Black Lives Matter vs. Bernie Sanders
This is why, as progressives, as liberals, as people trying to fight the good fight, we STAY losing. We stay too busy trying to fight the small skirmishes, fight the little battles, fight the inconsequential wars and then stay home when it really matters.
The latest example comes from some Black Lives Matter activists shutting down a campaign rally by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. He was there to speak about some of his campaign issues, specifically, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicare. He was shut down by activists who refused to let him even speak. I don't understand it, and it's counterproductive. Then, I saw a Facebook post that seems to encapsulate the defense of these activists:
#BernieSanders needs to get with ghe program. While we as young black people understand what he has done in the past, and we are well aware of the Medicare and Medicaid system and its affects on our elderly family members of color. Bernie needs to understand that his speeches aren't addressing racism. Until he addresses racism and how the system he wants to change was built on that notion, #BlackLivesMatter will continue to interrupt his rallies. He is the only one talking the talk and #BlackLivesMatter wants him to walk the walk. He can and we hope that he does because he could win the election with a landslide. We will see how this plays out...
Bernie Sanders needs to "get with the program"? Maybe it's me, but if I recall correctly, Sanders was "with the program" before most of these activists were even born. As for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, this response is the epitome of being short-sighted. EVERYONE can be potentially affected by cuts in any of these programs. A simple Google search can help explain the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. While Medicare is a program that assists senior citizens, Medicaid assists poor families, period. And these activists are shutting down one of the candidates who has always defended these programs. Then, this person says that Senator Sanders' speeches don't address racism. If they were serious about confronting Sanders' stance on racism, then they might want to visit his site to see where he stands on the issues. And here is just a snippet:
- We must demilitarize our police forces so they don’t look and act like invading armies.
- We must invest in community policing. Only when we get officers into the communities, working within neighborhoods before trouble arises, do we develop the relationships necessary to make our communities safer together. Among other things, that means increasing civilian oversight of police departments.
- The fight for minority voting rights is a fight for justice. It is inseparable from the struggle for democracy itself.
- We must work vigilantly to ensure that every American, regardless of skin color or national origin, is able to vote freely and easily.Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act’s “pre-clearance” provision, which extended protections to minority voters in states where they were clearly needed.
- We must expand the Act’s scope so that every American, regardless of skin color or national origin, is able to vote freely.
- We need to ban prisons for profit, which result in an over-incentive to arrest, jail and detain, in order to keep prison beds full.
- We need to turn back from the failed “War on Drugs” and eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between black and white people.
- Knowing that black women earn 64 cents on the dollar compared to white men, we must pass federal legislation to establish pay equity for women.
- We must prevent employers from discriminating against applicants based on criminal history.
Then, the writer admits that Bernie Sanders talks the talk, but the activists want to see him walk the walk. Maybe it's me, but demanding that arguably one of the most progressive, left-leaning candidates "walk the walk" while admitting that he "talks the talk" is counterproductive. You want him to address racism, but then you shut him down to the point that he can't even speak about ANY of the issues, let alone racism.
The activists promise to interrupt the campaign rallies. But here's what gets me. They are shutting down someone that is arguably on their side, while letting the people vehemently OPPOSED to them off the hook. We just had a Presidential debate that featured a Kid's Table debate and a prime-time debate. Not one activist tried to shut them down. One of my friends posited that it's because these kinds of activists wouldn't be let near a Republican campaign event. But because Sen. Sanders grants them access, they will use that access to disrupt the event. Again, this is counterproductive, because if Bernie Sanders starts restricting access, then what have we won? Who have we convinced about the issues?
This kind of ideological purity is what kills us every time. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. We saw it when some progressives stayed home from the 2010 midterm elections, and it allowed the Tea Potty to gain the control it has now. Why? Because President Obama had not walked on water as part of his first term. We see it again when the President is heckled... BY PEOPLE HE INVITES TO THE PROGRAMS... because he's not... what... behaving like a benevolent emperor and eliminating problems with a wave of his hand?
Someone on Twitter replied to my question by saying that the BLM activists don't like Hillary Clinton, either. To my knowledge, I haven't seen a Clinton event shut down by some of these activists. And to a bigger point, if this were a matter of simply "not liking the candidate", then they should be chasing EVERY GOP CANDIDATE across the country with pitchforks and torches until these problems are erased.
So, who are we going to go after and shut down: The guy(s) on our side that doesn't say EXACTLY what we want to hear, EXACTLY when we want to hear it, RIGHT THEN AND THERE, or the guy(s) that openly stand AGAINST the things that we stand for, and dare us to do something about it?
It should be a simple choice, but apparently, it's not.