I am sitting here almost in tears. This is from 1989. From before I was born. Out of all the Bernie Sanders content I have been spamming you guys with lately, please, if you’re gonna peep just one thing, then let it be this. Even if it’s only the first three minutes. Please. I don’t care if you’re not American. It’s still relevant to you, because if America goes to shit, other countries suffer too. Sanders’ views have NEVER changed. He has been more consistent than all of congress combined. It’s like he is talking about 2015. Discussing the one percent. Money in politics. How fucked the Democrats and Republicans are. How Americans don’t care about politics anymore. Talking about NOW. In 1989. Surreal. Disheartening. So many people have lost their lives since this time. So many people have been suffering. Sanders has been sitting here the entire time, calling everything out, trying to change the system. Changing what he can in Vermont. And he announces his run for the presidency, only to be met with jokes from the media? To be told that he can’t win? That he’s too old? That he’s not classy enough? Well, guess what. He raised over $3 million from small donors across all 50 states within the first four days of his campaign. None of it came from big businesses. How much more convincing is it going to take for Americans to get behind change? I am in awe. This man is a saint. By definition. This is why I’m excited that he is running.
On Friday, December 10, 2010, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders walked on to the floor of the United States Senate and began speaking. It turned out to be a very long speech, lasting over eight and a half hours. And it hit a nerve. Millions followed the speech online until the traffic crashed the Senate server. A huge, positive grassroots response tied up the phones in the senator’s offices in Vermont and Washington. President Obama reportedly held an impromptu press conference with former President Clinton to deflect media attention away from Sanders’ speech. Editorials and news coverage appeared throughout the world.
In his speech, Sanders blasted the agreement that President Obama struck with Republicans, which extended the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, lowered estate tax rates for the very, very rich, and set a terrible precedent by establishing a “payroll tax holiday” diverting revenue away from the Social Security Trust Fund, threatening the fund’s very future. But the speech was more than a critique of a particular piece of legislation. It was a dissection of the collapse of the American middle class and a well-researched attack on corporate greed and on public policy which, over the last several decades, has led to a huge growth in millionaires even as the United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world. It was a plea for a fundamental change in national priorities, for government policy that reflects the needs of working families, and not just the wealthy and their lobbyists.
Finally, Sanders’ speech — published here in its entirety with a new introduction by the senator — is a call for action. It is a passionate statement informing us that the only people who will save the middle class of this country is the middle class itself, but only if it is informed, organized, and prepared to take on the enormously powerful special interests dominating Washington.
A mother and her son just came through my checkout line at work. Now this mother is clearly overwhelmed so I try to distract the kid- he can’t be more than 6 years old. I ask what his name is and he says “I’m Jensen!” and I kind of smile and glance at the mother who glances at me and we share The Look of Mutual Understanding and I wonder if this kid’s father knows his son was named after Jensen Ackles.