Bernie Flaws

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I am always talking about what imperfect beings people are. If you’re a believer then it goes right back to those two original forebears of ours, Adam and Eve. They could have left us full of blissful ignorance and innocence but they were weak and so we have dual natures. Each one of us holds the paradoxes within us, in differing proportions, because of so many variables like our nurture in childhood, the social circumstances into which we are born, the cultural context that surrounds us during our relatively short lives.

We hold strengths and at the same time weaknesses, we are good and we are bad, we have talents and things that we seem to have little skill for, we are both stable and unstable at times, happy and depressed, healthy and unhealthy, brilliant and dumb all mixed in an infinite array that makes each one of us unique in spite of our similarities. If you are not a believer it is almost enough to make you believe that the Christian origin story holds more than a kernel of truth. Or we are just made this way?

What we also know to be true is that all of our actions, our inventions, our discoveries, and our endeavors hold the same human paradoxes within them; that they can be used for good or for evil; that they can make our lives worse or better. We know that a flawed human can twist anything to evil purposes or a human with better motives or character can act from strength and get positive results from the same event, invention, idea or strategy. Nuclear energy is probably our clearest example of this – used benignly it can provide power to run the devices that make our lives more comfortable – used as a weapon it can wipe out cities.

We get this stuff on a cosmic level, but we also understand that these same paradoxes operate in our daily lives. So I accept and perhaps you do also that Hillary Clinton is both experienced and flawed. I accept that she made a mistake choosing a private server if only because it gave her many enemies an opening to argue that she was either planning to have a way to hide information or that she is capable of making bad choices, both things we don’t really look for in a person running for President of the United States. However, all Presidents make mistakes given the complex issues they deal with minute to minute. Sometimes we get a leader who seems to make brilliant decisions but we usually don’t know that until we get some historical perspective on their legacy. And from the distance offered by time we are able to see that mistakes were also made.

However it seems that people have difficulty seeing the flaws that Bernie Sanders might have. His message is so consistent and has been for so many years that he seems steady and dedicated. Recent events reveal that Bernie Sanders is starting to show the ways in which his very strengths might also be his weaknesses. Bernie is showing himself to be a bit compulsive these days. He does not seem to be terribly flexible.

He cannot seem to show us the practical details that will allow him to effectively change things in Washington and in America. How does he plan to win new rights for workers? How does he plan to rein in Wall Street without tanking our already hobbled economy? How will he find the money for strengthening benefits? Can he raise the taxes on the wealthy? In almost every area we see the need to change the way wealth moves in America and the need for fairness to equalize privilege. It makes sense to us but Bernie Sanders has not really spelled out how he intends to get us there. So his message may be all to the good, but his vagueness and the way his specifics are sort of stored in the “cloud” and inaccessible may not be all to the good.

And again I suggest that Bernie Sanders is almost coming off a bit obsessive-compulsive lately. He said he would have a fifty state strategy, which is fine, but he doesn’t seem inclined or able to make adjustments for the good of the Democratic Party. I suppose if you are staging a Revolution you need to be a revolutionary, not someone who compromises. But is Bernie’s defensiveness and his meanness actually resulting from an inability to be flexible, to have a certain degree of political nimbleness? He has remained true to socialist principles for so many decades while America wanted nothing to do with socialism.

Personally, I do not believe that socialism is necessary in a democracy because government is already of the people, by the people, and for the people. Where I do agree with Bernie is when he recounts how far away we are from a true democracy. It is not socialism I fight for, it is democracy. In a democracy we don’t need socialism because we are the people and we take care of all the people. But if our democracy is becoming or has already become an oligarchy then Mr. Sanders is right in arguing that the people (all the people) need to take back their government and that this will probably mean making money talk less and every vote count more. However we must accept that if rich folks take their money out of government, which they have shown a willingness to do, there may be fewer things our government can do for ‘we the people’.

But what really bothers me is how Bernie Sanders has seemed more and more like a curmudgeon lately, so intent on his own business that he barely notices what is going on around him. He does not admonish Donald Trump in any sustained way for his outrageous pronouncements and astonishingly unevolved policies. He does not raise money for down-party candidates (except that he did find three worthy souls). He fights with Democratic Party leaders and threatens to bring revolution to the Democratic Convention. He has a right to do these things but they are not done in a manner that suggests strength and composure. They are done with old man bitterness and complaints about bad rules and stacked decks. Instead of sounding like an eventual winner, he just sounds like a sore loser. Bernie Sanders does have flaws and lately he is showing them to us almost every day. If you’re planning to vote for him because you think he is Mr. Wonderful, then I guess you won’t have noticed that he is just looking like Mr. Ticked Off.

Republicans Don’t Understand Democracy (On Purpose)

 
 
Either the GOP is confused about Democracy or they are
trying to overthrow it. You cannot have Socialism in a Democracy, at least in a
functioning Democracy.  What you have may
look a lot like Socialism but, by definition, it isn’t.

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th
edition) describes socialism as “any of various economic and political theories
advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means
of production and distribution of goods” although the third definition does
seem to describe what our current laws which favor the wealthy have wrought in
America “a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism
and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay
according to work done.

The same dictionary describes Democracy as “a government in
which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly
or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically
held elections.

Since Socialism combines a governmental system and an
economic system it is quite different from our Democracy. Our Democracy only
describes our government; it does not specify that we must do business as
Capitalists, but Capitalism and Democracy are usually a good fit, except when
Capitalism gets too much attitude and insists on being totally unregulated or
unfettered. The only governmental systems which fit well with unfettered Capitalism
are Ancarchy, or possible the one we are headed towards, Oligarchy. 

In a Democracy the people’s representatives set the tax
rates and the people, through their representatives, decide how that money will
be spent, what programs will be administered on behalf of the people by the
Federal government.  It is true that governments
can get bloated and kludgy and when the people change their minds about how
they wish to spend their money it can prove difficult to set that ship of state
on a new course.  It is true that some
Americans have been upset because they believe they are supporting “takers” who
are pretending to be needy so that they won’t have to work. It is true that
there have been pundits in the media who have used this malaise to rile up
their listeners and exaggerate the extent of this social cheating.  However, I do not, I just cannot, believe and
accept that all of these Americans who dutifully pay their taxes want to end
all of the social programs that prop up the people who are truly needy. These
programs keep the bottom layers of our society out of the grinding sort of
poverty that could suck all of America down and make it quite an unpleasant
place to live (which given our current economic inequalities is already
happening).

The more cuts Republicans force on unfortunate Americans
(cutting food stamps, cutting veteran’s pensions, cutting unemployment extensions,
the cuts of the Sequester) the easier it is to see what America will be like
without any social safety net. All of this has nothing to do with Socialism
unless we the people are no longer a force in our own governance, which, with
the Conservative think tanks and wealthy power brokers like the Koch brothers
using their money as a cudgel to have their way with the American government,
seems more than likely.  If we the people
no longer have a real say in our own governance then it does become true that
we are giving money to a Federal government that will totally make its own
decisions about how our money will be spent. If anyone is likely to lead
America into a kind of Socialism, it is the Republicans, except they don’t want
anything in Washington but a figurehead government; they want the states to
govern themselves, except for foreign affairs and concerns of the military.

So this morning when I watched a sad interview that pitted Senator
Bernie Sanders against Senator Michele Bachmann it brought up this whole train
of thought which I am treating you to (boring you with) right now.  Michele Bachmann beat Bernie Sanders to a
pulp, poor man, using only Republican talking points, and their very pedestrian
propaganda techniques (like name calling – accusing the Democrats and their
allies of socialism, like repetition – Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, and
like steamrolling or talking over everything poor Bernie had to say which was
completely unnerving).  And all the time
she was beating up poor Bernie, she had that look on her face, that Rapture
look. She is absolutely certain that her vicinity to the Rapture has made her
omniscient. It is a look that makes you believe that either you really want
what she is having, or that she is really out there – do, do, dew-dew. People
who are certain of their omniscience are definitely unsettling and I usually
like to give them a wide berth. She won the argument, but only through dubious
strategies and she still did not convince me that she is right or that the
Republicans are right. They are just name-callers and bulldozers who are trying
to push most Americans into a giant hole where they can ignore us and get on
with plundering America.

How much power does calling Democrats out as Socialists
actually have to get people to join the Republicans? Are the people falling for
this?  Wish this was an interactive blog
so I could take a poll.
 
Here’s a link to the youtube video:
 

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

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