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Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:06 PM

Demo-rant

“The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason, and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American society. It will belong to those who see that wisdom can only emerge from the clash of contending views, the passionate expression of deep and hostile beliefs. Plato said, ‘A life without criticism is not worth living’.”
-- Robert F. Kennedy


One of the most important -- and encouraging -- parts of the recent Democratic primary debate was when Senator Bernie Sanders said that he wants to institute major changes in our party. He spoke about increasing the registration and participation of two groups in particular: working class Americans, and young people.

The working class target audience includes both those who do not participate in politics, and those who vote against their best interests. Young people are a population that historically does not engage in large numbers, unless there are inspirational candidate with inspirational campaigns. These simple truths indicate that the party’s establishment has failed to expand the Democratic Party’s base in a way that would result in our being able to win far more elected offices -- from school boards to the White House -- than we have in recent decades.

The best current illustration for this tension between what the Democratic Party currently is, versus what its true potential is, can be found in the campaigns of the two primary contenders. The Clinton campaign sincerely believes that Hillary is the best candidate, because they are convinced that the establishment will continue to remain the same, with corporations exercising near-full control of the economic-political-social reality of our nation. The Sanders campaign sincerely believes that Bernie is the best candidate, because he represents the manner in which “we, the people” are supposed to experience economic-political-social power.

It is not surprising that those who have run the Democratic Party for years would be suspicious of “new” people coming in, and saying that things are going to be different. Yet, unless they want things to remain just the same, then change is necessary. Thus, it’s no surprise that the establishment wing of the party has some resentment towards those advocating change -- for that change not only implies power-sharing, it demands it.

Those with the most power -- which today translates to the most money and the most comfortable positions -- have the most resentment towards the concept of change. They would be happy to have millions of new registered voters, so long as those votes were cast to maintain and reinforce their comfortable positions. But, as soon as new ideas and bold projects are proposed, they will fight against it. Indeed, the stronger the advocacy for change is, the harder the establishment will fight it …..often harder than they fight their republican opposition.

The new ideas and bold projects that Bernie Sanders proposes do not frighten me. I’ve been a registered Democrat my entire adult life. I’ve voted for the Democratic candidate in virtually every presidential election. Many of the things that Bernie advocates aren’t “new” -- such as free public education. Even the concept of “socialism.” And that’s not limited to Social Security.

My maternal grandfather was a patriotic American. Indeed, I have a copy of a photograph of him on Parris Island, where he was a DI, which used to be on the cover of a Marine Corps training manual. He fought in WW2, both in Europe and the Asian theater. The injuries he sustained impacted him for the rest of his life.

My grandfather worked in construction, including as a stone-cutter. He cut the stone that the Statue of Liberty now sits upon. He also drove heavy equipment, and was among the millions of citizens who helped build modern America.

He and my grandmother loved politics, and were Democrats. Yet, in their workplaces (Grandma worked in a factory in Binghamton, NY), both were union activists. More, both were socialists. In their day, there wasn’t any conflict, at the grass roots level, between being a Democrat, union, and a socialist activist. In fact, they went hand-in-hand, as offering the best chance of enhancing the quality of life in America.

I can, of course, only speculate: but I think if Grandpa was around today, he’d be campaigning for Bernie Sanders.

Thanks for reading my rants!
H2O Man

12 replies, 822 views

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Demo-rant (Original post)
H2O Man Feb 2016 OP
MisterP Feb 2016 #1
H2O Man Feb 2016 #4
Octafish Feb 2016 #2
H2O Man Feb 2016 #5
Kip Humphrey Feb 2016 #3
H2O Man Feb 2016 #6
Kip Humphrey Feb 2016 #7
H2O Man Feb 2016 #9
Kip Humphrey Feb 2016 #11
Jefferson23 Feb 2016 #8
H2O Man Feb 2016 #10
Sensitive soul Feb 2016 #12

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:11 PM

1. WalMart, Goldman Sachs, and General Dynamics!

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Response to MisterP (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:20 PM

4. Right!

Thanks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:14 PM

2. The nut graph...

Thank you for putting it into words, H2O Man.

The best current illustration for this tension between what the Democratic Party currently is, versus what its true potential is, can be found in the campaigns of the two primary contenders. The Clinton campaign sincerely believes that Hillary is the best candidate, because they are convinced that the establishment will continue to remain the same, with corporations exercising near-full control of the economic-political-social reality of our nation. The Sanders campaign sincerely believes that Bernie is the best candidate, because he represents the manner in which “we, the people” are supposed to experience economic-political-social power.


Democracy is the enemy of Tyranny.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:23 PM

5. "Democracy is the enemy

of Tyranny." Well said!

Bernie is challenging much more than the establishment of the Democratic Party -- as you know as well as I -- and power doesn't concede power willingly. It will take true democratic action to restore that power to where the Constitution of the United States intended it to be.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:18 PM

3. What a great grandfather! Would have loved to have met him.

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Response to Kip Humphrey (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:30 PM

6. He was a character.

One of my favorite memories was the day that, when I was planning to go to college, and he told me about how he had decided to study to be a minister when he was my age. He said that after taking a few years of studying the bible and theology, he decided that the "sins" he was learning about were just too interesting, and that he was determined to commit them at least once.

His favorite author was Mark Twain, and he insisted that I needed to read a lot more of Twain's writings than Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:37 PM

7. curious... I too once studied to become a minister. Did he fulfill his quest vis a vis sins?

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Response to Kip Humphrey (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 03:34 PM

9. Good question.

I think that Grandpa was always troubled by his experiences in WW2. While he was fully convinced that he had done what was necessary, the brutality of it took a bigger toll than the physical injuries he sustained. I think he identified his service as his exposure to "sin" and "evil," although by the time he returned stateside, he was an atheist.

Although he didn't talk about those experiences, literally until he was on his death-bed, he did do a lot of drinking, and had a temper, after the war. It changed him.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 03:36 PM

11. The WWII generation (my dad included) was like that.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:42 PM

8. +1 If you're not getting paid to write, you should be. K&R

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Response to Jefferson23 (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 03:35 PM

10. Thank you!

I appreciate your kind compliment. I'm happy to be able to add my writings on this forum, and have others like them.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 03:48 PM

12. i do

like it when you combine the subject matter to the experiences of your families real life.

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