As we draw closer to the 2016 Presidential election, political discourse is heating up throughout the nation. But something is different this time…the millennial generation is far more involved in the political process than previous generations were. Speculation suggests that social media, increased access to the internet, and smartphones are the culprits. I think there’s more. Our generation has been inspired to use these platforms for justice, thanks to Democratic Candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders. I want to emphasize that Bernie is not without his faults. One topic in particular is his stance on slavery reparations. He has stated publicly that he does not see reparations as “necessary,” referencing instead other policies he hopes will benefit communities of color. While this is the best answer any candidate has given on the issue, it is still unacceptable. To tell people of color to support Bernie because “he’s their best chance” is to force them to pick the lesser of two evils. We can (and should) critique Bernie for his faults while still supporting him above any other candidate. We do not need to feign blind loyalty; we will never achieve social equality that way.
There is still time to get Bernie to the White House, for numerous reasons. First is his stance on campaign finance corruption. Every other major candidate is receiving millions of dollars from huge corporations.
Currently, the average donation amount for the Sanders campaign is 27 dollars. Sanders has raised over 70 million dollars so far, entirely from by the American people.
When several of his campaign speeches in Seattle and Phoenix were taken over by impassioned Black Lives Matter activists, he stepped back and let them have the mic. Afterwards, he met with BLM leaders to discuss their Campaign Zero plan aimed at addressing police violence.
Being a queer person, Bernie’s history with the queer community is equally of interest to me. This comes in the wake of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) publicly endorsing Hillary Clinton. While Clinton was actively supporting the Defense of Marriage Act not too long ago, Sanders was seeing to it that Vermont become the fifth state to legalize samesex marriage. He actively criticized Reagan’s approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, something few politicians had the courage to do. The HRC’s choice to endorse Clinton over Sanders reflects the very corrupt capitalist system that Bernie condemns. There is far more to be said, but to keep this short I want to end by referencing the political revolution Sanders has inspired.
A few short months ago, the nation was convinced that he had no chance in hell against Hillary Clinton. As of the Iowa Caucus I anxiously watched the Iowa caucus all Monday night, and they are now dead even. He has a chance, which means we have the chance to redesign our government. With President Sanders, we can rest assured that we, the American people, will be the priority of government.