Bernie Sanders for president in 2020

And not because he’s a liberal

I saw a clip of Sanders in an interview discussing policy. That’s not unusual, obviously. He doesn’t waste his breath or mental “airtime” talking about enemies or Trump or whoever it was that ran against him a couple of years ago — or ever. He’s been in politics for 40 years and somebody runs against him every couple of years. His political opponents could fill a room.

Those people would probably not mind coming to a barbecue at his house. They were always opponents, but never enemies.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t have enemies.

Richard Nixon had a White House enemies list. There were several people who proudly announced on talk shows that they discovered they were on it. (Paul Neuman, for crying out loud!) Trump doesn’t have an enemies list. He isn’t organized enough for that. Bernie wouldn’t have anybody to put on such a list.

Bernie Sanders wants to get Medicare for All. And he means ALL. If you are opposed to that, he won’t taunt you and call you names. He feels confident to persuade you with logic and facts. How will we afford it? It will save money. It’s hard to understand the ghastly amount of money we throw away on our current system, almost twice as much as any other country.

Government is power and Sanders wants to use that power to accomplish goals that inexplicably do not contribute to his own personal wealth or power.

Bernie doesn’t think the press is the enemy of the people or anyone. They trivialize him (he combs his hair with a balloon). They straw-man him (Venezuela!) They misrepresent him (Communist!). But — insert shrug here — what difference does it make?

None.

He has plans. He has goals. He almost certainly believes that his policy ideas will be modified by time, reality, and the wishes of other people. He never behaves as though that’s an attack on his ideas or him personally.

Trump never loses

Trump never loses because nothing is ever his fault. If something doesn’t go his way, it’s somebody else that did it that to him. He didn’t lose, he was robbed.

Bernie doesn’t lose either, because his ideas and goals are not zero-sum and they are not a game.

If he pushes for years and gets a health care system that affordably covers millions more people, he will not declare victory and take all the credit. He will get himself booked on the Sunday talk shows and begin to explain how the system can be modified to benefit even more people.

Trump roosts in the White House.

But he’s not president in any meaningful way. He doesn’t do foreign diplomacy. He doesn’t set the agenda. He isn’t consoling when the nation is in grief. He’s on the golf course. He couldn’t think of anything to say about the California fires that wasn’t nasty. He was too busy discussing whose fault it was — the victims, of course. He was too busy to pay attention to a catastrophe with a thousand people dead or missing because all the people around him are getting arrested and turning state’s evidence.

We need Bernie.

Not because he’s a saint — nobody is a saint — but because he’s a decent human being. He’s is capable of kindness, empathy, and a sense of belonging to the human race.

Saying Trump is a sociopath is just calling names. We really can’t diagnose him at a distance. All that really matters is that he is unkind.

As a nation, we need things from a leader. Leadership, for example. Trump’s life doesn’t have anything to do with ours. He’s focused on who he’s currently angry with and why. He’s a reality star making interesting television. He doesn’t care what comes out of his mouth as long as it’s entertaining. His constituency is people who laugh and clap and enjoy the show.

All this, while the vast majority look on, ignored. If we elect Bernie Sanders as president, not only will we get coherent sentences, we will get someone who doesn’t ignore large portions of the population.

Bernie as metaphor

I am in the tank for Bernie, but not in over my head. I’d vote for any decent human being. If the guy who mows my lawn ran against Trump I’d vote for him. I think he’s unqualified and doesn’t know much about how government works. Like Trump. But unlike Trump, Jimmy is a nice person. He’s honest, truthful, and keeps his word. He knows how to hire decent people who do a good job.

It doesn’t need to be exactly Bernie. Any halfway respectable person would do, really.

Heck, Mitt Romney is beginning to look good to me. He’s never been poor and has no concept of what that’s like. He’s never hesitated to take a child to the emergency room for fear of the cost. While he would give a handjob to any rich person who walked into the oval office, the poor would be invisible to him. But he’s not a bad guy. He probably avoids doing something he wants to do if somebody lets him know it’s illegal or immoral. That’s a very low bar, but it’s one Trump is unable to clear.

We need Bernie.

Right now 70% of the US population is like a battered wife looking out the window at people passing by on the street. They would be kind to her — if the situation were different.

Most passers-by would sympathize with a victim and not blame them for their plight. Most of them would offer to help. Because most people are decent.

But not our current president. He sits in a stew of his own corruption while the pot slowly heats up.

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