Today, the movement triggered by Bernie Sanders’ 2015-2016 Campaign for the Democratic Nomination gets a lungful of fresh air. Yes, he will run.
The 2019-2020 Campaign for the Democratic Nomination will be nothing like the last one. Nothing. Totally different! Except for one thing. The players on the field remain the same.
American Politics is defined by money. It’s sort of like high school baseball. A tour bus rolls in and kids from the only private school in the district pour out, prepared to do battle with their economic inferiors. Usually, the rich kids dominate the league, benefiting from years of perks & privileges they’ve enjoyed since their first game of T-Ball.
But not always.
Make no mistake, “we the people,” are the working/servant class kids from the wrong side of the tracks, in a new kind of town where the tracks make a tight loop around the pinpoint center. Feudalism in Europe appears to be a popular template for the Neo-American Nobility. Sadly, this state of affairs is becoming more and more accepted as a natural result of human nature. Inevitable, even.
But, is it?
That’s the million answer question! Or is it? Some may disagree with me, and surely many will leap valiantly down the proverbial rabbit hole, loudly and proudly extolling the virtues of doing so, but I have another suggestion. Skip the trip and take the long view. Back it up a bit. Make an L with each hand, twist one wrist, lift them to your face, and try to fit the whole picture into that limited frame. It’s not possible, is it? Even if you could see everything in front of you, there’s behind you, to the side, over that nearby hill, beyond the far off mountain, and out of sight beyond the horizon. You can’t see the whole picture, by yourself. So, before you get led astray by those who promise to lead you to “the answer” somewhere in them thar woods…take a breath. You are not alone.
In 2015-2016, most Americans (and a surprisingly high number of non-Americans) saw deeply into the bowels of American Corporate Politics. It’s ugly down there. Who needs to do that again? It’s not like there’ll be a patch of vivacious and healthy microflora around the next intestinal curve. The guts of the current system are inflamed, polluted, malfunctioning, and diseased…a perfect mirror of the effects our Old Narrative culture has had on the planet. Mucking around one second more, is a waste of a good second.
Remembering is not.
March’s Top 3 Fave Lessons Learned from 2015-2016:
(1) Learn as fast as you can, then move on. Repetition isn’t progression.
(2) Distract me once, shame on you. Distract me twice? Well…
(3) Homo Sapiens on Planet Earth need a New Narrative.
When people apply these lessons to life, they make very different choices. How will I engage on Facebook? Will my neighbors believe what they read on the front page of the newspaper, while sucking down their morning coffee? Are the voices flowing through my car speakers, as I commute to and from work each day, worth listening to? When I tell my child what matters in life, what will I say? More importantly, what will I believe myself, and why?
Without even thinking about it, the average Homo sapiens tends to surround him or herself with the thoughts and opinions of others, who we then agree with or rail against, only to do it all over again the next day and the next and so on.
We don’t need all of that. I certainly don’t. And our children? Gah! Absolutely not. What we all need is fresh, creative ideas that offer a balance between learning from the past & imagining a truly new and better way of living together on this planet.
The Old Narrative balances precariously upon a foundation of fear, scarcity as normal, and war over resources as inevitable. This Old Narrative has driven us to great feats and hideous horrors, for close to 10,000 years, but it is not our natural state of being. Despite the ugliness that gets so much attention, our better side is far more prevalent. Why do we ignore the good? Because the only way you can convince 99% of the population to maintain a system that creates insane wealth & power for 1% of the population…is through that Old Narrative. Once people realize there is enough for everyone, and that the vast majority of us would be much happier working side by side (rather than competing against one another), our motivation to maintain the status quo fades away.
Just imagine what Homo sapiens could have done, with the cheapest and best source of energy our planet had to offer us (fossil fuels), if we had worked together for the last 200 years? I’m not bothered that we discovered coal and oil and natural gas. I’m super sad that we squandered it! What an incredible waste of a beautiful opportunity…but, that opportunity isn’t totally gone. We still have an insane amount of technology, raw resources, and HUMAN INGENUITY available for our use.
So, let’s use it. Let’s dream the big dream. Let’s see the Old Narrative for the failed collection of social constructs that it is, existing only in our shared imaginations, and let’s use that powerful imagination for what it’s meant for! Dreaming up a future worth living.
Can we? Yes. Absolutely. We can and we will. Here’s why.
Homo sapiens are primarily altruistic, communal beings. Our dark side only comes out under duress or in times of fear. In the Old Narrative, “Fear is King,” making us vulnerable to personality politics, justifying inhumane treatment of other sentient beings, and promoting the ridiculous ideas that money equals worth and there is no option other than sacrificing those who are “other than ourselves.”
When Homo sapiens feel safe and secure, we see happy faces, parents cuddling with children, drivers stopping for ducklings in the road, grandmothers knitting sweaters for their grandchildren, husbands loving their wives, people working together on mutually beneficial projects, and so on. When Homo sapiens face a challenge – and if they trust one another – they will solve that problem by working together. Every time.
We only turn on one another when we lack trust, and that is functionally the definition of fear = lack of trust. If someone is encouraging you to distrust other people, they are promoting the Old Narrative. Xenophobic? Old Narrative. COPS television show? Old Narrative. News footage painting an entire nation, race or religious group as scary, violent or anti-us? Old Narrative. Welfare moms robbing us blind and poor black children as super-predators? Old Narrative. Economic “experts” insisting that “competition is the only way” to have a thriving society? Old Narrative.
Resources are scarce, it’s natural to have an economic hierarchy, so get out there and make sure the you end up on the top of the heap? Old Flippin’ Narrative!
Only in the realm of human imagination, could Homo sapiens believe that this abundant, robust and regenerative planet doesn’t have “enough.” On Earth today, scarcity is almost always a manufactured condition, designed to give those who claim to “have the scarce resource” a leg up on those who mistakenly believe “they must fight one another for a piece of the pie.”
The Bernie Sanders movement is all about changing the narrative. Asking the heretical question, “What if that isn’t true?” What if, by working together, life will get better for all of us? What if, faith and brotherly love really are the keys to Peace on Earth?
It’s going to take a lot of re-thinking for Homo sapiens across the planet to accept that most of what we believe to be real is just a time-honored collection of social constructs existing within our collective imagination. It’s going to take LESS effort for Millennials to see through the veil, behind the curtain, through the fog, and so on…while the elderly seem to vacillate between wistfully remembering how their grandparents lived and their ego-preserving desire to believe that buying into the Old Narrative was a good idea.
But the children, and teens? They are the most fluid and flexible of us all! So, please, dear parents, teachers, coaches & mentors. Be careful what you teach them. LOOK at the global culture of European Imperialism (a cultural trait inherited by the USA) and see the death, decay and damage our Old Narrative has caused. Remember that we reap what we sow, and consider carefully what seeds you encourage the young to plant.
Humans competing against one another, is a dystopian theme. Books and popular Hollywood movies always frame dystopian stories as being “in the future,” but we have been living a dystopian reality for centuries.
It is time to stop. Reverse course. Re-evaluate. Re-value. Re-think.
It is time for a New Narrative.
Hi, March! Another good piece, well-written.
Away back when, the Yugo was promoted as the “car of the future.” It turned out to be junk promoted with hype.
In the world of manufacturing, having an ISO certificate is supposed to ensure “quality” from the beginning to the end of the design and manufacturing process. The difficulty with that narrative is that a company can claim to design and manufacture the world’s best junker of a car.. The company can claim it has an ISO certificate. That’s fine and good, but the company’s charter says that it will design and produce the world’s best junker, and it has the processes to ensure that the garbage coming off the line is just that, garbage.
Unfortunately for Bernie, Cortez, Harris and the rest of the Socialists on the Far Left, what they, and your compatriots are doing is repackaging the same, old junk, e.g.: Socialism.
Going way back to 1985, and even earlier with his active participation in the promotion of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega and others. Most recently, he failed to denounce this ideological soul mate,
Iihan Omar, for her obviously anti-Semitic Tweets….difficult to understand from a Brooklyn-raised Jewish person.
“Earlier on Thursday, Jewish Insider reported that Sanders was asked about Omar’s tweets on a conference call hosted by James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute and a former member of the Democratic National Committee’s executive committee.”
“I talked to Ilhan last night to give her my personal support,” Sanders was quoted as saying. “We will stand by our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
“The Minnesota Democrat, along with her appointment to the Foreign Affairs Committee, drew the ire of House Republican leaders because of a 2012 tweet (that was also deleted), in which she accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world.” She then sparked more outrage with tweets criticizing the influence of pro-Israel lobbying groups,” and, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”
The difficulty with this supposed “New Narrative” is that it is Bernie’s brand of Socialism re-packaged to eliminate that term to make the ideology more palatable to the uninformed.
“Sanders the Socialist was partly the creation of an Associated Press night editor trying to spruce up a 1981 election story on the unlikely victory of an independent mayoral candidate in Burlington. “Are you really a socialist?” the man from the AP asked in a telephone interview. When Sanders said, “yes” without hesitation, the ballad of Bernie was born.”
Research is a fine thing.
Best always, Paul
Thank you for your comment. I do think it’s hard for anyone to be perfect. Whether you are Ilhan Omar, speaking openly about the unacceptable power wielded by the Israeli Government, or the descendants of European Jews who faced genocide and then became the dictators themselves (over the poorly placed Palestinian People who mattered little to the European/USA powers who needed a landing spot for Holocaust Survivors post-WWII).
I only studied the bible for a year, when I was 16, so I can’t be sure it’s true, but my impression is that Jesus teaches us to accept our imperfections, seek forgiveness, and hopefully be “man or woman enough” to offer the same to others. This idea has been with me my entire life, which is partly why I think I am a happy person. I see good in all people, and wonder at the injuries that cause poor behavior, before I step into a place of judgment. (I hope that makes sense.)
As for the idea that socialism is simply being repackaged, that’s like saying that adding chopped apples to your huge, green salad is essentially repackaging an apple pie. Not so, imo. The apple pie is a dessert, with a crust and sugar and apples. The salad is many other things, with raw (rather than cooked) and unsugared apples tossed in for tartness and flavor.
Recently, and you’ll think this is funny, I was playing a game of PUBG with some online friends. It’s a first-person shooter game where people from around the globe get teamed up and run around a map trying to kill everyone else. I actually have won a lot of game, a la, “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner,” and I meet some amazing people. (I’ve made it a point to play the computer games my sons play, so I can more fully understand their perspective on the games, which has so far included years of playing Minecraft, League of Legends (I mained Teemo top and mid lane), and now PUBG.
This one evening, I was playing with three men in their 40s or 50s who I have friended on Steam and play with fairly often. One of them was asking me how I felt about “Socialist Bernie,” then another asked what he meant by Socialism, and our friend said, “There’s only one definition of socialism.” Which, by the way, Bernie Sanders does not promote.
Anyhoo, at this point, I responded by saying, “This is planet earth. It’s a huge, complicated world with as many definitions of something as we, the people, can come up with. Socialism was originally defined in one way, but it is evolving.” My friend, who is most definitely NOT on team Bernie, agreed.
So, I’ll respond to your comments in this way.
In our current system, we have a small class of super-wealthy businesspeople and bankers. They finance most of the politicians, keeping the political parties under their control, so legislation, tax laws, and regulations in the USA are friendly or beneficial to their interests. Their highest goal – to make as much money for themselves and their class, as possible.
In Bernie Sanders’ worldview (I believe), we would have a huge class of middle-class Americans, with the occasional extremely wealthy people who would pay very high taxes, returning the money of their countrymen back to society through government processes. We would finance politicians with our taxes, removing inherent bribery from the system, allowing the people equal access to serving our nation AND allowing the voting citizenry equal access to the ideas offered by those wishing to serve. Legislation, tax laws and regulations of the country would be beneficial to the interests of most Americans because of transparency and full access to political service.
Campaign finance laws are a serious issue. For example, in the current system…if I want to run for a position within my state legislature, I have to figure out which groups (with money) I can appeal to (for financial support) so I can get my message out (through paid ads) to the voters in my region.
And I’m not willing to do this. Why? Because the people I want to support are mostly NOT wealthy or connected enough to offer me that financial backing. So, I’d have to bend over backwards and sell out to people I don’t honestly agree with…for a check.
And so it goes. What I prefer is…A New Narrative.
The question is, what would you like to see, Paul? What do you think is working well, and what isn’t? If you could share your thoughts with the entire country, and know that everyone was going to listen for 5 minutes…what would you suggest?
In my mind, a New Narrative INCLUDES all of us people thinking about how we can propose ideas. Being brave enough to come up with an idea, knowing people may not like it or it may not happen…and sharing it anyway. Take the plunge, the risk, the opportunity and say, “Here’s what I think would be a great idea.”
My husband just sent me and a few of our friends an email which said, “In case you missed it” in the subject line. It was information about the Cohen Hearings.
My answer: No, I’m not missing it. I’m intentionally not giving my life, my time, my thoughts to the Cohen hearings.
I already know we have a crook in the Oval Office. In fact, we’ve had corrupted people in there for awhile. Hillary would have been a NIGHTMARE, imo, without the benefit of the country realizing it, as she’d have enjoyed the “Wow, we have a woman president, surely she can do no harm.” (eye roll) At least with Trump, the people of our country and the world are energized!
However, more to the point…since there is NOTHING I can do about it, consuming ongoing negative media coverage isn’t going to do me or the world any good. Instead, I’m focused on the things in my life (and my community) where I CAN have a positive impact.
A New Narrative for me (and many) is…put your energy where it will be effective, because obsessing over wrong-doing and expressing outrage might feel good, but it’s not accomplishing much.
So, back to you. What are your ideas, for making life in our country moral, ethical and better for all?