Sunday, August 30, 2015
By Mel Carriere
I have to admit I wasn't much of a Bernie Sanders supporter at first. Yes, I will confess that the ugly "socialist" tag did scare me away, I suppose because we Americans are programmed since grade school to shudder, cringe, and run to our Mommies every time we hear that ugly 'S' word. But then I saw the way that Hillary was ducking and dodging the public and the media, acting like the mighty Queen Bee that has an inalienable right to the nomination simply because it is "her turn." Meanwhile, over there among the sweating masses I beheld Bernie mingling with the little guy, putting his own luggage into the overhead bin compartment as he flew coach, going down into the heartland of America where he harangued against the evils of trade agreements and generally became a thorn in the side of the political establishment. I enjoy thorns; I have a somewhat sadomasochistic fetish for them when it comes to my personal politics. And now that I see Bernie's own party trying to reduce him to irrelevance I like the guy double, because whenever media establishments marching in lock step with established political party agendas try to force feed me a candidate I always spew that candidate back up and make a really ugly mess over that nanny bib they are trying to put around me.
The good news is that the world has moved on from the days when media conglomerates were King and Queen makers. Now we have social media, which admittedly has turned a lot of us into narcissistic zombies who can't separate our smart phones from our anatomy, but has also given us the power to choose our own leaders, if we choose to accept it. We can either use Facebook and Twitter exclusively for our cat photos and drunken semi-nude selfies, which I don't necessarily object to unless you are a 300 pound flabby dude in a thong, or else take a break from this unhealthy self-absorption to let our political views be expressed there as well. For the first time in American History, I contend, we the working stiffs have the power to nominate the people we think we will serve us, not the people that the corporate controlled establishment is trying to convince us will defend our interests.
There is no better example of this powerful sociological tectonic force reshaping the political landscape than Bernie Sanders. This even though the mainstream media still treats the guy like a fringe candidate, essentially ignoring the polls that show he has 30 percent of the vote in Iowa. Being in the heart of the conservative Bible belt, I think these Iowa results are significant, and I would bet Bernie is polling even better in places where heretical socialism is not regularly denounced on Sunday mornings by pulpit pounding toadies for the conservative agenda. But that kind of news about Bernie is hard to come by, because even so-called progressive-friendly media outlets are doing their best to reduce him to insignificance.
For instance, Friday afternoon I was listening to National Public Radio drone on about Hillary ad nauseam, until for fairness and balance they threw in some news about Joe Biden too. The Democrats are so desperate to appease their squirming corporate backers who wake up with soaking night sweats after "feel the Bern" nightmares that they are making a frenzied effort to get more acceptable Joe Biden to run so he can deflect votes away from Bernie. Finally, at the itchy ass end of the show, Bernie got about a ten second mention in the wacko slot usually reserved for Deez Nuts and Rick Perry, who actually trails Mr. Nuts in the polls, I believe. 30 percent of the vote in Iowa, breathing down Hillary's neck harder and more insistently than William Jefferson ever did or would, and Bernie still gets dismissed as an afterthought by the self-appointed King and Queen making pundits.
That's okay though, because now we have Facebook, and I think its a gimme that these days people spend more time scrolling through their Facebook feeds than they do listening to their Moms and Dads' boring news talk radio shows. The good news is that on Facebook Hillary is virtually non existent. She got off to a good start early in the campaigning season, but slowly began to fizzle into irrelevance as Bernie made his impact felt, not through slick focus group prepared media ads but by actually going down into the sweltering summers in the heartland of America and greeting people face to face with sweaty handshakes. Yes, campaigns can still be won by the stump speeches of yesterday, and when these stump speeches ignite a social media frenzy it starts a fire that cannot be contained no matter how hard Hillary tries to incorporate Bernie's platform into her own platform, which up until now has basically been "vote for Hillary because I'm smarter and better than you and it's my turn."
The question is, when does the Bernie smear campaign begin in earnest? When are the reports about unpaid parking tickets and all the times he didn't tip the waiter or farted in an elevator going to start to roll in? The ruling oligarchy does not want this man to be elected, because he says too many things we like to hear, and they will move heaven and earth to keep him from the nomination. And I'm not talking about Republican side of the oligarchy - the Republicans are ignoring Bernie right now as they focus on ways to get their own thorn in the side Donald Trump out of the public favor. I'm talking about the party faithful Democrats, who even right now are bugging Bernie's hotel room to see if he lets any offensive Gentile jokes slip.
By the way, I really hope that Trump gets the Republican nomination, because Bernie will smoke him.
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Image attributed to: "Bernie Sanders 1991" by US Government Printing Office - Congressional Pictorial Directory, 104th US Congress, p. 137. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bernie_Sanders_1991.jpg#/media/File:Bernie_Sanders_1991.jpg