Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Time is on Our Side


You can build a new car from scratch or refurbish an old one. Sometimes refurbishment, if properly done, will get you there faster. It saves time not to have to retool when an old classic can be improved and brought up to date. After all, when it worked, it performed better than anything before or since.
Remember, we used to have a thriving middle class brought to us by the "New Deal Democrats."

No one can know with certainty the fastest route to change our country.  The Sanders campaign came on like gangbusters exceeding the expectations of nearly everybody, including the candidate himself.

The movement spread like a brush fire and might yet go all the way in spite of fraud, blockage, voter suppression, last minute rule changes, registration roll purging, and the DNC collusion with the corporate media to bury the exciting campaign/ political revolution with little to no coverage.  This occurred when Sanders was outdrawing all other candidates combined and has continued to this very day.   As Gil Scott-Heron said, "The Revolution will not be televised."

We are already moving much faster than expected and we should be able to accelerate the process.

I attempt to explain Bernie's position as stated by him as to why he personally chooses not to run as a third party candidate.   This was disappointing to me at first:  I want instant gratification also.  It would behoove us to listen one more time to his voice of reason and logic and then come to our conclusions.

Bernie Sanders is running for President as a Democrat.  He has pledged not to run as a third party or Independent candidate if he is not the nominee and I believe he means business.   Bernie understands that you can oppose Trump without supporting Clinton.  He is committed to defeating the Republican buffoon and still endorses himself for the nomination.

Among his many goals has been to reform the Democratic Party, not necessarily to start a new party. Bernie harkens back to the FDR new deal democrats who initiated so many social programs, radical and controversial in their time.

His platform is an updated modern version of Franklin Roosevelt's 1944 Economic Bill of Rights adding the urgency of addressing climate change.  He is not one of the corporate Democrats who are culpable for much of the income inequality we are disgracefully enduring.

For instance, Bernie supports the reinstatement of Glass Steagall, a 1934 banking law restricting the activities of commercial banks to lending.  The purpose was to protect depositors from risky activities engaged by investment banks.  Glass Steagall was repealed in 1999 by Democrat Bill Clinton which made the bankers healthy wealthy and unwise.  Big banks’ irresponsible, unregulated, illegal and fraudulent derivative mortgage hocus pocus drove us to the Great Recession of 2007.  Millions lost their homes and millions more lost their jobs and retirement funds.  Though there has been a remarkable recovery from the depths of near global economic collapse, wages are down, jobs are poor, benefits often absent, and a sluggish economy seems to drag on forever.  People are not counted in the employment figures because they have given up and are neither working nor collecting unemployment.  Poverty grows and homelessness rises.

Democrats should be advancing bold programs to address these conditions as did FDR.  Unfortunately corporate “New Democrats,” one of whom is running for the Democratic nomination, have contributed in a major way to this wretched misery.  Corporate lobbied trade deals sent millions of decent manufacturing jobs to China and other slave labor wage sh’t holes around the world.  The media and Big Pharma were deregulated allowing the weasels to guard the chicken coop.  They also bear responsibility for accelerating the disgraceful rate of incarceration which makes us the most locked up country in the world.  Just think about that.

Now the Republicans are asking us to vote for the unstable carnival barker racist Donald Trump.  The sad fact that the likes of that would be demagogue could be the Republican candidate for President shows how far this unholy Democrat/ Republican de facto one party system has plunged us.

Today’s Democrats, since 1992 anyway, have become subservient to the corporations like one more group of Republicans.  They have been called by self important witty pundits “Republican Lite.”  They have become a center/ right party similar to the Republicans of old, while the Republicans have devolved to knuckle dragging tea party cheapskate bigots who offer forth the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Our current alleged two party system is a ruse between two groups of politicians supporting different  (and often the same) consortia of wealthy corporate special interests.  They are compensated lavishly by lobbyists and their influence is bought by generous campaign contributions.  Companies spend billions working their financial magic on Democrats and Republican office holders.  Congressional service makes you rich.

So what are the rest of us to do?  Bernie Sanders has some ideas which interested millions, attracted massive crowds, offered hope and a realistic path to achieve great social goals.  He opposes fracking and stresses the urgency of addressing climate change.  Moreover, he famously financed his campaign exclusively on the millions of contributions from supporters averaging 27 bucks.  The campaign out raised its opponent many times and accepted no support from corporations or, with one exception, PAC’s (It is true that a PAC organized by the nurses union spent $1,700,000 for Bernie. The Sanders campaign did not solicit the help nor could it legally prevent the PAC from raising or spending on his behalf.)  Calling Bernie Sanders an elitist is like calling Donald Trump a humble servant of the people.  We are proving that a grass roots campaign can be competitive financially. That is vital information.  A majority of people under the age of 45 are drawn to the political revolution espoused by the Vermont Social Democrat.  That age demographic is as significant as our financial clout.

Bernie is concerned that a third party would split the Democrats and insure a Republican win.  He knows that third parties seldom if ever win elections.  He wants to salvage the Democratic Party.  His way will take time, hard work and patience.  It is probably the most solid and direct path to lasting change.  Bernie wants to transform the Democrats and bring them back to their roots.

As Bernie knows, time is on our side.  The “New Democrats” will fade away (and get out of the way) through attrition.  As the overwhelming majority that supports the progressive movement are 45 years and younger, that generation will naturally inherit the country and its political parties.  The Neo-Liberals will be in retirement homes, golf courses, and the cemetery.  Of course some will defect to the Republicans where they are sure to fit in comfortably.   Demographics will take care of the aging Neo-Liberals.  They will be overwhelmed by our plurality and cause.

The political revolution will be poised to bring about substantive long overdue relief.  We can reform a major political party.  Democrats should be working to care for the needs of the people, reenact regulations designed to protect us from the greedy and unscrupulous, legislate single payer health insurance for everyone, promote good paying jobs, repair the infrastructure, and restore opportunity. Maybe the reformed Democratic Party will refrain from crazy regime changing “democracy building” military adventurism thus saving lives and also fortunes better spent at home. 

The billionaire corporations will have to find a way to make it without help from Democrats.
I think that is what Bernie is up to.   We need Bernie in the White House without a doubt and we also need progressives elected at every level:  local, state and national.  This process can continue in 2016, accelerate in 2018, and take off sometime sooner than later.  I can see it happening in a decade or less.

Clearly the Republicans and the Democrats are self-destructing.  That is an indisputable fact and is backed up be declining membership and, significantly, the loathsome candidates they are attempting to run.  Republicans are reluctantly owning the hateful unstable reality TV host while the Democratic machine promotes the most deceitful, undependable, self-serving candidate since Richard Nixon.  Is this the best we have to offer?

The Republicans have gone to such an extreme, rebuilding the Party, if possible, will be daunting and could drag on for many election cycles.  They have no driving force except for denial and obstructionism.  That will not take anyone very far.

The Sanders Democratic campaign this year has awakened the sleeping giant of social justice and made people graphically aware of the obscene income and wealth gap in our affluent nation.  Unfortunately, the affluent stash their money in tax havens, create no jobs in the United States, under pay or pay nothing at all in taxes, and are hogging all the benefits of this country for themselves while millions starve and suffer.  The Democrats have a movement upon which to build the foundation of reform.  We are poised and our people are ready to undertake this urgent task.

With patience and diligence we have to keep the pressure on and gain more and more political offices.  We have to set the highest standard for honesty and dedication to helping people.  We must value quality of life and demonstrate we are on the level and can be trusted.

Our path is clear and there has never been a better time.  We must continue to work and donate to elect Bernie to the Presidency.   It would be productive if we are able one way or another to affect major reform this time without the dismal misery of depression or war.

Listen to Senator and candidate Sanders.  There is indeed a method to his Bern!

                                    Gil Scott-Heron