Young Voice: Bernie Sanders isn’t a Socialist, and He’s What America Needs

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Adithya Raajkumar

By Adithya Raajkumar

CHELMSFORD, MA–Watching the debate on the 17th, the last before the New Hampshire primary, it was evident that Senator Sanders was going on the offensive. Seizing every opportunity to speak, he made himself heard, loud and clear. Successfully defending himself against Hillary’s accusations of flip-flopping on gun control, he exposed Hillary’s big money donors on Wall Street and relentlessly put forth his points about expanding healthcare, reforming education and justice, and going after large banks and corporations.

Adithya Raajkumar
Adithya Raajkumar

Yet many people think Sen. Sanders is a socialist, or even a communist. But he’s not, and here’s why.

First of all, Sanders has never called himself a pure socialist. Rather, he embraces what he calls ‘democratic socialism’, which is actually very similar to policies prevalent in many other developed countries, most notably in Europe. Switzerland, Sweden, Germany – these are all countries which fit the label of democratic socialism – and are very successful economically and socially. So he isn’t a socialist, and definitely not a communist – that’s just ignorant fear-mongering.

Furthermore, even if some of Bernie’s proposed ideas might sound socialist, such as universal healthcare, that doesn’t inherently render them unworthy. The Cold War is over – it’s high time we stopped throwing around ‘socialism’ like it’s a dirty, dirty, swear word. Instead, we’ve got to look at policies on basis of their usefulness, effectiveness, and potential to help all Americans – not whether they’re ‘socialist’ or ‘capitalist’.

Senator Sanders is consistent – unlike Clinton, he hasn’t flip-flopped on nearly every issue, especially immigration, which, as a first-generation Indian-American, hits close to home for me. Just over a year ago, Clinton supported deporting child immigrants, and in 2003, mentioned that she was ‘adamantly against illegal immigrants’. Yet, in November’s debate, she vehemently supported a pathway for illegal immigrants to attain citizenship. Sanders, however, has been reliable, as evidenced by his voting record: he voted against the Iraq War, against the 2008 bailout, against the Patriot Act: things which Hillary did vote for, only to denounce after they turned out to be unpopular.

Bernie Sanders is one of the only candidates, perhaps the only candidate, that has a chance of improving life for everyone in America. Nearly every other industrialized country in the world has universal healthcare and free or reduced-cost education – why shouldn’t we? It’s time to revolutionize education and fix our criminal justice system. As Mr. Sanders so eloquently pointed out during that debate, “Who is satisfied that millions of people have police records for possessing marijuana when the CEO’s of Wall Street companies who have destroyed our economy have no police records?” We, the people of this great country, cannot be – which is why Bernie Sanders is the best solution to American’s woes.

(Adithya Raajkumar is a high school senior from Chelmsford, MA. He is planning to pursue a career in political economy.)

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I read Adithya Raajkumar’s article endorsing Bernie Sanders as the best presidential candidate very carefully. I totally agree with him about Sanders being a good candidate and his plans and policies sound perfect for the majority Americans and also I agree with him that his being more like like a socialist is irrelevant in terms of his eligibility as a future president. That said, I would like to remind Mr. Raajkumar that being elected a president and the capacity to get things done in a Congress where the republicans will treat him as an enemy because of his leftist stance on all the major issues, are two different matters. He may not be able to change anything. President Obama had to face this problem severely as we all know.

    Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, knows how to work in that atmosphere and with the help and advice from her wise husband (one of the best presidents in the recent history of America) has a better chance to be successful in getting things done. Don’t forget she has been in the political scene all her life. No matter what your criticisms of her, she and Bill dedicated their lives’ work for the minorities of this country and they genuinely feel for the plight of the middle class even though they themselves may be rich. Bernie Sanders has his heart in the right place but Washington is a hot bed of party politics where idealism is not a tool which can work. We need a president who knows how to play the political games and is tough and resilient enough to work with the opponents who will put road blocks as often as they can. The fact that she changed her mind on several issues a few times as time passed does not mean a thing. In fact any human being with intelligence and flexibility should have the courage to change their views in the face of changeable reality. I have seen the presidential elections more than ten times in this country and I have learned that idealism and political success do not go hand in hand in this country.

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