Bernie Sanders on the Berning Issues

Bernie Sanders on the Berning Issues

I struggled with what to title this post. It is not enough to discuss criminal justice reform. It is not enough to discuss immigration reform. It is not enough to support equal rights for men, women, and the LGBTQ community. It is not enough to stand for those marginalized by the religious right. It is not enough to support healthcare as a right as well as living wages. Social Justice encompasses all of these issues and more.

This post is the first of a group that will clearly and hopefully concisely express Bernie Sander’s views, proposals, and actual actions on the issues that are impacting America. At times I will contrast him with other candidates but for the most part he will be the focus. The goal here is to clear up the lies being spewed by the media and other candidates on his electability and what his plans really mean for us, the American people.

Social justice is a big umbrella and a bunch of important issues fall under it. One of these issues is criminal justice reform. Yesterday the grand jury in the Sandra Bland case chose to not indict anyone for her death. Bernie Sanders spoke out bravely about her story when it came out and met with her family without publicizing the fact or trying to gain points off of it. Below is his statement on the grand jury decision and it is worth the read.

“Sandra Bland should not have died while in police custody. There’s no doubt in my mind that she, like too many African-Americans who die in police custody, would be alive today is she were a white woman. My thoughts are with her family and loved ones tonight. We need to reform a very broken criminal justice system.” Bernie Sanders

This is a bold statement for an underdog in this campaign. He has been rebuffed by all the pundits and vilified for his ideals by some as well. Yet he marches on as he did so many years ago with Martin Luther King Jr.

Bernie Sanders has also issued a comprehensive plan for criminal justice reform. This includes but is not limited to demilitarizing the police, establishing community policing, requiring body cameras for police, as well as training in de-escalation techniques. A change in the code among police officers that allows for and gives good police officers the tools necessary to report the actions of the bad police officers. He made made clear that police forces should reflect their communities diversity in an attempt to help resolve the racism in our justice system.

“We must address the lingering unjust stereotypes that lead to the labeling of black youths as “thugs” and “super predators.”

Stereotypes like the ones that Hillary and Bill Clinton helped perpetuate. People of color need to understand that no matter how cool the Clintons have appeared to be they are not for people of color and have not been for a long time.

“They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel and the President has asked the FBI to launch a very concerted effort against gangs everywhere.” Hillary Clinton 1/25/1996 C-Span

No longer, will this tough on crime approach be tolerated. Criminal justice reform must include the overhaul of the failed War on Drugs. When the right is admitting it has failed you know it really has. Bernie Sanders is clear on the need to legalize marijuana. It is not simply about legalizing a drug but about taking purposeful steps to end the era of mass incarceration.

Black and brown youth are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and receive longer sentences for drug offenses despite data that show that people of all ethnicities use and abuse marijuana at among the same rates. He is against the death penalty as well and cosponsored the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that eliminated the five-year mandatory minimum prison term for first-time possession of crack cocaine.

He has also as a senator introduced legislation to end private prisons for federal prisoners. Bernie Sanders has no contributions from the private prison or private detention sector and is therefore not invested in their high recidivism rates. He also supports stopping local governments from relying on fines, fees or asset forfeitures as a steady source of revenue because this disproportionally impacts poor communities and minorities.

Bernie Sanders has committed himself to investing in mental health care. As a mental health care worker and advocate it is refreshing to hear something other than blame for the over 43 million Americans that suffer with mental illness. It is past time for the stigma to end. It is time for resources to be allocated to minorities and low SES individuals that need mental health care more than they need to be locked up. With Bernie Sanders we can have a president that will commit to getting people help rather than stick them in the pipeline that leads to jail over and over again.

“We need to invest in drug courts as well as medical and mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that people  with addiction do not end up in prison, they end up in treatment.”

Criminal justice reform is just the first step, this segment will continue with the rest of the social justice issues that Bernie stands for as well as the other important issues impacting America today. Feel free to share it with the Bernie doubters, especially the ones that think that people of color have some sort of blind allegiance to Hillary. We owe her and any other politician NOTHING. Any support for Bernie is based on our research and our own reasoning.

 

 

 

 

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Why Some Feminists are Choosing an Old White Guy over Hillary

Why Some Feminists are Choosing an Old White Guy over Hillary

Much has been made of the possibility of America’s first female president, especially coming on the heels of our first African American president. Hillary Clinton has capitalized on this, as well she should in her debates, speeches, etc. She has called herself an outsider based on her gender. This is an interesting point which I disagree with wholeheartedly  but there is some truth there.

I recently came across an article on Feministing, DEAR NEW YORK TIMES: THE REAL REASON YOUNG FEMINISTS REJECT HILLARY that sought to make clear why Feminists, young ones in particular do not support Hillary Clinton. Certainly the clear take away is that we are not uneducated and apathetic. We have not had it “too easy” as some would say. Most important to me is the disrespectful nature of some HRC supporters to the people of color that support Bernie Sanders. It rings so similar to what Republicans say about democratic voters and their justification for gerrymandering. That being said this feminist supports Bernie Sanders for a myriad of reasons.

  1. Women of color like myself are intersectional feminists therefore we understand things like institutional racism and how they are structured through policies like that which HRC has supported re: welfare reform (TANF), and the fact that she has used racially coded language bothers us.
  2. On immigration Hillary has been all over the place. Is she as bad as some of the republicans? Absolutely not, but at times she has sounded like one. “I am adamantly against illegal immigrants.”  “People have got to stop employing illegal immigrants. [in NY] you see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work & construction work & domestic work.” (Nov 2004)
  3. She has also been against Central Americans fleeing the violence of their countries and has been clear about wanting them deported to send a message. This is said without any acknowledgement of America’s meddling in the political affairs of Central American nations. She does not mention her role in supporting a military coup against a democratically elected president in Honduras that had worsened the instability of the nation.

  4. While Hillary does support overturning Citizens United, her relationship to the case makes it messy. She will continue to look as though she is just trying to cover herself from her many enemies as a long term politician. America will benefit from corporations no longer being able to fund politicians and a candidate who speaks to that with integrity and actions is more likely to make that clear. Supporters of citizens united say its about guaranteeing free speech and that without it unions will just get a volunteer army versus spending millions but that is the point. Its a lot harder for the Koch brothers to get a volunteer army than it is for them to spend their millions. And at the end of the day, people should work to get those they believe in elected. That is they way to end apathy and promote engagement. If politicians want to increase voter turnout, they should support overturning Citizens United.
  5. Hillary supports overturning Citizens United but her top donors are corporations. There is a lack of transparency there and to millennials drowning in student loan debt or working multiple jobs to avoid that scenario the hypocrisy is repugnant. Yes repugnant, it actually is just too much to stomach. We are not an entitled generation. Everyday i speak to millenials that struggle to find work after college even with graduate degrees and certifications etc. We do not have an appreciation for a politician that can only function within a corrupt system. It is the status-quo and if Bernie was not running a populist campaign funded by the people maybe we would look the other way but that’s not reality thankfully.
  6. Millennials are the ones giving their lives in this perpetual warfare state. The 18-30 group make up over 60% of EVERY division of our military, from Marines, to Coast Guard, so when jokers like Huckabee say things like we need to earn our own freedom it stings, but it also makes me mad. When Hillary gets just as hawkish as the Republicans and defends America’s interventions around the world that have hurt our economy, cost us lives, and not accomplished anything inherently useful it is a problem.
  7. Democrats are at a crossroads. Should they continue to move to the right to score some moderates, and get more support from corporations, or should they dive in and go to the left. I say left, and here’s why. If we disagree with the republicans and we are the party for the people then we need to support policies that will benefit the people. This means an end to pretending that corporations will have everything they want and an acknowledgment and acceptance of the human toll that position brings. We need to support industry and entrepreneurship but not at the cost of lives. We should not subsidize the healthcare of employees when their CEO’s are living it up. America needs to stop with the rugged individualism and understand that there needs to be a give and take, and contrary to what the GOP is saying Corporations are doing all the taking, including of the environment. This needs to stop. A revolution will mobilize the people as it has begun to do, but status quo politics will not. The Democratic party needs to change or get left behind. Otherwise they are at risk of making the US a three party system which is a problem for them but not necessarily for our country. Sanders is not the only politician tired of where our politicians are and in time there will be more, will the Democratic party lose in order to stay true to what exactly? It doesn’t have the best history but it claims it is for Americans. This hasn’t always been true though, Dems have voted to keep refugees out, voted for CISA and more that does not and will not help America. What Bernie has touched on is bigger than this two-party system and admittedly himself. It is time for structural change and if feminists see value in that, that means feminism has grown and that is something to be proud of.

Feminists are a varied group. I will not try to speak for us all, or even the young ones, or the people of color. What I will say is that we are capable of finding out for ourselves where candidates stand and where they have moved from. On social issues the Dem side is similar but one candidate has been there longer. On economic issues, a progressive far-left “Socialist” makes sense because we have already tried socialism for the rich. It is time to try it for the working people of America, who should be called Middle Class, but because of failed policies too little qualify. Because we deserve an education, because wanting to help others with therapy, medicine, education etc is not selfish and entitled, they are just as important and necessary as a trade, which costs a lot by the way. There are many men and women at work in blue collar jobs  trying to pay down that vocational diploma.

To conclude, do not generalize us as needy, or ignorant. We are educated, independent, social justice warriors. We raise families, work, support those less fortunate and want to see America restore its moral standing more than its fictionally weak military standing. We want to see our vets treated and treated well. We want to live in a world that works for us as long as we put forth the effort to make something of ourselves. We value integrity in a candidate just as much as experience. This and more is why I will vote for another old white guy instead of Hillary Clinton.

 

PS: I’ll wait for Elizabeth Warren.

The problem with the Planned Parenthood Videos

Everyone by now has heard of or seen the videos of Planned Parenthood officials or their affiliates discussing fetal tissue. These videos have revitalized evangelicals, especially in combination with the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage. Whether or not evangelicals are oppressed is for another day, today I want to discuss why this is something that is changing the conversation around abortion. Planned Parenthood has stated over and over again that abortions only make up 3% of their services and that donation of fetal tissue is a legal procedure.

Those facts aside, I believe that these videos have appealed to the ambivalent feelings many individuals have about fetuses and abortion in general. Data show that Americans support a woman’s right to choose and Planned Parenthood in general, even after the videos have come out. The intellectualized ideas of pro-choice vs pro-life can seem simple when not presented with discussions of limbs or beating hearts.

The issue with these videos is they only show one side of the equation. If you are going to appeal to the emotional side of voters there is a clear emotional component that reveals the importance of legal abortions. Recently Hillary Clinton, and others have remarked that this attack on Planned Parenthood is truly an attack on women and I have to agree. Here’s why. When you value a fetus over a woman you are devaluing women. When you demand to know a woman’s reasoning for her decision or force her to get and view an ultrasound in order to intimidate her you are dismissing and imposing your will on her. The notion that a womans body is a  public issue is one that needs to end. Especially because as many have said before, it is generally uninformed men making these decisions. I will include a few quotes to illustrate my point.

From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that down. REP. TODD AKIN

“it’s something God intended.” SENATOR RICHARD MOURDOCK

Let me vent for a minute…..These are elected officials! They are representatives of not only their constituency but our country. Republicans are so concerned with America’s standing in the world when it comes to wars and spending but not when it comes to educating themselves about the bodies of the humans that they are attempting to legislate on. Not only that but there does exist a clear separation of church and state since the founding of America so why is no one saying anything about debates that ask about conversations with “God” or representatives making decisions for the country based on their religion, especially when they are so blatantly flouting this core part of our democracy.

And finally a quote that is generally used by pro-lifers to affirm the importance of overturning Roe V. Wade. This is a flawed argument for the same reason stated above. Unless the woman is no longer a sentient being capable of making decisions how and why would you put a fetus’ “happiness” above in importance?

Just as a fly-by aren’t conservatives trying to defund a national organization that serves low-income communities, especially in states where conservative governors have passed laws effectively closing clinics where women can get other services that would prevent a pregnancy in the first place?

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson

Introductory Post

If you are new to my blog, Welcome. Currently, so am I. This will be a post that will hopefully give you an idea of the purpose of this special land that I am creating. This blog will serve as a vehicle of expression and analysis in which I will attempt to weed through topics that are of interest/importance to me. Fair warning, these topics will have a broad range from pop culture, news, politics and anything else that I feel needs to be discussed. Again, Welcome and feel free to participate.