A vote for Bernie

I’m voting for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the DFL’s Presidential Preference Ballot on March 1. I hope that others who are inspired by integrity when they see it will, also.

Bernie has a 35-year political life devoted to the common citizen and the most important problems plaguing our democracy. These start with income inequality,and everything Bernie champions is related to this. Common to all of us—our “general welfare,” as the Constitution puts it—are our healthcare considered as a universal right, education of our youth viewed as an investment in our future, as well as a living wage for all and opposition to destructive trade deals like NAFTA (Bernie voted a big “no” on that) and the looming Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), looked on as correctives that make our lives less un-equal as true citizens of our country.

All of these things express principles and a vision of life in a democracy worth striving for. We shouldn’t hesitate to affirm them because we “think” they may be impractical. Of course achieving them—especially if our Congress doesn’t change enough in its makeup and behavior—will be difficult and piecemeal. But if you don’t have the vision, and hold it precious, you will never strive to reach it and never grasp unexpected opportunities to achieve it. Instead, your so-called “practical wisdom” will make you like the fox confronted by the grapes: you’ll never try to jump high enough to reach them… just rationalize instead that they must be sour anyway.

In effect, Bernie is the spiritual heir to the best and most optimistic of democratic aspirations—and not just a “go along to get along” worshiper in the party church that we have right now. Forget Bernie’s self-proclaimed label of “democratic socialist” as being an unknown to fear. That’s what those who want to manipulate your vote—to drive it with fear—want you to do: not think about what the label really means, just react to it with misgivings. It’s a philosophy, a way to look at society and what keeps it healthy. You should look to a man’s deeds to see what that philosophy means to him and what you can expect from him.

As one astute political observer put it recently: “Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist building on the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. He understands that inequality is the core structural factor in economic crisis and that growth in real wages and incomes is required for robust, sustainable economic growth. […] This is not about just this election, or just the next four years. This is about whether the Democratic Party is going to care about inequality for the next decade.” (http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2016/02/05/why-bernie-vs-hillary-matters-more-than-people-think/#more-2620

So please go to http://caucusfinder.sos.state.mn.us/  to find your caucus site, and fill out your Presidential Preference Ballot with me on March 1.

The only way we can regain our vision of a future for all of us is by electing Bernie Sanders.

Jeff Clark
St. Paul