|Bernie Sanders, in Burlington, Vermont, from an article in The New York Times|
When I read The New York Times on Thanksgiving, I was struck by an article on Bernie Sanders' first successful political campaign, as Sanders ran for Mayor in Burlington, Vermont, and won. Here is a link to the article, which is titled "Sanders Forged Idea of Change Inside City Hall." Actually, that is the title I found in the hard-copy edition that showed up on my front walkway. Online, the article is called, "Bernie Sanders vs. The Machine." The article focused on Sanders' campaign for Mayor, outlines a theory of political change that is most definitely not "parlimentary," or "partisan." I think it has a lot to tell us about how we could change our politics today - and how that would be a huge improvement.
I have some positive feelings about the presidency of Barack Obama, but anyone who cares about putting the "people" over "party," in the politics of our nation, probably understands the following comment by Sanders, which indicates why he regards the Obama presidency as a lost opportunity for the restoration of democracy in our country:
Throughout the 2020 campaign, Mr. Sanders has sounded like an echo of his younger self ... He has pledged to campaign in even the reddest of states against lawmakers who oppose his ideas, including against conservative Democrats. It is a method of governing untested in the modern presidency.
Mr. Sanders suggested in the interview that the last Democratic president, Mr. Obama, would have done well to apply relentless pressure of the kind he envisions, rather than seeking “middle ground” with Republicans.
“Obama ran one of the great campaigns in American history — a brilliant campaign,” Mr. Sanders said. “Do I think he should have maintained that grass roots support and activism in his first term, in a way he did not do? Yeah, I do.”
Mr. Sanders said he had discussed the subject with Mr. Obama in a private meeting. “He will tell you that it’s harder than it looks, which it is,” he said.
He declined to elaborate on the details of their discussion. But asked whether Mr. Obama had raised any doubts in his mind about his theory of power, Mr. Sanders answered in a word — “No” — and pointed to Burlington.
“At the end of a few years,” he said, “a sleepy political city became one of the most politically conscious and progressive cities in America.”
If I am not for myself, then who is for me? If I am for myself alone, then what am I? If not now, when?