I imagine many people are yearning for Bernie Sanders right now—yearn for the Bern! If you were a Clinton supporter, admit it: she failed you. If you were a Trump supporter, you might have considered Sanders because his message about trade agreements hurting America’s working classes was similar to Trump’s, although his alternative had its genesis in his genuine concern for people and not Il Duce’s faux-concern just to get votes (HRC’s was false too, but she would have made a better president than Il Duce, but Sanders would have made a great president).
Sanders warned HRC about those battleground states—he knew the anger and frustration their citizens had with the status quo, a political establishment that continually failed them—but HRC didn’t listen. Apparently Il Duce and his goose-stepping minions did. Past history now. The question now is: how do progressives stand up to President Trump and move forward with a progressive agenda?
First, progressives have to realize that they weren’t well represented by establishment liberals in the Dem party. Part of that realization has to be that being liberal can mean not being progressive. HRC and her supporters liked the status quo—that’s not being progressive! HRC was also a one-percenter; so were many of her backers like George Soros, who claims to support progressive causes but should even be considered a faux-liberal. Most of Clinton’s rich backers have nothing in common with people in the struggling middle class and poor—they’re completely out of touch with our reality. Like Soros, they have no idea what it means to be a salaried worker dependent on a job (or jobs) to continue their daily struggle that often leaves them in retrograde motion. The income gap between one-percenters and the rest of us increases day by day, month by month, and year by year. Sanders understands that; the Clintons no longer do; and the Trumps, Bushes, and other GOP VIPs never will.
Most people in America’s middle class and poor share Sanders’s background—often hard-working immigrants or sons and daughters of immigrants, economically struggling, worried about rent hikes or excessive property taxes, concerned about the chance their children will receive the schooling they need, and afraid of falling through the cracks of government support systems when they are in dire need of help. In their desperation, fear, or anger, they might turn to personalities like Il Duce Trump who habitually makes promises he can’t and will never keep—false prophets are often successful in cases where people are desperate for change. There was nothing false about Sanders. So the second item progressives have to worry about is following false prophets, those snake-oil sales people who promise progressive change and never deliver. My guess is that most Dems in Congress fall into that category—promises are made to get elected and stay elected, but the Dems like the status quo as much as the GOP, as long as they’re the ones in power. They’re not progressives and don’t even deserve the liberal label.
Third, the true progressive must recognize that status quo should never be a goal! I can’t harp on that enough. Progressive means NEVER being satisfied! It means constant improvement of the human condition. We might achieve today’s goals, but perfection is never achieved. Human beings are complicated—there will always be new goals and new social battles to fight. Here are a few that Sanders forced establishment Dems to put into their 2016 platform: a $15/hour federal minimum wage, expansion of Social Security benefits, and the creation of millions of new jobs that will be needed to rebuild crumbling infrastructure; breaking up the too-big-to-fail banks and creating a 21st-century Glass-Steagall Act; closing loopholes that allow multinationals to avoid taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens; combatting climate change by putting a price on carbon and transforming the energy system away from fossil fuels; major criminal justice reform; and passage of comprehensive immigration reform. These will become part of the dust of HRC’s failed campaign.
Trump even liked some of these (infrastructure improvements, for example); others not so much. And many, like Glass-Steagall and an oppressive crime bill, were problems created on “liberal” Bill Clinton’s watch. Much of this progressive agenda isn’t specific to the U.S. either. One can summarize a lot of it in one phrase: bring capitalism, which is out of control in our country and worldwide, under control so that it helps, not hinders, the steps taken to improve our world and the human condition.
In the U.S., we can certainly add single-payer healthcare or at least Medicare for all (they’re not the same thing because Medicare is only partial coverage); comprehensive tax reform at all levels; reining in military spending; and developing a foreign policy independent of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” logic. With time, as problems are solved and new ones appear, a progressive agenda would improve the lives for everyone with the possible exception of one-percenters.
But back to Sanders. With Trump itching to destroy everything that is good about the U.S., Sanders and other true progressives are our last hope. Can we keep a true progressive agenda alive? Maybe not. Maybe we are doomed to continue our “patriotic duty” as taxpayers, consumers, and fodder for the maws of the run-away capitalism that enriches only one-percenters and multinationals and is championed by the GOP sycophants in Congress. But maybe things will just get bad and then get better? They certainly won’t if true progressives sit on their hands. Time will tell.
Silicon Slummin’…and Just Gettin’ By. The Silicon Valley hasn’t seen anyone like Mary Jo Melendez, ex-USN Master-at-Arms, and she’s not sure she wants to stay there either. Readers met the MECHs (Mechanically Enhanced Cybernetic Humans) in Muddlin’ Through. Russia and the U.S. still want them and think Mary Jo knows where they are. But they have to compete with Mary Jo’s stalker. Unlike the first book in the series, this one doesn’t travel around the world, but the dangers for her might be worse. This mystery/suspense/thriller novel is available in all ebook formats.
And so it goes…