Author’s Note: This is just one of a series of pieces I plan on writing. To read Part I and Part II of “The Manifesto,” simply click on the purple links and you’ll be whisked away to a wonderful adventure. In the meantime, be enlightened. We have a lot to talk about today.
Part III: Do not be deceived by what you read about in the newspapers or watch on television: One does not have to be a registered member of the Democratic Party in order to espouse democratic-leaning political beliefs. Do not fall for the same status quo okey-doke that has continued to bind the hands of millions of Americans over the last fifty years. This is a belief that must be corrected as quickly as possible before we can truly begin to take back our politics, and it can start today.
Stay with me here.
In recent weeks, I have found that many non-supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidacy are disparaging his beliefs and his movement because the Vermont senator was a registered Independent from 1979 to 2015, when he switched over to the Democratic Party and announced his presidential bid.
But since when is this a problem for Democrats? Besides the fact that Senator Sanders has always been a left-leaning political figure from the beginning, are we really going to disparage a Democratic candidate for high office because he wasn’t always a “democrat” as far as party affiliation is concerned?
Let’s take a look at some recent Democratic politicians that weren’t always democrats, yet were still welcomed with open arms. I have lived in Florida since the end of the late Governor Lawton Chiles‘ term (between 1996-1998), and since then, I’ve noticed two prominent figures within the party make the switch, one of them being a former governor of the state. Yes, I am talking about Charlie Crist. Disclaimer: Rampant political hypocrisy is on the way, so prepare yourself for what is to come.
Former Governor Charlie Crist was a Republican for most of his adult life (1974-2010). Throughout his political career, Crist worked as an aide for Republican then-senator Connie Mack III (his political mentor), who was elected in 1988, and served in the Florida Senate until 2000, when he was elected Education Commissioner of Florida in 2000 under then-Governor Jeb Bush, another Republican. Crist was elected Attorney General in 2002 and served until he succeeded Jeb Bush as Governor of Florida. This whole time, he was a Republican.
This is no secret conspiracy theory, reader. It’s public knowledge.
Then a shift occurred. Despite supporting and endorsing Senator John McCain days before Election Day 2008 (which he lost to Barack Obama), Governor Crist supported President Obama’s Stimulus Package in 2009. He did not necessarily join his national colleagues in criticizing the newly-elected President at every turn. Then came re-election. With the Tea Party Revolution in full swing, Crist chose not to run for re-election, choosing instead to run for U.S. Senate and paving the way for Tea Party candidate. This race would completely ruin actual Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek’s campaign, splitting the leftist vote between him and Crist.
Unfortunately for him, he lost that race too (Marco Rubio) after dropping out of the Republican primary race and running as an Independent. Side Note: If you were to add up Crist’s votes (1,607,549) and Meek’s votes (1,092,936) from that election, you would have had enough (2,700,485) to hold off Marco Rubio and his 2,645,743 votes. A few years later, he would register as a Democrat, run for governor again, and lose. The Democratic Party still welcomed him with open arms. He was an asset. He’s running again, this time for Congress. This time around, he’s probably going to win.
He’s also virtually unopposed in this race after his opponent quit. Sound familiar?
A similar story happened with U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy out of Florida’s 18th district. Prior to 2011, Congressman Murphy was a Republican, but switched to the Democratic Party and challenged Congressman Allen West, another beneficiary of the 2010 Tea Party Revolution. He won that race, and no mention of his past Republican roots was made by anyone. After all, he was an asset to the Democrats against a Tea Party Republican. During that race, former President Bill Clinton and Charlie Crist openly supported Murphy’s campaign. Why is this peculiar? Because Murphy contributed to both Charlie Crist in 2011 and Mitt Romney in 2007.
Now, Congressman Murphy’s sights are on the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Marco Rubio at the end of his term. In case his adoration by the Democratic Party establishment wasn’t clear, once his candidacy was announced, he was immediately endorsed by Democratic Party heavyweights.
You know the ones: President Obama, Vice President Biden, Former Governor Crist, Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, Tim Kaine, and nearly fifty more Democratic politicians, past and present, both on the national and state levels. So yeah, it appeared Congressman Murphy’s past political affiliations weren’t a problem to this group of fine individuals. They’ve all backed Secretary Clinton as well.
Oh, and there are two other Democratic candidates in this race (Alan Grayson and Pam Keith), not that it matters much. They lost the moment they entered the race, and to Pam Keith’s credit, it wasn’t because of something she said or did. When the establishment wants a candidate, it doesn’t matter if that someone is a potentially better candidate or representative of the people or not. This is something we have known to be true for years now, and the Sanders Campaign is just one of many examples.
It is now a matter of asset to party vs. asset to the people, and the former wins every time these days. This is one of many problems that kills us now.
Okay, so let’s return to the present. Senator Bernie Sanders, despite supporting leftist political policies and social democracy his whole adult life (dating back to his work within the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s), is being disparaged by some within the Democratic Party as not being a “true Democrat.” This confuses me, especially considering the two aforementioned politicians. Could this be because he is directly challenging former First Lady Hillary Clinton in this race? Could that be the reason these attacks are being raised against him? Am I about to go in?
Maybe that theory is better left for Part IV.
Though Senator Sanders has been an Independent for decades leading up to his run, one must ask what he believes in. As opposed to the typical cookie-cutter form of Liberal Democratic politics that has pacified Democrats for over a decade, Bernie Sanders has always espoused something that my European readers recognize–Social Democracy. Calm down. There exists a considerable difference between the Hammer & Sickle-themed Socialism you read about in the history books and the Social Democracy that Europeans have enjoyed in the last few decades.
Let’s dabble a bit.
Social Democracy is what happens when the people decide to take control of both their government and economy and flows upward. [Authoritarian] Socialism is what happens when the power flows from the top-down, the kind that people fear, the kind that people read in the history books as having failed many times over. The idea of Social Democracy means that everyone has the basic rights afforded to them by society, as well as a sort of economic freedom that allows a citizen marketplace to decide what’s profitable and what isn’t.
Some things in civil society should be sacred, like life, liberty, health, education, religious freedom, the right to own property, and to freely choose those whom we want to represent us in government. Government is meant to be a product of the people, not the other way around. Our leaders are supposed to represent and reflect our values, not the values of a privileged few with deep pockets. We the people decide our leaders and the status of our political process.
We decide what changes and what doesn’t.
Health care. Education. The right to collectively bargain. The right to work and not go hungry. The right to work, be paid a dignified wage, and retire without entering a doomed world of poverty. The right not to descend into poverty due to illness. I don’t need to be a Republican or Democrat to believe that these things should come by default. These are basic realities. We deserve these rights. We are human beings. We are all equal, and our laws and systems (criminal, civil, economic) must reflect this. We cannot be beholden to anyone but the people.
We must send those we deem most fit to represent our interests to our places of leadership, but they must always be held accountable to our realities.
Are you, like me, wondering why the Koch Brothers are able to fund a Tea Party invasion of modern politics while untold billions in liberal wealth continue to be flaunted before us in Hollywood and mainstream media, completely disconnected from left-leaning politics and campaign donations? The answer is simple—Republican CEOs pay those hefty paychecks, and many of these figures have no interest in stirring the pot. Ask those that have become more outspoken in their careers. They slowly but surely get pushed out of the mainstream in favor of those more willing to cooperate.
Think about artists like Killer Mike, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Immortal Technique, Dead Prez, and KRS-One. The same happens to Hip-Hop figures in the African American community. They don’t want you to speak out, to use your talents to benefit the community in a way that fosters self-empowerment and the opposite of population control. You’re not profitable if you cannot keep the public in a state of controlled euphoria. When you begin to question societal standards and systems of government, you become a threat to the status quo, a cancer to the establishment. You must be silenced and/or dismissed as a crazy person. None of them sell albums like they used to.
They’d rather you focus on Drake’s views than meditate on Kendrick or J.Cole‘s poems.
There is something about Bernie Sanders that threatens people, both Liberal and Conservative alike. This is no longer a battle of left vs. right. This is a matter of establishment vs. people. The Sanders Campaign is a testament to a growing Independent voice in this country, and the establishment response to this movement is exactly what you should have expected. Millions of independent citizens are finding themselves interested in the political process again, and the pot is being stirred to the dismay of the status quo.
Pay attention to what is happening all around you. You are being shut out of the political process because you don’t fit the archaic criteria of a disillusioned and impressionable electorate. The time has come for you to take back your politics. The United States of America boasts free elections and true democracy, while its citizens stand by and watch their government cater to a privileged class of citizens completely separated from society. We have become an American Oligarchy.
Washington, D.C. is filled to the brim with entitled, arrogant, self-absorbed individuals that don’t realize their own separation from the everyday problems of struggling Americans. While these people do not represent everyone that lives within the District’s borders, many of them are the ones making decisions that affect the lives of millions of Americans, and this is why many of us are disillusioned with modern politics.
When Senator Sanders stands before thousands of Americans gathered in a stadium to hear him tell the world that the U.S. is in need of a political revolution, all you have to do is spend five months in D.C. and you will completely understand exactly what he means. This country is in dire need of the very political revolution he has consistently preached about for decades, and much more is at stake than just one (or forty) election(s) in November.
A new dawn is coming. You can either rise with the sun or perish with the night.
There can be no other alternative.
Let’s move on to The Manifesto: Part IV…