Bernie Sanders shows compassion and authenticity

By Emilia Beuger

(Daniel Maldonado/Daily Collegian)
(Daniel Maldonado/Daily Collegian)

Although you may not agree with Bernie Sanders, at least respect him for his compassion and authenticity. The outspoken senator from Vermont is a lot of things, but he is truly a morally sound person.

When asked what he would want to be known for in one word, Bernie Sanders told Diane Sawyer, “compassion.” Compassion is exuded throughout Bernie Sanders’ demeanor and policies. He believes in being compassionate to people of all backgrounds and fighting against systems that do not show compassion toward people.

Much of what Bernie Sanders says resonates for a number of reasons. Some people agree with his politics, while some are simply inspired by his mission. While I’m drawn to Bernie for both his positions and his demeanor, I want to focus on his morals and attitudes, although they do impact his political leanings.

Sanders has been a supporter of equal rights for all. He has championed for the rights of women, black Americans and the LGBTQIA community. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr., staged sit-ins at the University of Chicago to protest segregation and defended the identity and rights of the LGBTQIA community on the House floor in 1995. Bernie is accepting of people of any religion, of any group, or any color. Bernie preaches love and tolerance as ways to treat others.

He is known as one of the nation’s poorest senators. He understands money should be used to help people live, but having excessive amounts of money is not necessary. When one has much more money than necessary, they should do their part to support others who do not have as much as them. He also does not want to let money influence him. He donated all of his earnings from his paid speeches to charity last year, and donated the proceeds from his book, about his eight-hour filibuster, to charity. His rejection of material wealth shows that he does not want to implicate himself in the system nor does he want wealth to control him. This behavior should be admired.

He wants people to be able to live. He believes that everyone has basic, fundamental rights as humans. He goes about his policies in this way, focusing on the necessities that citizens of the United States need. He wants people’s lives to improve because he believes the system is rigged toward a certain portion of the population. He believes in making life fairer for everyone and wants everyone to help. What’s wrong with wanting to help others and asking others to do the same?

Bernie Sanders went to the Vatican this past weekend to speak about the possibility of a worldwide moral economy. He spoke about the “globalization of indifference to the needy.” Bernie praised the humility of Pope Francis and that is something I think the two have in common. Bernie displays a humility that is not seen with the other presidential candidates. Bernie often speaks about the failing morals of the nation to not care for its downtrodden. People need to be cared for and Bernie expresses that. That’s why he was invited to the Vatican. Not because of his specific religion, but because of his moral compass that guides him through his life and his career.

He is authentic. He sticks to his beliefs and he is not afraid to express those beliefs. He is not going to let people tell him what to believe and he is not going to let people trample on others. He does not place a value on money nor does he feel that he is above other people because of his religious beliefs. He does not let anyone tell him what to say or think. He is a good person who cares about the world and the people in it. You don’t have to agree with Bernie Sanders’ policies, but you can’t argue that he is a good person who cares deeply for the welfare of all people and this country.

Emilia Beuger is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]