionaires,” the one true visceral rage he reveals is at poverty within the midst of one of many world’s wealthiest societies. His anger on the inaccessibility of well being care, housing, and primary wants for all Americans is the by line of his profession, by all of its idiosyncratic turns.
Sanders is usually pragmatic about how he advances this objective, and has spent many years working with individuals who don’t share his values with a purpose to make incremental advances. He just isn’t motivated by wealth. (While Sanders has some huge cash, he collected it by saving what he earned; like his Larry David caricature, he doesn’t get pleasure from creature comforts.) His ardour to carry the unlucky is pure and admirable.
He additionally seems to be an honest human being. While gruff, he has an endearing allure. While his help base is disproportionately attracted to private abuse, Sanders himself treats his adversaries as human beings. He is the attention of the hurricane, a middle of private heat surrounded by a swirl of dehumanizing rage. This is to not absolve him of duty for the political tradition that surrounds him, solely to notice that his private decency goes a minimum of some technique to offset the indecency round him.
Finally, and most significantly, Sanders just isn’t an authoritarian. Far from it: He is a passionate small-d democrat. This truth has been distorted by conservatives, who consider that Sanders’s socialist economics alongside along with his noninterventionist overseas coverage — which has previously introduced him uncomfortably near communist governments abroad — add as much as some type of left-wing revolutionary program.
I have regularly criticized intolerant tendencies on the left. There is a phase of progressive activism that seeks to close down opposing views quite than prevail by cause. But Sanders is emphatically not an adherent of that political mode. He is a dedicated political liberal within the mould of the outdated Free Speech Movement from the 1960s. When some leftists tried to close down a campus speech by the risible Ann Coulter final 12 months, Sanders vocally denounced their marketing campaign. Here he’s, sounding like John Stuart Mill:
“To me, it’s an indication of mental weak spot. If you may’t ask Ann Coulter in a well mannered method questions which expose the weak spot of her arguments, if all you are able to do is boo, or shut her down, or forestall her from coming, what does that inform the world?
“What are you afraid of ― her concepts? Ask her the exhausting questions,” he concluded. “Confront her intellectually. Booing people down, or intimidating people, or shutting down events, I don’t think that that works in any way.”
I don’t contemplate Sanders’s obsession with a “political revolution” real looking, however it’s simply that — a political revolution, not a violent one. And because of this I would have zero qualms about voting for him ought to he win the nomination. He can be the one candidate who might cease a real aspiring authoritarian. As a lot as I hope he doesn’t get the nomination, my vote for him in November can be automated.
There is nothing Sanders would wish to do to earn my vote towards Donald Trump, and nothing he might do to lose it. All I can hope is that everyone else who opposes Trump and his warfare on democracy and the rule of regulation feels the identical about each different candidate.