Mona Charen’s disparaging of “Lovable Ol’ Bernie” Sanders’ bid for the presidency is telling. She expresses a knee-jerk reaction rather than thoughtful criticism of policy proposals by a lifelong public servant.
Could the impetus for her perspective be fear, engendered by polls showing him in the lead and able to beat Trump? Is she among the Democratic Party elite that sidelined Bernie and his supporters in the 2016 election, thereby handing it over to the Republicans?
I say knee-jerk due to Ms. Charen’s references to Cuba and Nicaragua. In spite of massive propaganda campaigns, Bernie courageously stands in favor of governments, even socialist (gasp!) governments, that have shown statistically that the general health, literacy and education of those previously mired in poverty in these countries have dramatically improved. But Ms. Charen says he suffers “economic infantilism.” This is nasty, gratuitous ignorance toward a decent, caring human being whose only prejudice is against excessive wealth in the hands of the few.
Does Ms. Charen truly believe we were “deprived” before Amazon? And Walmart? In the late 1960s, the U.S. comprised 6 percent of the world’s population, consuming over 60 percent of the world’s wealth. How much “stuff” do we need? We really need health care, secure homes, education and opportunity, none of which come from the above multibillion-dollar corporations.
Bernie’s stand against corporate “greed” — derided by Ms. Charen — has filled his campaign coffers with money from the common folk. Having the most donations translates in my mind to having the most supporters, and that means the most votes. Even the DNC has to realize this “honest, sincere” politician has staying power because he reflects the political will of the most of us. Even the DNC must know that our deeply divided country is threadbare in the middle.
And while Ms. Charen points to Bernie being a millionaire as hypocritical, I must suggest that all our older congressional reps fit that category. So this charge, too, is gratuitous. But she omits any reference to Bernie’s intense commitment to addressing climate change; she ignores his commitment to ending overwhelming racial disparities throughout the fabric of our society; and she omits reference to his willingness to take on a bloated military sucking up our national wealth in the cause of endless war and suffering. These issues are far more worthy of discussion than claims that he sees the world as a “zero sum pie.”