By Arley Gill
WASHINGTON, United States, Tuesday May 3, 2016 – The current presidential election campaign in the United States is fascinating for many reasons, not least of which is the message and the man Senator Bernie Sanders.
His message is bold, provocative and indeed courageous, for a politically right-wing and conservative society like the United States of America. Sanders’ message is arguably, in my respectful view, impacting the American society more than the communist party there or any left-wing organization.
His desire is to have a “political revolution’’. America has not had that experience since the nation was founded more than two centuries ago. Between 1765 and 1783, people in the 13 American colonies rejected the British monarchy and aristocracy, overthrew the authority of Great Britain, and founded what we know today as the United States of America.
Sanders says, in a no-nonsense tone, that he will continue to fight for, “economic justice, social justice and environmental justice’’. He promises free healthcare and free education, up to a college degree. His desire is to put America on par with other industrialized countries. And the reality is that Bernie’s message is highly factual. It has been verified, for example, on CNN’s “Fact Check’’.
However, the US is controlled by big money interests including the media, with some in the Press trying to make Bernie out to be a dreamer or some crazy white guy.
Bernie Sanders speaks the raw, unspoken truth about the US; the kind of truth that only a few – like West Indian-Americans Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan and Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael) – have dared to speak; the sort of things that leaders in the United States do not want the world to know.
He describes poverty as a “death sentence’’. Regarding the state of Baltimore he says, “if you are born in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhood your life expectancy is almost 20 years shorter than if you’re born in its wealthiest neighborhood….15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Two of them have a higher infant mortality rate than Palestine’s West Bank’’.
Baltimore, of course, makes the headlines when cops kill poor blacks. I visited there only once to collect a body with my funeral director friend who lives in New York.
The message of Bernie is real. He has consistently taken on the big business interests of Wall Street, champions the cause of the poor and middle class, and speaks about climate change as no other politician in the US that I have heard. In the heart of western capitalism, he must be considered as a freedom fighter. Maybe because he is white and Jewish, he is yet to be given such a title.
Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for civil rights; Malcolm X fought for human rights; now, years later, Sanders is fighting for economic rights for the poor in America.
He questions how America can find trillions of dollars for a war in Iraq and cannot find monies to invest in inner cities right in the US.
While Hillary Clinton clings to Barack Obama’s achievements for political expediency, Sanders differs with the president on some issues because he is more radical than Clinton is. He’s a true representative of progressives.
Clinton, more than likely, will win the Democratic Party nomination. She has a big political name, popularity and connections – much more than Sanders does. But, I am convinced that Sanders would make a better president. He says he is losing to Clinton because the poor don’t vote. He is right. Poor people are disillusioned by politics and politicians and, as such, the poor don’t get registered to vote.
Young Democrats, who understand the high cost of education and healthcare, are responding to Sanders’ message. However, they may not be enough to stop Clinton.
If I were a US citizen I would have been one of Sanders’ campaign volunteers. He represents the soul of the struggling people not just in America, but all over the world.
Whatever eventually happens, Bernie Sanders has blazed the trail and maybe it can be said that he had sight of the Promised Land. It may be left for another socialist revolutionary to take America there.
Arley Gill, a lawyer and magistrate, is a former Grenada minister of culture.