Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign Starts In Vermont.

by Jerry Alatalo

“[Business and finance are] unanimous in their hate for me – and I welcome their hatred… I should like to have it said of my first Adminstration that in it the forces of selfishness and lust for power met their match; I would like to have it said of my second administration that in it these forces met their master.” (Campaign speech, 1936; quoted by Justice Douglas)

– FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT (1882-1945) 32nd President of the Unitese States

Burlington, Vermont - USA (photo: go100percent.org)
Burlington, Vermont – USA
(photo: go100percent.org)

Alphabet The people of Vermont gathered on the waterfront in Burlington, where Bernie Sanders began his political career as mayor, to hear him deliver a speech about why he is running for President of the United States. For presidential historians, the speech most likely reminded them of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Some excerpts from Bernie Sanders’ speech:

“Today with your support, and the support of millions across our country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally. Today we stand here and say loudly and clearly: Enough is enough. This great nation and its government belong to all of the people and not to a handful of billionaires.”

“Brothers and sisters, now is not the time for thinking small. Now is not the time for the same-old, same-old establishment politics and stale inside-the-beltway ideas; now is the time for millions of working families to come together to revitalize American democracy, to end the collapse of our middle class, and to make certain that our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy a quality of life that brings them health, prosperity, security and joy – and that once again makes the United States the leader in the world in the fight for economic and social justice, for environmental sanity, and for a world of peace.”

“My fellow Americans, this country faces more serious problems today than at any time since the Great Depression, and, if you include the planetary crisis of climate change, it may well be that the challenges we face now are more dire than at any time in the modern history of our country. And here is my promise to you for this campaign: not only will I fight to protect the working families of this country, but we are going to build a movement of millions of Americans who are prepared to stand up and fight back.”

“We are going to take this campaign directly to the people in town meetings, door-to-door conversations, on street corners and in social media. This week we’re going to be in New Hampshire, we’re going to be in Iowa, and we’re going to be in Minnesota – and that’s just the start of this national campaign.”

“Let me be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders; it’s not about Hillary Clinton; it is not about Jeb Bush, or anyone else. This campaign is about the needs of the American people and the ideas and proposals that effectively address those needs. As someone who has never run a negative political ad in my life, my campaign will not be driven by political gossip or reckless personal attacks. This is what the American people want and deserve. These are serious times – we need serious debates.”

“Politics in a democratic society should not be treated as if it were a baseball game, a game show, or a soap opera, and I hope the media understands that as well. Let me take a minute to touch on some of the issues that I will be focusing on in the coming months, and then give you a brief outline of an agenda for America. An agenda which in fact will deal with the serious problems and lead us to a better future.”

“Today we live in a nation which is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but that reality means very little for most of us because almost all of the wealth is owned and controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. In America we have more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on Earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time; it is the great economic issue of our time; it is the great political issue of our time, and we will address it.”

“Let me be very clear, and let the top 1% understand this. There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, and when 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%. There is something profoundly wrong when in recent years we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires at the same time as millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and we have shamefully the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country.”

“There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth in this country than the bottom 130 million Americans. This grotesque level of inequality is immoral, it is bad economics, it is unsustainable. This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change, and as your president, together, we are going to change it.”

“My fellow Americans, let me be as blunt as I can and tell you what you already know. As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court decision Citizens United, the American political system has been totally corrupted, and the foundations of American democracy are now being undermined. What the Supreme Court said, essentially, was that it was not good enough for the billionaires to own much of the economy – they could now own the United States government as well, and that is precisely what they are trying to do.”

“Now, what I learned in school, an I think what the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country have long-known, that American democracy is not about billionaires being able to buy candidates and buy elections. It is not about the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson and other incredibly wealthy individuals spending billions of dollars to elect candidates who will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer. According to media reports, if you can believe it, the Koch brothers in this election cycle are prepared to spend more money than either the democratic or republican parties.”

“That is not democracy – that is oligarchy. In Vermont at our town meetings we know what democracy is about, and that is ‘one person, one vote’, and that is the kind of political system we are going to fight for and are going to achieve.” 

… “If we don’t get our act together and have the United States lead the world in combating climate change there will be more drought, more famine, more rising sea level, more ocean acidification, more extreme weather disturbances. As human beings who look out over this environment, who appreciate the beauty that we have on this planet, we are not going to allow the fossil fuel industry to destroy this planet.”

“This campaign, starting today, is going to send a message to the billionaire class, and that is: ‘you can’t have it all’. You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in the country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs abroad while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. To the billionaire class, I say that your greed has got to end – you can’t take advantage of all of the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities. And that is why we need a tax system which is fair and progressive, which tells the wealthiest individuals and the largest corporations that they are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.”

“When we talk about power, we talk about Wall Street. In my view it is time to break up the largest financial institutions in this country. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island onto itself gambling trillions in risky financial instruments while expecting the public to bail it out. If a bank is too big to fail, that bank is too big to exist..”

“…we must be focused on campaign finance reform and the need for a constitutional amendment to overturn this disastrous Citizens United decision. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I will not nominate any justice to the Supreme Court who has not made it clear that he or she will move to overturn that disastrous decision which is undermining American democracy.”

“And that is why I as president will fight to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lower interest rates on student loans.”

“I am vigorously opposed to an endless, perpetual war in the Middle East.”

“And to those who say we cannot restore the dream, I say look at where we are standing today. As some of you will remember, this beautiful place was once an unsightly rail yard that served no public purpose and was an eyesore. As mayor, I worked with the people of Burlington to help turn this waterfront into the beautiful, people-oriented public space it is today. We took that fight to the courts, to the legislature, and to the people and we won. The lesson to be learned, and it is a profound political lesson, is that when people stand together, when people are prepared to fight back, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.”

“We can live in a country where every person has health care as a right, not a privilege. We can live in a country where every parent can have quality and affordable child care and where all of our qualified young people can get a college education regardless of their income. We can live in a country where every senior can live in dignity and security, and not be forced to choose between food and medicine. We can live in a country where every veteran who has put his or her life on the line to defend this nation gets the quality health care and benefits they have earned and deserve. We can live in a country where every person no matter their race, their religion, their disability, or sexual orientation realizes the full promise of equality that is our birthright as Americans.”

“Brothers and sisters, that is the nation we can build together. And I ask you and people throughout this country to join us in this campaign to build a future that works for all of us, and not just the few people on top. Thank you again for coming out on this beautiful day. Thank you.”

What separates Senator Bernie Sanders from Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush is that he is the only one of the three who has used the term “billionaire class”. Ms. Clinton and Mr. Bush can no longer ignore wealth inequality in the United States – the highest level of inequality of any major nation on Earth, and an issue of great concern for tens of millions of Americans. If Ms. Clinton and Mr. Bush – with Senator Bernie Sanders in the race for president in 2016 – choose not to honestly address this central, serious issue, the number of voters who were leaning in their directions and voting for them who change their minds to support/vote for Bernie Sanders may become historic.

****

(Thank you to Vermont PBS at YouTube)

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign Starts In Vermont.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s