Sorry, not sorry, Bernie. Gah-bye.
It’s a little embarrassing now to admit what a strident supporter I was of Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016 and again in 2020. With the benefit of hindsight and his highly questionable voting record in the past three years I have to admit I was conned. I am not comforted by the fact that I was among millions of desperate hopefuls who also thought the scrappy little old guy from Vermont was for real.
I should have been listening to what activist Glen Ford was saying all along about the senator from Vermont:
Bernie Sanders is a highly valued Democrat, the party’s Outreach Director and therefore, as Paul Street writes , “the imperialist and sheep-dogging fake-socialist Democratic Party company man that some of us on the ‘hard radical’ Left said he was.” Sanders is a warmonger, not merely by association, but by virtue of his own positions. He favors more sanctions against Russia, in addition to the sanctions levied against Moscow in 2014 and 2016 for its measured response to the U.S-backed fascist coup against a democratically elected government in Ukraine.
In all honesty, however, I was so fired up by finally hearing someone in a position of power suggesting actual solutions to the deeply entrenched problems of average people that I might have ignored Glen.
And I really was fired up.
For the first time in my life I sent donations to a politician. Moreover, in a wholly unprecedented move on my part, I phone-banked and stood on street corners in Harlem handing out Bernie fliers and literature. I was a believer. There I was out there at Coney Island in April, 2015, freezing and thinking I was part of something important as thousands of us waited for Bernie’s rally to begin.
Then, there I was again, in October 2019 when Bernie and his new BFF, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, proclaimed that he was back! Oh, I had stars in my eyes again.
However, from the vantage point of watching how both the rockstar Queens barmaid and the truculent old Vermont so-called Socialist have sold us out, all I can say is that I’m done with establishment politics. Obama cured trusting the Democrats years ago, but Bernie? Yeah, he had me completely fooled. But not anymore. Moreover, unless something drastic changes — and it could (I’m looking at you, Brother Cornel) — I won’t be dancing at this shindig again.
For years I agreed with the basic premise of George Carlin’s brilliant take on voting even as I dutifully showed up for every primary, every referendum, and certainly every general election. Yes, even midterms.
And in my part of the world I almost never had to wait in line to vote.
I used to believe there was a substantial difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Now I see that this country is not governed by a two-party system. There are no checks and balances. There is one driver of policy in this country: profits. Nothing else is valued. Nothing else is invested in. Nothing else is considered worth preserving or encouraging or building. As Noam Chomsky said in 2008:
“In the US, there is basically one party — the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to these policies. As is most of the population.”
Remember what was happening to millions of people in 2008? I know it’s been awhile, but think. Oh, right. Over 3,000,000 foreclosures were being filed while the banks who created the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s were being bailed out….with the taxes of the people losing their homes. Good times.
I haven’t ditched my affiliation with the Dems yet and was glad to cast my primary vote for Yusef Salaam as my representative in the City Council of New York City. Not that I hold out a lot of hope that he’ll actually represent the interests of the constituents he’s promising to represent. His predecessor in the council — who I also voted for — didn’t seem to do squat after ousting the long-time incumbent, Bill Perkins, bless her heart.
Bernie and AOC and the Squad and all that noise have made it a whole lot harder for me to really go all in for Brother Cornel West although he’s definitely got my attention.
They also made it a whole lot easier to ditch the Dems and not bother voting.
I may decide not to vote but there are many, many other ways to support regime change right here in The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave. And after the numerous failed wars, illegal invasions of sovereign nations, and disregard for its own citizens while extracting unbelievable amounts of wealth and productivity from them, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of billionaires.
Nice work there, Bernie.