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The Year of Our Discontent

A Meditation on Bernie Sanders & Presidential Politics
Posted In:Politics, National, Candidates, Culture | By: | 10th June, 2016 | 0

The Year of Our Discontent

I’ve had it, at least with this topic - guess I’m just tired, sick of it all, and more than a little disgusted. Friends and non-friends alike have voiced real concern and even fear over all this but I choose to not live in fear. I will not be moving to Mexico or even Canada in the foreseeable future.

I honestly believe one of the great things about our system is that when we elect a leader it is WE the people who endow them with limited power and we can take that power away if we decide to. We have checks and balances that work. No one person gets into office, waves a magic wand and Presto!! (Or Expecto Patronum if you’re under 35) they fulfill all their campaign promises on the first day in office. So the truth is, it’s probably going to be ok…I hope.

When I think about the children in my life, I think about the qualities and values I hope they eventually have. I look at these kids and I want to tell them that no matter what anybody says, you have to believe in yourself, and don’t listen to the naysayers. When you’re fighting for what’s right, fighting against injustice, never give up. If you can avoid a fight by all means do so, but if you can’t you give ‘em all you’ve  got and don’t back down.

Be kind, never cruel. The only time you should look into your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure they have enough, not to see if they have more than you. Never judge people by the color of their skin (yes, we still have to say this) and don’t make fun or think less of people who are different than you. Help those who need help and remember to always give a little back. Don’t pick on the little guy…you have no clue what he’s going through. And someday the little guy might be you.

So regardless of what you think about his politics; at least for me, we had one candidate that embodied all of these qualities. They said a 74-year old Democratic Socialist Jew, with a thick Brooklyn accent and no name recognition, possessing  no Super PACS  and no big money, with no media savvy or even a slightly polished image, had ZERO chance in this election.

Then he went on to win 22 states. And he continues to fight for what he believes in and for what a lot of us believe in. That’s called tenacity in the face of adversity. Strength in the face of ridicule. Concern for the well-being of his fellow man. Sound judgement, even temperament, principles that are not-for-sale, character and integrity that are non-negotiable. Maybe I’m as crazy as “Crazy Bernie”,  but aren’t those the qualities that make a good leader? Doesn’t that define the characteristics we want to see in our grown children?

I don’t know what it means that Bernie lost to someone virtually nobody in the world trusts. Will it send a message to these kids to just “do what you gotta do” to get ahead and then lie through your teeth to save your own skin; or if you do something ugly and dishonest, just cover it up and keep covering it up until eventually we’ll forget all about it?

I don’t know what it will say to them if we elect a name-calling, playground bully who mocks the handicapped and tells his followers to “kick the crap out of him…I’ll pay your legal fees”. What kind of example does that set? “Hey, remember kids, you can get away with anything in this country if you’re rich enough…” or even worse “Rich guys get the hot chicks”.  

Are we telling them that money is the most important thing in life and everything is for sale, even the highest office in the land?

I guess my only choice is to look into those little faces, believe in those big hearts and hope they see what so many of the “grown-ups” in their world can’t: that no one gets a fair shake unless we all get a fair shake.

That it’s not “left vs right” or “us against them”, WE are all in this together. We are ALL brothers and sisters and we’re only here for a short time, so we have to take care of each other and help each other out.

Violence only breeds more violence and we should never be frivolous with the lives of others. Money should not be our God; and success should be measured in the contentment with our lives and not the size of our homes or bank accounts.

I have no faith in our presidential candidates; but when I watch the children in my life playing together, I have faith in them…so yeah…it’s going to be ok. 

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