Wednesday, March 23, 2016

To Bern or Not to Bern

To Bern or Not to Bern,
That is the question!

I've compiled a list of reasons people don't want to vote for Bernie Sanders so that I can provide some information systematically, rather than the random way conversations develop, often as gut reactions to informational posts, on Facebook and other social media.

A few caveats:  If I think there is plenty of evidence that your "reason to not vote for Bernie" is unfounded I will post what evidence I can.  But if I can see that we disagree fundamentally about some issue, well then I'll simply post that I disagree.

The purpose of this post is NOT to convince you to believe differently than you do.  You believe your way, I believe my way.  Let's leave it at that.

The purpose is to encourage those who DO believe in the things Bernie stands for (or some or most of them), but are reluctant to vote for him because they "don't think he has a chance."

After requesting people to tell me why they won't be voting for Bernie, I've come up with the following list.  Some of these are mine as I got a lot less input than I expected:

#1:  He's going to up our taxes!

(Related to that are:  "His economic ideas will ruin us" and "We can't afford socialized Health Care" and "We can't afford to send everyone to college".  I will make these sub-categories to #1.)

1a) His economic ideas will ruin us
I am no economics expert.  You know what, chances are neither are you.  The fact is that economics is like religion: you can believe what you want and find all sorts of evidence to support it.

The fact is there are plenty of economics experts at top universities, and some hired by magazines, news networks, etc. who believe Bernie's Sanders economics ideas are sound and will benefit our nation:

So, if you believe that the experts all say his plan will ruin us, you are wrong.  If you think you personally understand econmics better than an expert, go ahead and believe what you want.  But we have never seen "trickle down" economics trickle down!  If we have seen it trickle down, then tell me please why the rich keep getting richer and the poor, getting poorer.  And by the way, don't fret over the middle class.  "Rich" here means you make more than $250,000 a year... see below.

1b) We will have to pay more taxes!
Again most likely not true.  All of the money experts who have crunched the numbers can show on paper that he can pay for everything he says he wants to do without raising taxes on people unless they make more than a certain amount of money.  I've seen articles that put this figure as low as $190,000 and articles that put it around $250,000 a year.  

You wont be paying more taxes unless you make $250,000 a year!  Period.  So stop bitching and griping.  And if you're my friend and you actually make more than $250,000 a year, then guess what buddy:  next time we hang out you're buying.

Frankly if you make more than $250,000 a year you should be paying more taxes.  And the more you make after that, your tax rates should go up, not down.

Here are some of the financial experts who have crunched the figures and made those calculations:

Now, again, maybe you are better at crunching numbers than people who do it for a living.  Maybe you are better and making calculations and figuring out budgets than people who have all the facts about how much money the IRS rakes in every year and where it all goes.  But I defer to these experts, and what they are saying makes sense if you only open your eyes and look at what's out there in the world (plenty of countries not as wealthy as our country who DO take care of their elderly, their sick, their poor, etc.)  Yeah, try and convince me our wealthy nation cannot afford that?  Well, the only reason our wealthy nation cannot afford that is because our government steals from the poor and gives to the rich.

Time for that to end.

1c) We can't afford socialized Health Care

By this point I'm getting repetitive here.  You've heard people ask the questions:  how can Canada, most nations of Europe, most nations everywhere afford it then?  (Oh, maybe because they don't spend billions and billions of dollars on high-tech aircraft that don't work?)

You could also mean "we can't afford it" in the sense of: it will be a lot worse than privatized health care.  The fact is: privatized health care will continue to flourish in our country and the wealthy will be able to get what they want to pay for.  What we are talking about with "socializing health care" is giving the opportunity of health care to those who cannot afford to pay for it.

Under Obamacare:

  • people who could not get health care now can (I know many of them personally)
  • people who could only get crappy health care through stupid employers can sometimes get slightly better through Obamacare
  • people who get excellent health care from their employers continue to do so
  • the insurance companies and the medical supply companies are making record profits (I have friends who have a medical supply business and they have had to expand by a factor of about 5 to 10 times their previous size because of Obamacare)
  • the economy hasn't been ruined because of this

We can afford to continue to go in that direction, or having something similar to Obamacare but slightly better.

1d) We can't afford socialized Education

Basically, the same thing goes here as what  I said about health care.  How can all the other nations of the world afford to pay for college for their youth and we cannot?

Did you know that by making college unaffordable for millions of U.S. youth we are actually making it so that our country has to bring in immigrants to fill jobs here?  In the technology industry, for example, there are not enough U.S. students in universities in our country currently getting degrees in technology to fill more than about half of the job openings we will have when they graduate?

I personally know many young people who were perfectly capable of going to college in terms of grades, but ended up working full time someplace instead.  Or working full time and going to college part time.  Going to college part time is a bad idea as most people eventually quit and don't complete their educations due to the high stress and "life" getting in the way.

By not paying for our students to go to college we are giving all the other countries around the world an advantage to be economically and technologically superior to us.  We cannot afford to not pay for our young people's college educations.

#2:  Many Americans feel it is time to get elect a woman as president

This was offered as another reason not to vote for Sanders.

To be frank, can you not see what a silly notion that is?  Sure, if we elected a woman as president it would be "about time."  Same thing for electing a black man.  But to vote for Obama only because he is black, or for Hillary only because she's a woman:  that is beyond ridiculous in my thinking.

Perhaps it wouldn't be if all the candidates were "the same" in terms of ideology or being "a part of the system" and so forth, but they aren't.  There are acute differences in platform and ideology between Clinton and Sanders.  Vote ideology, people.

#3:  "He says it's more important to care and treat well the least among us, but it's ok to terminate unborn babies."

Sorry, I won't take the bait here to launch into a discussion of Abortion and Woman's Right to Choice.  There are already plenty of opinions on this and many of them fanatical in both directions.  You don't need mine.

I would like, however, to suggest thinking of this as an aspect of democracy rather than morality.  Is it legitimate for the government to make something illegal that the majority of people do not think should be illegal?  Of course, your religion has the right to consider something immoral.  But your government?   

Of course, how much government control there is of anything is a heated issue.  I'm generally against government control of things, unless it is the government taking care of its people:  roads, utility infrastructure, public safety and health, education: in my opinion these are all basic things the people of a nation needs in order to make that nation strong and successful.  I personally prefer not to see the government controlling much else.  We should have as free a society as possible.

But I can offer no specific notions, news articles, resources, etc. about #3 except to say that "treating the least among us well" is an unambiguous thing, whereas abortion is not, at least not in the eyes of the vast majority of citizens.  Unfortunately we are learning this election that even "treating the least among us well" is not a universally accepted standard in our country, but my hope is that when the dust settles we'll see the vulgarity of bullying, racism, sexism, etc. has but a tiny minority of adherents.

#4:  "He's not as entertaining as Trump."

Even though it seems silly, I'm taking this notion as seriously as the others.  Why?  Because in all my bar and coffee-shop hopping, and talking with random people and strangers and so on, I've actually found this to be the MAIN reason people like Trump.  They don't believe in any of the things he is saying.  But they like him because he's bold and entertaining.

That's a very unfortunate point of view, probably so common because of the way people have begun to love reality TV shows and are now getting fantasy (reality TV) confused with actual reality (what happens in the real world and politics.)  The only reason people think this is because they've never had to live through war and suffering and difficulty: never had to endure a nation where ideas like Trump's were prevalent.  We forget too soon the consequences of such people ruling our nations.  "Those who forget history, are doomed to repeat it."

.... And my favorite:
#5:  "He Cannot Possibly Win"

This is probably the most common reason I hear people saying they support Hilary over Sanders.

I mention to them that most of the young people in the U.S. between ages of 18 and 30 support Sanders, and those same young people can't stand Hilary.  And they always say the same thing to me:  "yeah, but historically those young people don't vote."

Well, this time around, I beg to differ.  Why?  Because they are turning out in droves to Caucus.  They are turning out in droves to rallies and other events.  They are getting involved in politics like they never have before.  Trust me:  if someone goes to rallies and caucuses, and other political events, they're going to vote.

Also, most of the polls that have been taken show Sanders beating Trump by a wide margin, and Hilary beating Trump just barely.

Not only "can he" win but he has a much better chance of winning than Hilary.  So if it is all about the "lesser of evils" for you this election, then even in that frame of mind, Sanders is your man.

More and more people are coming out and endorsing Bernie Sanders.  They are doing this because they not only believe in his platform, they believe he can win:,_2016

And more and more people are packing huge stadiums like NEVER in the history of presidential elections in the United States, to see and hear Bernie:

I think the "cannot possibly win" argument is only valid if you have become a complete fatalist about the U.S. governmental system, and if that's the case, I'm deeply sorry for you.

Bernie sanders can win, and he needs your vote at Caucus this Saturday, and in the general election to do it.

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