Since Bernie Sanders threw his name into the running for President of the United States of America: I've been pretty rough on him. He's not my guy.
Although he says a lot of things that look really good on a meme or in a sound byte, I find his theories and economics to be dubious and dated at best and dangerous at worst. As a person that calls himself a "small business advocate", you can see why I might object to his socialistic philosophy...but this article isn't about my differences with Bernie Sanders: it's about what I admire about the man.
I admire Bernie Sanders honesty in regard to the terms he uses to describe himself.
Bernie Sanders has shown courage, not only in this campaign, but also during his career as a Vermont politician. Agree or disagree with the man, I have to admire his willingness to put his reputation and his career on the line by using powerful collective terms that make him a bit of an "outsider" to the American way and status quo politics.
Specifically, what I am talking about it Bernie's willingness to self-describe as a "Democratic Socialist". Although he hedges by adding the word "demoratic" to his self labeling: I still admire that he is brave enough to use the "S-word". I am sure many of his advisors have warned him against using that word...but he does it anyway.
By connecting himself to Socialism as an ideology, he is risking a lot of political hay. Although the Democrats are letting him run in their party (which could be argued is actually a socialist party at this point in history), Bernie is taking a big chance in his honesty. His brand of honesty is lacking in politics, and fan or not, I tip my hat to his bravery.
- There are Neocons in the Republican party - but none dare use that word anymore.
- There are Communists in the Democrat party - but non dare use that word.
- There are Libertarian Republicans, but the rules of being a Republican, forbid that admission.
- There are Authoritarians & Facists, in both parties, but none dare utter those words.
Instead of being honest, our political machine makes ALL OF US, try to fit our individuality into two broad and sweeping parties. Anyone with any sense, or even a passing interest in accuracy, will conceed that this is statistically impossible, and designed to be completely inaccurate, nondescriptive and divisive. Putting everyone into only two groups serves no one but the machines that set up the rules to make it so. Bernie's candidacy may be an indication of a small chink in that armor. I hope people decide to exploit the weakness to create more accuracy, choice and flavor in the world of politics.
Political Alignment Liberation Equality
As homosexuals, woman and African Americans struggle and gain legitimacy, equality and recognition of their struggle - Perhaps Bernie will inspire regular people to feel brave enough to self identify using terms that actually describe their ideology. A political "coming out" if you will.
- Perhaps people might feel like they can call themself an Anarchist (instead of a libertarian) if their goal is actually government so small as to be invisible. Take the opportunity to use the word as an opportunity to educate other that a Farmer's Market is an example of Anarchy, and that few molotov cocktails are thown at the organic fruits booth.
- Perhaps my successful middle aged friends that want to share everything evenly, but are petrified to mention the Communism word, could take stock in what Bernie is doing, and muster enough courage to actually put a label on their beliefs that is actually representative of their ideology...without fear of financial and social repercussions.
- Perhaps people that say things like "there ought to be a law" or "if you don't resist, you won't get hurt" could more freely use the word "authoritarian" to describe their belief, instead of looking down on that word as taboo.
Bernie opens the door to more frank discussion and a wider range of terms to self-identify. That's a bit of a game changer. And anyone that has enough moxie, to put it out there, at the risk of personal loss and/or ridicule: will always get a slice of respect from me.