Evolving Peace

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Brunch with Bernie


A serene and calm Sunday morning, feeling more like the days of spring than the beginning of winter people of all types began to flow into the Old Socialist Labor Hall in Barre, Vermont. A natural setting for the first Socialist Senator in United States history, Bernie Sanders, to set off his monumental task of resetting the course of American policy. While listed as a Brunch with Bernie, this event was not the syndicated radio show with Thom Hartman but an actual discussion of issues reflecting Vermont and the country today. While Thanks and praises were given the notions of the continual campaign to bring about change was highly evident.

America needs a revolution in its political culture”, Bernie enthusiastically told the grateful citizenry like a pastor telling the congregation the tenants of morality. The crowd listened with intention and for a sense of hope and positive change. While Bernie has represented the State of Vermont for 16years as its lone House of Representatives member he is more than just the next senator of Vermont, he is “Bernie,” almost like a rock star or cult figure in stature. As a Senator now his status and platform has been elevated to a higher level. His words and passions will resonate louder than ever before, America the “times are a changin.”

So listening to Bernie speak about the magnificent job that the citizens of Vermont did by running a grass roots campaign to help him win the Senate seat by a landside of thirty-three percent, I reflected on the countless people I spoke to throughout the campaign. There are many citizens who will never get involved in the democratic process or even think of its ramifications on their own lives, but it is something I wished everyone would.

The problems of democracy hold true with the notion of apathy and the only way to counteract apathy is by action. As has been standard stock material for Bernie when receiving congratulations or thanks, he passionately says “NO YOU DID IT.” Some may say that Bernie is either modest or is a skilled politician using his speech as a way to captivate and command his audience, but I disagree. Either may be true, but truth of the matter is without the people’s support Bernie can not do it alone. Yes, Bernie is a populist but I see him listen to questions with passion and interest, not as a mere side show. So what Bernie has been saying is that we need a revolution by that we need involvement of people of all types. That involvement is by speaking out at your town committees, writing to the editor and voicing your voice where ever you go. Democracy is an act that comes 365 days a year not just on Election Day.

So very fitting for the location of the Old Socialist Labor Hall, Bernie lectured the crowd on Socialism. Socialism is the notion that government looks out for the week of our society. While there are those who still equate Socialism to Communism and Totalitarianism, nothing could be as far from the truth. It’s the opposite, socialism gives power to people who normally would not have been represented. As we can see in today’s US government we are far from having representation by the people.

Politicians are continually raising their war chests to obtain their positions. Too infrequently the majority of their money comes from the very wealthy or the corporations. So when we have energy bills written by the energy corporations, the pharmaceutical bills written by the pharmacy industry and solutions to fixing health care snubbed by the insurance industry it is not example of a representative government. Neither the bloated military budgets where policies of war trump any policy of social need does not represent the people. Instead the financial interests of those who benefit from policy are the same who support our elected officials. The United States Governmental policy has been moving further away from representational and closer to a rise of corporate fascism. Corporate interests are prioritized over the will of the people and that is not democracy.

The only way to overcome the abundance of money in politics is to be vocal and speak your truth. So when Bernie says we need a political revolution, he is not talking about waging armed insurrection or forcibly seizing control but returning the power of politics to people. World renowned linguist and political scientist, Noam Chomsky has stated that if you get ten people to believe in the way you do you have started a movement. That is all it takes, people and then more people. In America, today is it right that millionaires and billionaires receive tax breaks, corporations allowed to continually degrade our environment or honest people denied quality health care and the right for livable wages. I do not think so and am sure most Americans do not either. So while we have had a system of government that has not voiced those concerns, we must voice it ourselves. Government will have no choice when the people’s voice is louder than the money that controls it. We must use our voice wherever we go.

Peace
Robb Kidd

“Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit.” Abbie Hoffman

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