Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Young Americans willing to give socialist candidate a chance

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during the "Brunch with Bernie" event at the National Nurses United office in Oakland, Calif., on Aug. 10, 2015. (Aric Crabb/MCT)
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during the “Brunch with Bernie” event at the National Nurses United office in Oakland, Calif., on Aug. 10, 2015. (Aric Crabb/TNS)

I was away at school when Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders announced that he was running for president back in May. While the news certainly caught my attention, what surprised me even more was the wave of support that followed.

As I grew accustomed to seeing his name right next to Hillary’s in the polls, the reasons for his popularity became apparent – he addressed key issues head-on with an anti-establishment agenda unparalleled in mainstream American politics.

Since coming to UMass three years ago, I have become increasingly politically conscious. Late nights once devoted to Super Smash Brothers now often revolve around passionate political discussions with my friends.

Having recently become old enough to vote, I am engaging with American democracy for the first time. The practical flaws in the system and the incompetency of our elected officials immediately baffled me.

My friends and I had questions, and the political establishment could not provide the answers. How is a representative democracy really a democracy at all if the legitimacy of the candidates in the eyes of the public depends upon funding from corporate interest groups? How can representatives continue to deny the scientific evidence supporting the existential threat of climate change? How is the very principle of universal healthcare a contentious issue in a nation more than capable of providing it?

And then along came Bernie Sanders, a man asking the same questions as us, similarly frustrated by the answers and determined to affect positive change. The more he spoke, the more he seemed to echo the sentiments of a younger generation increasingly dissatisfied with a political system that is out of touch with the realities of everyday citizens and that has lost the spirit of the democracy the founders intended to create.

In late July I finally came back to my hometown where I saw my dad for the first time in months. He was a political science major, and I had been looking forward to talking to him about the candidates for the coming election. After briefly deriding the Trump-led field of Republican candidates (he’s an increasingly disenfranchised supporter of the GOP), I asked him, “What do you think of Bernie?”

“Pphaw!” he chortled. “Who cares? He’s got no shot. He’s a socialist!”

And that is as far as he cared to discuss the issue.

Suddenly I remembered why I had been so surprised by Sanders’ initial showings in the polls. He’s a self-avowed socialist, and for generations of Americans socialism has been a dirty word. Socialism equals communism, communism equals Stalin.

But what my dad failed to realize is that an increasingly large number of voters did not grow up during the Cold War. When many of us think of socialism, we do not think of tyrannical regimes or the loss of freedoms. We’re more likely to think of European countries where a college education is free and public healthcare is seen as a moral obligation.

As voters, we should all do our due diligence in educating ourselves on Sanders’ proposed economic policies. Some of us might well come to the conclusion that such a radical change in direction would actually be detrimental to our nation in an internationally capitalistic world. Nonetheless, a candidate seeking positive change in so many important areas deserves our consideration, and I’m proud to say that our generation seems willing to give him a shot.

Benjamin Clabault is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • R

    Ryan MSep 11, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Benjamin – it is good to hear you are beginning your interest in politics, although it is painfully obvious you are not yet educated on both sides of the most important issues of the day. You will NOT get that education at UMASS, unfortunately. What you are already getting is an indoctrination, not an education. It is said that Republicans are Democrats with experience. I have come a long way from my wide-eyed days as a UMASS undergrad where extreme liberal fancies are the order of the day.

    This statement exposes a fatal flaw: “When many of us think of socialism, we do not think of tyrannical regimes or the loss of freedoms. We’re more likely to think of European countries where a college education is free and public healthcare is seen as a moral obligation.”

    When you become a real taxpayer, you may begin to really understand that NOTHING is free. Those trillions in student loans underwritten by the gov’t? Taxes pay for that. Obamacare – taxes pay for that. Bloated Federal and State bureaucracies – taxes pay for that. Welfare programs – taxes pay for that. Credits and deductions of all sorts – taxes pay for that. Bonds to pay for projects – taxes go to repay bonds + interests. State and Federal pensions – taxes pay for that. State and Federal worker benefits – taxes pay for that.

    As it stands today, only 43% of working Americans pay Federal income tax at all. The top 10% of Americans pay roughly 90% of ALL taxes. In the Northeastern states, our income tax rates approach 10% for the highest earners. Local taxes in many places.

    In a nutshell – I am a UMASS graduate making 250k per year. Sounds great, right? I must be one of the rich guys, the fat cats! I am in the top 6% of wage earners nationally. My tax bill approaches 40% of my gross income, meaning that I essentially work from January 1 until Memorial Day before any of my money actually belongs to me. No matter that I have graduate degrees out the wazoo, worked my tail off while others were partying or working 9-5, or that I have a career that entails 60+ hours per week – down from 80 hour weeks for the first 12 year or so of my career. All that to afford a middle class plus life on par with my parents from a generation ago who made less than 1/3 of what I do.

    The point of this is that as a working American – of which there are fewer by the hour it seems, you have essentially 6 other American families on your back in terms of tax outlay. THIS is one of the reasons why so many people are outraged. Immigrants coming for benefits and to commit crime. Socialist policies destroying the fabric on which this country was built.

    NOTHING in life is free anywhere. And those European societies you so admire from the outside are on the verge of collapse with debt and on the verge of cultural breakdown/suicide with this latest wave of “migrants” from the third world. Consider that the death of the migrant child that motivated this latest push was actually caused by the child’s father, who was living in a safe environment but wanted to go to Germany upon hearing of better health benefits being “given away” (i.e. welfare). He essentially caused the drowning death of his own family.

    Ironically, the liberal and socially progressive policies espoused by Obama and the socialists actually make the society more tyrannical, not more free. Read up on the Constitution, learn how it is being abused in so many heavy-handed ways for the left to achieve its “righteous” goals, and you may just come to understand how much you are being manipulated into this self-flagellating, apologist, we are the world viewpoint by those who want to take from those who have achieved.

    This country is already on the most dangerous path to destruction: self-implosion. Dick Lamm was a former Governor of Colorado (Democrat). During an immigration-overpopulation conference in Washington, DC, filled to capacity by many of American’s finest minds and leaders. A brilliant college professor named Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, “Mexifornia,” explaining how immigration — both legal and illegal — was destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream.

    Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave a stunning speech on how to destroy America. The audience sat spellbound as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States. He said, “If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let’s destroy America. It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that ‘An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.'”

    “Here is how they do it,” Lamm said: First to destroy America, “Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. The historical scholar Seymour Lipset put it this way: ‘The histories of bilingual and bi-cultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy. Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans.”

    Lamm went on: Second, to destroy America, “Invent ‘multiculturalism’ and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal. That there are no cultural differences. I would make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds.

    Third, “We could make the United States a ‘Hispanic Quebec’ without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: ‘The apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved! Not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentrically and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.'”

    Lamm said, “I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America reinforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities.”

    “Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school.”

    “My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of ‘Victimology.’ I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population.”

    “My sixth plan for America’s downfall would include dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other – that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity! Unity is what it takes to keep a nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshiped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic Games.

    A common enemy Persia threatened their liberty. Yet all these bonds were not strong enough to over come two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell.

    “E. Pluribus Unum” — From many, one. In that historical reality, if we put the emphasis on the ‘pluribus’ instead of the ‘Unum,’ we can balkanize America as surely as Kosovo.”

    “Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits ~ make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of ‘diversity.’ I would find a word similar to ‘heretic’ in the 16th century – that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like ‘racist’ or ‘x! xenophobes’ halt discussion and debate.”

    “Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having established multi-culturism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of ‘Victimology,’ I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good. I would make every individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them.”

    In the last minute of his speech, Governor Lamm wiped his brow. Profound silence followed. Finally he said, “Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis’s book Mexifornia. His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don’t read that book.”

    There was no applause.

    A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew that everything Lamm enumerated was proceeding methodically, quietly, darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today. Every discussion is being suppressed. Over 100 languages are ripping the foundation of our educational system and national cohesiveness. Barbaric cultures that practice female genital mutilation are growing as we celebrate ‘diversity.’ American jobs are vanishing into the Third World as corporations create a Third World in America — take note of California and other states — to date, ten million illegal aliens and growing fast. It is reminiscent of George Orwell’s book “1984.” In that story, three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery,” and “Ignorance is strength.”

    Governor Lamm walked back to his seat. It dawned on everyone at the conference that our nation and the future of this great democracy are deeply in trouble and worsening fast. If we don’t get this immigration monster stopped within three years, it will rage like a California wildfire and destroy everything in its path, especially The American Dream.

  • E

    EliSep 9, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Nicholas, you are the best troll I’ve ever seen. Gay Satanic Illumanti cult of kubbalah communism, indeed.

  • T

    TomSep 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I really hope you aren’t serious Nicholas…. I don’t know how you go from the Soviet Union to Hitler to Bernie. Also the kubbalah is not the Jewish text, it is the Tanakh.

    But anyway, I just want to say thanks for a well written article and that I’m excited to see what can happen in the future as this new generation begins to make more of a difference throughout the world.

  • N

    nicholas letneySep 8, 2015 at 4:21 am

    I think the fact that all these mass murderers in the soviet union are practically all jews should make it so voting for bernie sanders is the equiavalent of voting for hitler or somone who supports hitler. I hear the media rant all the day about the holocaust but you dont hear a thing about the 14 million civilians lenin slaughter and lenin is now been proven to have been jewish. If you read the kubbalah which is the jewish religous text it says they need to set up a communist world government and rule the world and overthrow the government and have a world revolution. Then it says in karl marx’s book yes he support everything that’s in the kubbalah not only that but karl marx was in a gay satanic illumanti cult called the brimestone gang. Marx copied all the goals of the illumanti and put them in manifesto and all the communist come out every year may 1 st to riot because the illumanti was founded that day not only that but all these jewish communists are proven gangsters who stole money from the people and horded it all! Stalin was literally a jewish mafia boss its admited in the history books that he was a mafia boss before the war!