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When Barack Obama was elected President, many of us had Hope. The Hope was that he would listen to us, the People, and that there would be real Change. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

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Can Bernie Bring Back Hope?—Michael T. Hertz

During this past year, Bernie Sanders has been running for President, and in many of us Hope was aroused once more. We were sure that with Bernie in the White House, his political revolution would be a reality. At the present moment, it appears ever less likely that Bernie will make it to the White House. But we can dream, can't we? And we can think: what would it be like to have a leader who really responded to the people?

At the present moment, it appears ever less likely that Bernie will make it to the White House. But we can dream, can't we? And we can think: what would it be like to have a leader who really responded to the people?

One of the things that President Obama did to provide some connection with the People was to institute the “We the People” petitioning system. “We the People is a section of the whitehouse.gov website, launched September 22, 2011, for petitioning the current administration's policy experts. Petitions that meet a certain threshold of signatures are most of the time reviewed by officials in the Administration and official responses are then issued, but not always . . . . Criminal justice proceedings in the United States are not subject to White House website petitions. In fact, no real processes of the federal government are subject to these White House website petitions; they are a public relations device for the present administration which permits citizens to express themselves”

I think that Bernie Sanders as President would have taken that petitioning system a step further. Every time he launched something new into the political arena, I think he would say something like this: “Our political revolution needs [his proposal]. I can send legislation to the Congress, but that legislation will get nowhere unless you, the People, support it. So I have also filed a White House petition in support. And now is the time for you to make yourself heard, and support that petition if you want Congress to act.”

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In the past years, we have had a lot of experience with White House petitions. The Newtown massacre garnered 100,000 signatures for gun control in less than 24 hours. The petition to charge 47 senators under the Logan Act for undermining the Iran nuclear treaty got 320,000 signatures in a month. And these happened without the President supporting those petitions directly. If Bernie Sanders had been President and had supported those petitions, who can predict what would have happened?

On August 13, 2013, the Washington Post website published an article about 30 petitions that had been left unanswered for an average of 240 days despite each having met the signature goals. In other words, Barack Obama instituted the petitioning system but failed to follow through. I don't think Bernie would do that as President. Instead, he would respond affirmatively (or negatively) to petitions, either himself or through an official specifically charged with doing so.

In other words, he would take advantage of the fact that the People want a dialog, and he would give them one. He wouldn't necessarily do everything that the voter majority wanted him to do, but he would respond quickly and effectively. And that would keep the voters in his corner, even if many of them disagreed with his position.

michael-hertz

That's what a President or any leader should do. Respond to the voters, and make everyone understand that the voters count.

Michael Hertz