As a Canadian mom who loves politics, I can’t help but watch the U.S. election process with interest. And one candidate stuck out for me this year. Bernie Sanders.
As my southern neighbours voted on Super Tuesday to try and figure out the Republican and Democratic candidates for President, I wondered how Bernie would fare.
Some may have counted him out long ago. But he has rallied contagious support over the last few months.
Bernie was born in Brooklyn in 1941. His parents, both Jewish, had Polish roots. Some of his dad’s relatives were killed in the Holocaust.
As a student at the University of Chicago in 1962, Bernie and a number of other students camped outside the school President’s office protesting the fact that black and white students could not live together on campus. This was the first civil rights sit-in in the history of Chicago. Sanders also attended the March on Washington in 1963 where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech. And he was fined for resisting arrest in a demonstration that year protesting segregation in public schools.
In 1980, he ran for the role of Mayor of Burlington, Vermont as an underdog against a popular incumbent and won by 10 votes.
He was re-elected three times. In 1990, he became the first Independent to be elected into the House of Representative in decades and stayed in that role until he became a Senator in 2007.
He decided to run for President of the United States in the summer of 2015 and by the end of that year, he had raised $73 million from 2.5 million donations, with the average donation being $27. Talk about representing the people.
He believes in raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare, reducing student debt, making university tuition-free, decreasing the number of people in prison, reversing global warming, taxing the rich and strengthening the middle class.
He also considers himself a feminist.
Bernie said, “When we stand together, we will always win. When men and women stand together for justice, we win. When black, white and Hispanic people stand together for justice, we win.”
He said, “You’ve got the top 400 Americans owning more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans. Most folks do not think that is right.”
And he said, “Do the elected officials in Washington stand with ordinary Americans — working families, children, the elderly, the poor — or will the extraordinary power of billionaire campaign contributors and Big Money prevail? The American people, by the millions, must send Congress the answer to that question.”
As the votes are cast and tallied, I hope that the winners fight the good fight and bring the people together, rather than tear them apart. And whether Bernie is in the mix or on the sidelines, I hope some of the things he was championing find their way to the forefront of American policy.