This is a guest post by my friend, Jeremy Marion, who is a staunch Bernie supporter. You can find him on Facebook or email him at his name at gmail.com. (Read Part 1 HERE.)
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Bernie Sanders, like Martin Luther King Jr. before him is leading a revolution. To doubt leaps in progress are achievable is to disregard history, and to instill that doubt in others is to aid in its defeat. Many people admire and understand the influence that King had on civil rights, but there is a big difference between knowing the facts of history and acquiring wisdom from history. The wisdom he spread (that is lost on even his most ardent admirers) comes from the ideals that made his movement successful.
When one understands and practices the values that King advocated, it becomes clear which candidate’s platform he would rally behind, and which candidate’s platform he would rally against. If there is anything that we should have learned from him, it is that we all need to fight for justice. Read his words for yourself and think about who he would support if he was alive today.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who is not silent or dismissive about the things that matter most.
On Political Progress
In a democracy, even one as broken as ours, we the people have the ability to transform our dreams into reality, but only if we fight for it. I have no doubt that every successful progressive movement throughout history was marginalized by pessimism under the guise of realism, but the truth is that there is no such stance as realism. The definition of optimism and pessimism stem from that fact that our future is uncertain; they are simply qualitative descriptions of our predictions of future events. To label oneself as a realist is to misunderstand this concept. One can be an optimist, a pessimist, or uncertain. Only the future can reveal reality.
Certainly people can be so extreme in their optimism or pessimism that no reasonable person would view their ideas as realistic, but the ideals of the political revolution that Bernie Sanders is leading are not extreme. The idea that the richest country in the world can not afford to provide healthcare to all of its citizens or ensure that every full-time worker receives a living wage is pessimistic. Those ideas are mainstream and have ample public support. If we want these things to come to fruition, then we need to end the pessimism of our fellow progressives, because that pessimism is just as big of an obstacle as the right wing conservative agenda that we all want to defeat.
On progressives as people
The progressive movement is about more than politics. Before progress can be made as a society, we must make progress as individuals. We must strive to be the most virtuous version of ourselves. Specifically, there are five virtues that make up the foundation of progressives. Most if not all people possess these virtues to a certain extent, but it is the consistent use and application of these virtues that define our character.
1) Compassion is required because, without it, we would not be motivated to minimize the suffering and maximize the well-being of all conscious beings.
2) Reason is required to prevent errors of all kinds. It allows us to solve problems and realize our goals.
3) Honesty with oneself and with others is required to establish trust and credibility. A person who can not be trusted can hold a position of power, but they cannot lead.
4) Courage is required to overcome our fears. When we fear failure, or judgment, we don’t take action.
5) Self-awareness is required to realize when we are not living up to the virtues that we believe in. A lack of self-awareness can make honest men liars, turn geniuses into fools, and turn caring men and women cruel. It is the best defense against doublethink, the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. All others virtues are rendered useless if we are not aware of our own behavior.
These virtues must be valued more than anything else if we are to truly be virtuous. We must value them more than more than comfort, and more than God. If we value God most, then we are guilty of violating the last four virtues listed. To believe in a personal supernatural being requires a suspension of reason, a suspension of honesty with oneself, and a suspension of self-awareness, maybe due to the lack of courage to face our own mortality or the judgment from our friends and family.
It always is a dangerous game to suspend our virtues for the sake of comfort. Every time one does this, they become more and more susceptible to doing it again, maybe even to the point that they can no longer be classified as a progressive at all.
On Hillary Clinton’s values
“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” — George Orwell
Hillary has consistently revealed herself to be of low moral character. She is an opportunist. I’m not saying she doesn’t care about people; I’m just saying she cares so much more about herself than humanity as a whole. She has compromised her values so many times in the pursuit of power that it is apparent that power is what she values most. The pragmatist narrative she is promoting is a cover. The real reason she can’t endorse progressive policies is because she has made backroom deals with more special interests than she can even remember.
The reason she can’t be transparent is because her record is damning. It would sink her campaign. That is why she give answers like this:
Clinton: “Let me say this, I am happy to release anything I have when everybody else does the same because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups, including Senator Sanders,”
(Note: Sanders has gotten less than $2,000 from speaking fees, released video of his speech, and donated that money to charity. Since 2001, Hillary and Bill Clinton have received 153-MILLION dollars from speaking fees.)
Questioner: “How can we trust that this isn’t just more political rhetoric? Please just release those transcripts so that we know exactly where you stand,”
Clinton: “Well you know where I stand because I’ve been in public standing there the whole time.”
The answer is just as bad as when she defended taking money from special interests by bringing up 9/11. If Hillary was the only one running, I’d justify her corruption. It is reasonable that she has to be corrupt to fight the Republicans who are even more corrupt. But Bernie has shown that the support for a political revolution is already here. If she really wanted to change the system, she would drop out and endorse him. But she doesn’t care to change the system; she just wants to be president. And that desire for power is actively preventing the progress we desperately need to make.
Progressives don’t spread the dogma that their dreams are not achievable, or that the system can’t be changed at any speed greater than a snail’s pace. Progressives lead in accordance with their values, not by what the polls show is popular at the time. A leader dictates what the polls say by molding a consensus
Bernie has not maliciously attacked Hillary even one time this campaign and he has had ample opportunity and just cause to do so. She is the one who knowingly lies about his record and insinuates his ideas are unrealistic. She even lies when she is telling the truth. No honest person accuses Sanders of voting to deregulate Wall Street while omitting the fact that he only did so because it was part of a must-pass bill to keep the government running. This is dishonest to its core and is something Sanders has never done. She has consistently stood on the wrong side of history and Bernie has consistently been on the right side of history.
And finally, Clinton absolutely can not defeat Trump. She has infuriated Sanders supporters so much with her dishonest campaign that much too many of them will not show up to vote for her. The hate she has garnered from them is on par with their hate of the Republican candidates. Too many will stay home or vote for Trump to watch the world burn.
Sanders on the other hand, does beat Trump according to the polls and Hillary supporters generally don’t have any problems with Sanders. This is because Sanders has done nothing to deserve anything less than the utmost respect of the people. He a true progressive, an independent thinker, and a man of uncompromising virtue. He is a once in a lifetime candidate that we desperately need to elect if we want change.