People want to get back the things that we seem to have lost such as: security in the form of jobs that last a lifetime, pensions that don’t disappear (pouf) (thank you, Rachel), social security we don’t have to feel guilty about, medical care that we can afford from cradle to grave, ascendancy on the world stage, no environmental ax hanging over our heads, and no illegal immigrants taking our jobs and using our tax dollars.
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both promise that they can deliver these things although, I assume, using totally different methodologies. Donald Trump’s alleged ‘plain-speaking’ hints at an agenda that will keep America mostly white and speaking English. If will be an America that employs all citizens who can work and an America that is feared and therefore respected around the world. He believes that building an enormous military force armed to the teeth with the very best weapons willing to fight anytime and anywhere will insure that our nation remains a ‘safe space’ for American citizens.
But Donald Trump is a true patriarch and, as a CEO, he is used to being large and in charge. His governance sounds much more like a dictatorship than an exercise in the checks and balances as set forth by our forefathers in our Constitution. Donald Trump sounds like the candidate you might want if you need to answer the question “who’s your Daddy”. How much freedom do we give up as citizens if we let Donald Trump set things right for us? Will our losses equal our gains? He tells us what we think we want to hear, but can he deliver? Does just having a big mouth and a flamboyant, overly confident personality win the day around the globe? Will our enemies be shaking in their boots or will they resent us returning to our interfering and often mistaken ways.
Bernie Sanders offers us many fine things, rights that working people in other advanced nations have already won, rights that support people who work, especially women (although increasing numbers of men find themselves in need of at least the parental rights); things like universal pre-K, family leave, sick leave, closing the disparity between male and female pay, between rich and poor. Bernie Sanders seems to favor turning illegal immigrants into an innovation advantage through education and programs that ferret out people with special talents or abilities or high levels of intelligence. Bernie Sanders is mostly focused on America’s economy which is certainly where we would like to have power focus right now so that the middle class does not continue to lose ground. What is Mr. Sanders foreign policy? At least Bernie will fight to keep our planet healthy. Will he be overcome by the socialist label which he does not seem to mind, but which most Americans fear (or have been taught to fear)?
Electing Bernie Sanders would be like electing the best union organizer of all time. We have never had a union organizer as a President. It sounds like Bernie Sanders is a very democratic socialist and will not take us to places we do not want to go. However, we have to ask ourselves if the state of our current finances and the extreme opposition to left wing reforms that benefit workers who don’t seem to have jobs, is practical and doable and a road that will lead us to prosperity, or if this too is just what the media is calling “magical thinking” and Bernie’s agenda is really just a fine example of promises that cannot be fulfilled. Boy, I hate to think that that is true. Perhaps instead of giving up on these kinds of middle class rights we need to choose someone who will take baby steps until the economy and our rights reach a peak at the same moment. It is really hard not to want it right now, but we have some other people in America who need a leader who will also fight for their rights. Can Bernie fight on all the fronts we need to fight on right now?
Donald Trump’s focus seems to be on forces outside of America and Bernie Sander’s focus seems to be on forces inside America. I like some of what each has to say, although, of course, I lean more towards Bernie Sanders. I like that Trump says he will make America great again, but, in truth, I do not agree with any of the ways he will go about it. Each of these candidates suggests the possibility of instant answers and that I cannot believe in. It appears to me that our culture and our economy is in a transitional age, which is why Americans cannot decide whether to be cautious or bold, inclusive or isolationist? We will, most likely, wend a careful path through some kind of middle way if we can ever get our nutty relatives on the right to make sense again.
We need training; we need education. If we are going to be a nation with fewer public jobs and fewer corporate jobs, we need to raise a generation of entrepreneurs schooled by people who already know the ropes. One reality show called The Apprentice is not nearly enough to get us an America full of thriving small businesses that succeed and grow into big businesses.
I am a proponent of a classic curriculum, of what used to be called the liberal arts (before liberal became a ‘suspect’ word and before ‘political correctness’ limited free speech and thought). I am, however, open to the argument that perhaps a liberal arts education is a ‘frill’ right now for those who need to go right out into the world to work. This means we need all sorts of educational environments from schools to one-on-ones and we need all kinds of programs from skill training to college degrees to apprenticeships. As far as I know the world will need people who can fix things for many, many years to come and we will need even more of them than the number of geniuses that we will require (although can a culture ever have too many geniuses). I tend to believe that education and small business and public programs are the ways out of our current impasse.
By Nancy Brisson