Note to Millennials: Saying Doesn’t Make It So

I get why young Progressives are supporting Bernie Sanders. I’d be disappointed in them if they didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong. I completely support Hillary Clinton. I list my reasons in an essay published in July. My opinion hasn’t changed; it’s just become firmer: She’s tough, smart and tested. Plus it’s time.

But Bernie Sanders is saying the things that I love. Universal health care, free college, increase taxes on the 1%, these are all things near and dear to my heart.

But here’s the deal. These things are only amazing because no one has said them for a very long time. No one who is young right now knows that political life in America used to be full of big, ambitious, outrageous talk. When the wonderful Beyonce did her Formation yesterday at the Super Bowl with the Black Panther theme, well, guess what, there were once ACTUAL Black Panthers. There was the SDS, student radicals taking over university buildings, people stopping the Democratic National Convention, protests in the streets year after year that ended the War in Vietnam.

We had people talking about real income redistribution, change so huge and fundamental that it was impossible to get one’s head around it. Civil rights, ending poverty, ridding the world of oppression – these were things that were part of everyday discourse. You wanted to be part of the real world? You needed to lace up your boots and pick up your damn sign.

So in the past twenty or thirty years, we have politicians that are so worried about public disapproval that they operate in a box about two feet in diameter. If Barack Obama ever uttered the words universal health care, he’d have been impeached. Instead, he wove together the wacky quilt that is the Affordable Care Act. Am I glad we have ACA? Yes, you bet. Does it approach universal health care? No, sorry.

Radical talk is the stuff of scrapbooks in attics. I remember it. But young people in their twenties think that Bernie Sanders is the first person to have these radical ideas. Nope. You think it’s new but it’s just new to you.

So what have all us older folks learned since we marched and sat in? This is what we learned: saying doesn’t make it so. I love Bernie Sanders for saying all the wonderful things that I remember from the past. But saying them isn’t enough. We learned that the first time. It takes skill, stamina and smarts to make change. It takes the ability to move Congress, a fact that gets skipped over by Sen. Sanders and many others. A President doesn’t get to do whatever he/she wants; there is policy, budget, negotiation and compromise involved.

I don’t want a speech. I’ve heard the speech. The speech is not enough.

Sorry, Bernie Sanders supporters, I’m looking for action. I’ve waited long enough.


7 Comments on “Note to Millennials: Saying Doesn’t Make It So

  1. So much yes. I like Hillary for exactly the reasons these younger voters dislike her–that she can be cold and calculating. And that she’s practical. I want someone like that in charge! This year’s primary process makes me feel so old….

  2. I completely agree, it’s the whole Hillary package: her character, track-record, experience, knowledge of internatioal relations and personal networks both in the US and abroad. The latter might not sound as idealist as the Sanders platform, but it’s what’s needed to get things done. Look at Obama and how he got bogged down precisely because beyond his electrifying election rhetoric, he didn’t have Hillary’s extensive political connections and found things were far far tougher than expected

  3. Jan, you’ve said exactly what I feel. I have so many younger friends that are so “Bernie or Bust” and I find myself reminding them to be realistic. I feel like the jaded old broad trying to rain on their parade. I guess that is what I’ve become. I’m reblogging this and sharing it on Facebook. There must be a reasonable dialogue among Democrats or we face four years of Cruz. God help us.

  4. Wise words here. I’m disconnected from USA elections, being from the shithole of Israel. But what candidates say isn’t enough. I need their history, their profile. I want to know their character and what they did, what views they held, what views they changed and why.

    That demands research, however. Who needs to research when you can post funny twits? Research is boring.

  5. Today a friend more canny about politics than I stated that much as he likes Bernie Sanders’ internal policies, that he concentrates too much upon them and doesn’t seem versed in world politics and dealing with international relations. That seems so vital now and something in which Hillary is well-versed.

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