Thursday, September 24, 2015
In a Democracy all officials are accountable even Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is the best candidate that I've seen running for president in the two traditional parties in a long time; and he may be the best chance to get overdue reform; however that doesn't mean that he should be above reproach.
And he has indicated that he might agree with this, at least to an extent; which is part of the reason why he is the best candidate in the two traditional parties in a long time. He has said repeatedly that no president can get reform in Washington without grassroots support; which implies that that support might also be used to keep himself accountable. Or at least that is what I consider a reasonable interpretation of it; and whether he agrees or not if he gets elected I suspect many of his grassroots supporters will.
Some of his supporters may want to look the other way at issues, however few, that he needs to improve on; however the way he handled the Black Lives Matter protest compared with the way Hillary handled it might indicate that it has only improved his campaign and position on the issues. He was a long-time advocate for civil rights, even when Hillary was campaigning for Barry Goldwater, as a young Republican, and he was aggravated the first time they interrupted his rally; but I get the impression he strengthened his position and gained respect from Black people while Hillary lectured them and probably lost respect. Furthermore by addressing the legitimate issues they indicate that unlike his competitors he really is responding to democratic demands instead of sweeping them under the rug while giving the public propaganda and promises that will almost certainly not be kept, unless there is an enormous amount of grassroots pressure for candidates like Hillary to stand up to her campaign contributors.
One of my biggest concern about his campaign is that apparently he hasn't fill out a Project Vote Smart questionnaire; as I indicated previously Project Vote Smart should also be held accountable but at least until there is a better job application candidates should still fill out their questionnaires so voters will have a consistent way to compare candidates and a location where they can find all of them whether they collect a lot6 of campaign money and get media coverage or not. His refusal to fill out the questionnaire is ironic since he filled out the one from his 2012 race and his positions haven't changed much if at all. This includes his support for a single payer system among other things.
Another potential problem might be a recent article, Bernie Sanders Said to Be Close to Signing Fund-Raising Deal With Democratic Party, (09/02/2015) which could potentially indicate that he is relying on the old system to finance his campaign and might be helping the Democrats raise money that could potentially be used to benefit corporate contributors. It isn't clear that this is what happening but efforts should be made at the grassroots level anyway to support Election Reform that enables the public to control the interview process of candidates.
This should also include more discussion about proportionate Representation and Instant Run-Off elections which would give alternative party candidates a better chance. Regardless of who wins this election we need to reform the duopoly system that enables the Democratic and Republican Parties to trade back and forth, while both of them are controlled by multinational corporations, as I previously indicated in Invest in Activism, AND Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Grassroots. Getting a good representative is an important part of restoring some degree of democracy but they also need to be pressured by an informed public.
Bruce Gagnon is one of the better informed critics of Bernie Sanders for a while now and recently he expressed one of his concerns in Sanders Wants "Strongest Military in the World." (09/04/2015) Compared to most traditional politicians that actually get much if any coverage from the mass media he is much better about opposing unjust wars; however there is so much propaganda about how they're fighting to defend democracy instead of fighting for one lie after another that a shocking percentage of the public is convinced that this is justified. An argument could be made that he is catering to the wishes of the people, even if they have been indoctrinated by the media, so that he could 3educate them better once he got in office; however peace advocates would see right through this if it was made. Technically it is possible but using the same tactics that traditional politicians use isn't the way to reform the system.
Bruce Gagnon has indicated that he doesn't think it is likely that Bernie will be the nominee and that he thinks he is passing up an opportunity to inform the public about the misinformation about the military from the media and political establishment. I'm not convinced that he won't get elected and don't think it is a good idea to abandon hope even if it is difficult anymore than I think it is a good idea to look the other way about flaws in candidates that I support; however he is at least partly right about passing up an opportunity to inform the public more. But I can't help but wonder how thoroughly the public has been indoctrinated by the corporate press.
There's no doubt that an enormous number of right wing people will just get outraged if inconvenient facts are pointed out to them, as they often have; but there are also a lot of Democrats that seem to believe the lesser of two evils choice that they seem to fall for every time. One way or another if we're going to have a real Democracy we need to find a way to better educate the public and get officials elected that actually try to represent the public, instead of giving them propaganda promises that will be broken for the benefit of campaign contributors as soon as they get in office. It is extremely frustrating to see the same dilemmas over and over again.
Fortunately at least one major reformer, Kshama Sawant who is supporting Sanders; and this isn't likely to be blind support, which Sanders must know; it will be support to get him elected and reform the system, not reverse himself like many corporate puppets routinely do. the Socialist Party has expressed concerns about Bernie Sanders in the past and indicated that some of them think it is more important to expand alternative Parties. However getting one or two percent one time after another isn't going to do that and there is a major movement behind Sanders which could do much more than many people suspect. Ignoring potential problems shouldn't be done but one of those potential problems is that people bicker among themselves and that should be kept to a minimum. if it can't be avoided completely. Concerns should be expressed in constructive manners and without personal attacks.
Even though this post focuses on some of those they're far fewer than the benefits of a Sanders Presidency, or if he doesn't get elected a Jill Stein presidency. If the traditional press that is trying to rig the nomination for Hillary succeeds then this unity could go a long way to help other candidacies like Jill Stein if his grassroots support drops the Democratic Party which sells out to the same corporations as the Republican party continues to ignore the public.
Another good reason for hope is the planned march on Washington D.C. by Sanders supporters that has been growing for weeks despite the medias refusal to cover it. It was originally planned for October 17 trying to get 100,000 marchers or more but has been moved back to November 7 and they've got 121,000 RSVPs and counting so far plus many more that have expressed interest or been invited. It is unlikely that all of the RSVPs will turn into marchers, and the media will almost certainly try to spin that to make it seem like a disappointment when it turns out to be bigger than they expected and they act as if it came from no where, which they usually do about protests; however even if it is much smaller it will be far greater support than any traditional candidate has gotten in recent history.
This could be an unprecedented part of major reform; but only if enough grassroots support pressures elected officials and we elect people that want to do a good job whether the pressure is there or not, and that clearly doesn't apply to Hillary!
Bruce Gagnon expressed a few more concerns in Watching the Political Gate Keepers (09/04/2015) but if we have to chose between Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders it will be the best choice we've had since I can remember; and the more support for reformers the more education of the public that takes place.