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Sunday, 31 January 2016 15:38

Serody: Let the Right Approach Prevail

Written by  Bob Serody


Posted January 31, 2016
National Presidential Debates Commentary
Member Opinion*


Let the Right Approach Prevail
By Bob Serody

When attacking a political opponent, just look at the issues and grab onto those that might make the public feel uncomfortable with him or her.  For example, we might play the sexist card and ask indirectly if the country is ready for a female president.  This ploy can take the form of attacking the candidate’s personality.  Many people feel uncomfortable with Hillary, primarily because she is not only a woman, but also a woman who is outspoken and “too bold”.  Could this really be a smokescreen because the voter doesn’t care for her raising the issue of equal rights for women, something many men feel uncomfortable with?  Then how about bringing up the concern over whether she is trustworthy and honest, or maybe couple these feelings with the words ‘She comes on as shrill or bitchy’?   

These sneak attacks are simply the way some people wage a war of dirty politics.  Fortunately, Bernie Sanders refuses to engage in smear campaigns, and I believe there is a feeling of mutual respect between the Democratic frontrunners.  They are really good people, and whoever becomes the nominee, will have my support.  Bernie has sidestepped the issue of her e-mails, because he knows this is a negative diversion, thrown in by the Republicans to besmirch her reputation, and which doesn't address the important differences between them.
On Monday night, a bold 22-year-old from Iowa asked presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton a very awkward, but good, question during CNN's televised Democratic Town Hall. "It feels like there's a lot of young people like myself who are very passionate supporters of Bernie Sanders, and I just don't see the same enthusiasm from younger people for you," Taylor Gipple said. "In fact, I've heard from a lot of people my age that you're dishonest. But I'd like to hear from you why you feel the enthusiasm isn't there."

Gipple brought up the issue that defines why many young voters are critical of Clinton.  He was probably trying to have this personal concern about Hillary cleared up in order for him to make up his mind.  Hillary spent some time trying to explain how her path was littered with explosive mines for the purpose of terminating her political career, but her only answer to these hurdles was to just keep moving forward.  Otherwise, how would she be able to accomplish her goal of making the world a better place?  An elected public servant has to have a thick skin.  I could feel for her and also know that she is determined to become the first woman president.

Sanders has also had to deal with the charges that he is not presidential material.  He is too old, he has not had foreign policy experience, he is too radical, and his agenda could never be passed by a conservative congress.  

The attack on his age is countered by how dynamic he has shown himself to be during this exhausting campaign.  Being over 70 today is not a big deal when looking at the increasing life expectancy.  The real question should be his health and how he is holding out.  Every president has shown signs of aging by watching his hair turn gray, but that isn’t a problem for Bernie.  His messy hair is already white.  

When saying that Bernie hasn’t held a position in foreign affairs, that’s blowing smoke.  His time in the House and in the Senate has exposed him to situations on a global scale. As Bernie has consistently stated, he voted no against attacking Iraq when his opponent voted yes.  He had and has the ability to perceive the reasons for taking a position that could have potentially save thousands of lives and prevented the present chaos that now exists in the Middle East.  As for executive experience, nothing can compare with learning on the job as president, as Harry Truman told us when he was suddenly thrust into that office toward the end of World War II.

As for being too radical, this charge is a joke.  The Democratic Party has swung too far to the right, starting with the actions of Bill Clinton when he was in office.  We have seen international trade deals reduce the power of the unions, destroy the manufacturing base in our country, and transform many workers in the middle class to holding menial jobs in the service industry.  We’ve seen lobbying on the part of special interests and deregulation, allowing corporations and the banking industry to benefit themselves at the expense of the middle class.  As Bernie has said, we can easily see where today’s wealth is concentrated.  Everyone should now know that trickle-down economics doesn’t work.  So when Bernie explains that his reforms are necessary to save this country from total ruin, he isn’t exaggerating the remedies he is proposing.  

However, Bernie has had to contend with harsh criticism from newspapers.  The Washington Post wrote a blistering editorial that said, "But Mr. Sanders is not a brave truth-teller. He is a politician selling his own brand of fiction to a slice of the country that eagerly wants to buy it."  The editorial also said Sanders has made "fantastical claims" about how he would apply the European social model to the U.S.  Sanders responded, “People are telling us, whether it’s the Washington Post editorial board or anybody else, our ideas are too ambitious — can’t happen. Too bold — really? Well, here’s something that is really bold. In the last 30 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class and working families of this country. The middle class has become poorer and trillions of dollars have been transferred to the top one-tenth of 1 percent.”  When he was asked about foreign policy, Sanders detoured: “Getting back to The Washington Post — check out where all the geniuses on the editorial page were with regard to the invasion of Iraq.” (They supported it.)  “That’s pretty radical, isn’t it?” Sanders said. “Where was The Washington Post to express concern that the middle class was shrinking?”  Bernie also pointed out that a man worth over 50 billion dollars owns the paper.  It is obvious that these billionaires won’t be able to control Bernie Sanders, a candidate that doesn’t accept contributions from super PACS.  Why would anyone who calls himself a Democrat not return to the economic and social policies of FDR and Harry Truman?  Isn’t this who we are?  Shouldn’t health care be administered to serve everyone, regardless of his or her wealth?  Shouldn’t our infrastructure be repaired and maintained, as Dwight Eisenhower implemented during his term of office?  Shouldn’t the great majority of our citizens be entitled to a living wage of at least 15 dollars an hour?  Shouldn’t our tax structure be adjusted to place a greater burden on those who have held onto vast amounts of wealth and continue to get richer?  Shouldn’t those who continue on to college have an education that doesn’t obligate them to pay off a lifetime of debt?  Are these proposals really radical, or should we, as Hillary has suggested in her own words, be more pragmatic?  Unfortunately, with the failure of our news media to keep us informed of the real issues, rather than spending so much time reporting on the pronouncements and insults from Donald Trump, the public is mostly unaware that our government has been transformed from a Democratic Republic to an oligarchy.

Bernie emphasizes that now is the time to act.  We are running out of time to recover our once great democracy that other countries once admired and even envied.

Getting back to the 22-year-old Iowan, Taylor Gipple, regarding his question about why those supporting Bernie Sanders have so much enthusiasm, the answer lies not only in his passion, but also on the major differences between him and Hillary on their approach.  Bernie’s supporters also know that his many small campaign contributions aren’t bribes.  This is why Bernie Sanders can be trusted to move our country forward in the right direction, and it needs to be done before it’s too late.

Bob Serody is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance.

*ED. NOTE: SCPA does not endorse candidates and welcomes commentary on a wide range of issues, including political campaigns, local, regional and national. If interested in contributing commentary, contact SCPA:


Last modified on Sunday, 21 February 2016 12:07
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