Now stop me if you’ve heard this before. You are politely debating an old college bud or perhaps your old college bud’s nephew on American politics. He, being a true blue Bernie Sanders disciple, recites all the magical things Uncle Bernie is going to do for America once he magically overcomes a 7:1 delegate deficit and defeats Clinton. So you dutifully try to explain that socialism as a form of government goes against human nature and has never worked: To which he says “Oh, he’s not that kind of socialist.”
So Bernie Sanders graced Norfolk, VA with his presence yesterday and had a pretty good turnout among those that have nothing to do on a Tuesday morning. As if it isn’t strenuous enough trying to remind people who slept through 8th grade history class that socialism failed, now we get to endure the phoenix of failed ideology lecture us on how this time around is different. The first tack Bernie Bro will hang his hat on is the European nanny state. You try to explain that Sweden is not in actuality a socialist country, and most Scandinavian states have since rolled back on socialist policies, privatized industries and reduced regulation.
However, your friend is persistent and seems to think Sanders redefinition of the word is solely keen to social welfare that will help the poor. Looking back, let’s review some of the policies Bernie has supported. In 1981, Bernie Sanders attended what could be described by most as an Anti-America rally for the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua and later defied the federal government by adopting a “Sister City” there. In 1988 he spent his honeymoon in the former Soviet Union. During the 1980’s as the Socialist Mayor of Burlington, VT he frequently called for nationalization of private businesses including all television networks.
Somewhere between calling for state-run media and rubbing elbows with violent communists, Sanders managed to insult a crowd of fundraisers at a speaking engagement by declaring “I don’t believe in private charity… the government should do that.” Finally, the basic socialist plank is public control of the means of production. Although Bernie has backed off of seizing private property in his run for national office, according to writer Harry Jaffe “He believed that because he said it and I quote him as saying that.”
To recap, that’s supporting foreign communists, supporting confiscation of private property, endorsing a state-run media and promoting public control of the means of production. If this doesn’t resonate with thunderous assertion the main tenants of socialism (and more so communism) then what does?
My father once told me you are who you associate with, so choose your friends wisely. As of today, Bernie Sanders has three endorsements from current leaders for his candidacy, so perhaps they could lend some clue to what ‘kind of socialist’ Bernie is. Below are the three congressmen supporting Sanders.
- Raul Grijalva (D) is the representative of the 3rd District of Arizona. On the ideological map of all House members at GovTrack’s website, Grijalva is ranked farthest to the left. While attending the University of Arizona Grijalva was a member of the radical separatist group MEChA which openly advocated for the secession of the southwest states. He has bullied scientists in major American universities with accusations and threats because their views on climate change were different than his. Grijalva was the first to publicly blame the 2010 Gabby Gifford shooting on the TEA Party (although the gunmen had no connection to the group) and even promoted boycotting his own state in response to the immigration law SB1070.
- Keith Ellison (D) is the representative of the 5th District of Minnesota and co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) with Grijalva. Ellison has taken campaign contributions from the Council on America-Islamic Relations (CAIR) which members of his own party have accused of funding terrorism. Ellison has called for countess bills levying new taxes on financial transactions and has called for white citizens to pay reparations for slavery.
- Peter Welch (D) is the At-Large representative from Bernie’s home state of Vermont. Appointed by then Governor Howard Dean in 2001, Welch has received ‘F’ grades from several organizations such as Americans for Fair Taxation and the National Taxpayers Union. Welch, along with Grijalva and Ellison, have voted in favor of late-term and partial birth abortions. In 2012 Welch was implicated in the IRS scandal of targeting conservative groups.
So what kind of socialist is Bernie? Perhaps one could sum it up in the words of his hero, Vermont ‘s own John Dewey: “Democracies’ enemies are business for private profit through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by (private) command of the press, press agents and other means of publicity. The people will rule when they have power, and they will have power in the degree they own and control the land, the banks, the producing and distributing agencies of America.’’