After watching us publish article after article over recent months extolling the virtues of the Bernie Sanders campaign and marveling at his effectiveness as a campaigner, LA Progressive’s readers will not be surprised that our publication is now formally “feeling the Bern.”
Man on the Moon Goals
As he has for decades, Bernie Sanders fights for the things average American working families desperately need: healthcare as a basic right for all of us, a living wage, expanded family and parental leave, equal pay for equal work, a pathway for citizenship, and free public education from pre-kindergarten through public college.
He fights as well against America’s perverse economic inequality, arguing in every stump speech against the corrosive influence big money has on our political process and calling for the repeal of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that rigs the game so decisively in favor of the very wealthiest among us.
Bold and brash, in plainspoken language, Sanders takes on the forces that have stacked the deck against America’s average Janes and Joes, calling the tune in Washington and in state capitols around the country—Wall Street bankers, military equipment manufacturers, Big Pharma, and Big Oil among them.
We like that he’s fighting for us, standing solidly for things we believe in, not evolving from one position to the next as polling dictates. His 68-year-old opponent’s many supporters in the mainstream media and among the Democratic Party’s elites disparage Bernie’s proposals as impractical, and indeed achieving them will be an arduous process calling for the “revolution” Sanders proposes.
But in arguing for healthcare for all, for free college education, and for taking on income inequality, Sanders puts us in mind of John F. Kennedy calling for America to put a man on the moon, a bodacious project that united and elevated our country, and not asking that we settle for miniscule incremental change so we can say we’re making “progress.”
Building a New Generation of Activists
Perhaps the most profound effect of the Bernie Sanders campaign is the way he is energizing a whole new generation of political activists. From Occupy Wall Street to the Dreamers to Black Lives Matter to Fight For Fifteen, young Americans—and some of them not so young—have risen up to confront the inequities they see around them.
That same energy seems to be flowing into Bernie’s campaign, drawing thousands upon thousands of them to rally after rally on his whistle stop tour of primary and caucus states. Last August, we joined an estimated 27,500 avid Sanders supporters at an early rally in downtown Los Angeles, and the momentum hasn’t stopped in one overflow crowd after another that dumbfounds the political intelligentsia and delights so many Americans desperate for real change.
And as we saw in the activism of the 1960s on so many fronts—anti-War, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Women’s Rights, Chicano Rights—this newfound passion among the young will set at least some of them, and we can hope it’s many of them, on lifetimes of political activism and engagement in civic affairs that has been so sadly absent in recent decades. Even now, we see so many veterans of those long ago battles marching beside us for Bernie.
As part of that rebirth of activism, the Sanders campaign has already profoundly revolutionized political fundraising—really democratizing it. We hear that candidates for office—and even long-term officeholders running for re-election—spend huge amounts of their time on the phone asking for money from deep-pocketed donors who then will surely expect favors.
By going directly to millions of regular Americans for small donations, averaging $27, Bernie has created a whole new paradigm for other officeholders, provided they can develop the same kind of genuine and compelling vision he’s running on. You can imagine that the entire political world knows that the Sanders campaign raised $42 million in February and $44 million in March through these small donations, many millions more than his well-connected and better-known opponent.
We encourage LA Progressive’s readers to put their shoulders behind the Bernie Sanders campaign, for their own sakes and especially for our children and grandchildren who will benefit from his presidency and the revolution it will create in decades to come.
Editor, LA Progressive