I support Bernie Sanders for President, but I’d also be okay with Hillary Clinton. Martin O’Malley too.
Compare any of them to the Republican candidates, and the difference is amazing. The GOP sees a country with a tiny government that’s run “like a business.” The land is surrounded by walls and barbed wire.
When I close my eyes, that’s not the country I see. I see Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. I see the Rocky and Smoky Mountains. We have been given so much to begin with: fields and growable resources. We have minable resources: dig under Lake Erie or the city of Detroit, and you’ll find the largest salt basin in the world.
We have unprecedented resources entrusted to our care. They belong to our kids, not to ourselves. We’re supposed to use what we’ve been given, but we have to protect and conserve.
What we do as a country is organized by the American government. It isn’t like a business, where the most important decisions are made in the secrecy of a covert board of directors. We have a government that discusses all sides of issues. Our decisions are made in a public forum.
When I close my eyes, I see the Hoover Dam and the Interstate Highway system. Both were started during Republican administrations (Herbert Hoover, Ike Eisenhower), and they are grand creations that benefit lots of people and businesses.
I see the tiny computer chips that power everything from cars to cell phones. We have tiny technology because of NASA. They had to make everything tiny and low powered so they could send explorers to the moon.
The American government gave us the Internet. It was started as a reliable way for defense and military groups to communicate. Because it was governmental, the Internet belonged to all of us, and we shared it with the world.
When we get together to do massive projects, we employee thousands of workers. Infrastructure is good for business, tourists, workers.
All of those achievements happened before Ronald Reagan, who changed our national conversation. Pres Reagan said government was the problem. In a nutshell, his approach made grand dams impossible. His legacy is a nation of rusting bridges and potholes because maintaining infrastructure requires feeding the evil government. He wanted to make government tiny and run like a business. Corporations had their foothold in Washington DC, and corporations got busy doing the only thing they’re really good at: making money for the owners. Screw the employees.
Mr Reagan changed the conversation back in the 1980s, and little has changed since his administration. America crumbles as corporations have fed fat-cat wallets instead of infrastructure.
Here’s the bottom line: when our presidential candidates close their eyes, only Bernie Sanders sees the same things I see. Is there a way to twitch a witch’s nose and make wholesale changes to the US? Yes there absolutely is. The first step can happen on the first day of a Sanders administration. He will immediately change the conversation, and that’s the only way to start remembering the real strength of the grand experiment I call home.