Democratic Debate

The democratic debate this week turned into a clearly superior political event from what we have seen and heard from the other party in recent weeks. Perhaps it is because these candidates are experienced, or at least two of them are, at national politics, and because at least one (Bernie Sanders),  a substantive and clear advocate needs to be introduced to the American public and is willing to not just stand on his principles but to articulate them with no apology.

He also, by the way, seems to be a thoroughly decent fellow.

Dare I say, he reminds me of Ronald Reagan, someone most people would see as far ideologically from Sanders as Jack the Ripper was from the Pope.

But when we look at the reality in the United States from Reagan to Sanders, we see shades of extremism needing to be fixed, needing to be balanced, and it is typically those on the edge who lead us in the right direction, both domestically and in foreign policy.

Reagan and Gorbachev ended the cold war by agreeing that the impasse was draining both countries and producing extreme expenses to create the means to end the world. They were also realists, and saw that anything less than rapprochement would have consequences that would affect multiple generations. They also realized that they had a chance to turn the tide. And they had the courage and the confidence of their populations to do it.

Sanders, as a self-described “progressive” and “anti-capitalist” (I thought his framing it as “casino capitalism” was brilliant) might be just the ticket. We are on the edge of a society controlled by the financially elite, if we haven’t already gone over the edge. The only reasonable course is to “tear down that wall”….of unfettered influence, pretending that financial incentives are the only engines of innovation, and changing the rhetoric and financial influence.

I am indeed a capitalist, and created my own financial success in that cradle, but I was, thankfully, influenced by a mentor who advised me to make a decision about what was “rich” and what was “enough.” Since then, I’ve tried to strike that balance for my family and the society and causes I believe in.

I never believed that I would support a view that limited financial gains from innovation, but I have come to appreciate that financial gains, after a point of “enough” are phantoms, they will not satiate us…because they are symbolic at best. “The Land of The Free” does not mean the unfettered ability to put self-aggrandizement ahead of humanity….it means we are free to do either or both.  Some candidates don’t get that.

We are once again at an extreme, and it’s being reflected throughout the world,  where privilege and money create the reality you can expect. It is not only un-fair, it is counter to the natural order of things.

So right now, I’m foursquare behind Bernie.  Keep talking, bring people to you….there is always time to moderate. I respect you immensely.