Featuring essays by Elizabeth George on the future of our country

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A LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
MEA CULPA
GIVE THE GOP A LANDSLIDE VICTORY
THE ELEPHANT, THE ROOM, AND THE PEOPLE
PART II
THE ELEPHANT, THE ROOM, AND THE PEOPLE
PART I
MONEY GRUBBING FEMALES, UNITE!
WE AREN’T ELECTING A HOMECOMING QUEEN
DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN
THE TOOTSIE ISSUE
Toddlers 4 President!
CRYING BABIES AND OTHER PRESSING MATTERS OF STATE
Democratic Convention 2016: How It Might Have Been

I’D LIKE TO FEEL THE BERN, ONLY…

AN UNFORTUNATE REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST

On Matters of the Lie, the War, and Judgment

EGO, POLITICS, AND THE PRESIDENCY

On Getting What We Deserve
HOW JANUARY 2017 WILL LOOK

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I have recently taken part in the Washington State caucuses, which is how the Democratic Party in my state arrives at its selection of candidates for the Presidency. I live in a very liberal area in a generally liberal state with many, many millennials who work on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, particularly in and around Puget Sound. So it was something of a forgone conclusion that Senator Bernie Sanders was going to win the state caucuses. Masses of people were showing up at his rallies to hear his stump speech and to cheer his clarion call for a social and political revolution. His list of proposed changes in the fabric of the country were and are dazzling: free state education through college; health care for everyone; a minimum wage of at least $15/hour; the end of the United States’ policing of the globe; the increased regulation of Wall Street; a complete overhaul of our system of national elections; an end to Super Pacs and the repeal of Citizens United; an adjustment of the tax code to force the super-wealthy to pay their fair share; heavier taxation of estates; the creation of new jobs; the expansion of social security; the end of racism; the enactment of equity in pay for women; an end to fracking and the use of fossil fuels; the repair and rebuilding of roads, bridges, water and electrical systems; the reformation of the corporate tax code…There’s something for everyone and I can well understand why his supporters are impressed, awestruck, and absolutely passionate, for the Senator is a man of good ideas and good intentions. But all along, I’ve had a problem with Senator Sanders and it is his use of one word that he has repeated in every interview that I’ve heard, in every appearance that I’ve seen, and in every debate that I’ve witnessed: revolution.

The Senator was at University of Chicago not too long ago where he was interviewed solo by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in front of a small audience. Matthews questioned the Senator about his proposals and he pressed him for details, specifically details that would explain how any of the Senator’s proposals were going to come to fruition. Indeed, Matthews asked, how would even one of them come to fruition? Given the poisonous climate of Washington D.C. for the last eight years, Matthews pointed out, what was the plan? How were his proposed changes going to be achieved? Through the people demanding change, Sanders said, through revolution.

Although he won’t state this directly—and would not do so to Chris Matthews—the Senator won’t admit to the fact that radical social and political change doesn’t come about because we want it or because we demand it. However, Mr. Sanders does know this (his 1962 filmed interview in praise of Fidel Castro is but a single example of this understanding), which is why he keeps using the word revolution.

It is because Bernie Sanders stops with the word revolution and goes no further that I urge people not to vote for him, no matter how appealing his calls for radical change are. For in not explaining to his followers exactly what is expected of them, in not telling them the truth about the manner in which revolutions occur and the manner in which his revolution will have to occur, Senator Sanders merely becomes yet another politician making promises.

Revolution means change, often radical change, and the truth is that change comes about in three ways, none of which is quick and none of which is pretty: through war, through massive demonstrations in the streets and acts of civil disobedience performed by hundreds of thousands of people over time, and through voting under a master plan that guarantees one political party comprising like-minded individuals domination of both the legislative and the executive branches of government so as to pass the required legislation that alters our society.

The problem I have with Senator Sanders is that he’s not saying this. He’s saying only revolution, without telling the entire story, and in not telling the entire story, he’s not being honest. Indeed, he’s performing like any other politician, eager for office. He’s telling people what they want to hear, not what they must do to achieve it. He’s not saying that the revolution he speaks of requires the participation of millions upon millions of people and they must be willing to ACT. What this means is that hundreds of thousands of petitions will have to be signed, hundreds of thousands of voters will have to be registered, millions will need to pour into the streets, to march on Washington, to gather by the hundreds of thousands in the national mall, to have sit-ins in the halls of Congress, to engage in acts of civil disobedience, to allow themselves to be dragged off by the police, to stand in front of judges, and to serve time in jail. It’s either that, an actual war, or a master voting plan to take over the legislative branch of the government that Bernie Sanders needs to come up with by November.

If you think I’m incorrect in this conclusion, I ask you to consider Women’s Suffrage, the establishment of unions, the Civil Rights Movement, the Farmworkers Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, the LGBT Movement. All of these brought about social change. All of these required the commitment to action by thousands and thousands of people. But Bernie Sanders isn’t saying this for one of two reasons:
either he has no ground game to accomplish his list of changes in the social and political fabric of our country or he has decided he’ll deal with the ground game later—once he’s elected—and the millions will follow him, taking the action required. If that is the case, he would have to be creating a ground game at the same time as he’s dealing with world affairs, terrorism across the globe, terrorism at home, immigration, international wars…the list could go on for quite some time.

It is my belief that this is not an election for voting a dream that cannot become a reality, considering how Congress has behaved for years. The stakes are far too high. This is an election that asks us to take a long and careful look at who has not only ideas but also the background, the experience, the wit, the intelligence, the will, and the plan to bring them to fruition. I do not believe that candidate is Senator Sanders. Ideas are not results and believing that millions of people are going to heed to call for a revolution and swarm Washington D.C. or any place else in order to get the Legislative branch to do anything is, I believe, the road to no where.

I do urge you to think about this.


- Elizabeth George
Whidbey Island
Washington State

 

 
 

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