Letter: Support Bernie Sanders

Vote for the clear progressive choice

(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

By Will Harmer, Letter Contributor

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Our Revolution at the University of Massachusetts is proud to endorse the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign. We look forward to canvassing, phone-banking, discussing and ultimately voting to elect progressives at every level. For the steering committee of our chapter, it’s both an easy and an odd choice to endorse. Half of us held positions on the Elizabeth Warren 2018 senatorial campaign and we staffed a campaign office for the senator-turned-presidential candidate. But when Sanders declared, we didn’t wait a second: we began tabling for his campaign. For us, there’s a clear choice. It’s not even a question.

Sanders got involved in politics starting with participation in anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, hearing the words of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial and getting arrested protesting segregation in Chicago. As a Congressman, he lobbied to fund community health centers, which are managed and run by their patients and located where medical personnel are few and far between, the uninsured too many to count. As thousands die due to lack of care, these facilities will never turn anyone away due to their inability to pay. Now, with his Medicare-for-All proposal, healthcare will be a right for all Americans, allowing the sick to follow their doctor’s orders, rather than be subject to an insurance broker’s signature or veto. He never had to ‘evolve’ on gay rights, arguing against homophobic laws as early as 1972. As mayor, he helped pass gay anti-discrimination ordinances. As a Congressman, he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, even as centrists and conservatives formed a coalition of homophobia. Regardless of what level Sanders has worked at, his proposals have been boldly radical and prescient.

Bygone are the days of centrists relegating approximately a third of Black children to poverty, demanding queer votes for yesterday’s bigots and all too eager to accept young people’s political activism only to give back high-interest student loans. They decry the Green New Deal as too costly, yet it seems that for them the climate can keep changing as long as shareholder wallets keep growing fatter. Instead, Sanders places climate change at the center of his foreign and domestic policy as shown in his proposed decoupling from the barbarity of Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen and murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a federal jobs guarantee to revitalize our economy and his support for the heart of Rep.Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal bill.

Further, his career is replete with fights for a more diverse array of policy-makers. From supporting the historic presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition in the 1980s to today with his early support for such progressives as Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor in our history. For his 2020 campaign, his team is historically diverse; there’s no reason campaigns shouldn’t look like their voters. There’s no coming-around needed for Sanders, he’s been fighting for decades. Now if we fight for it, he can continue from the presidency.

If you are interested in working toward this vision of an intersectional progressive movement, come to Our Revolution UMass Amherst’s meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.at Greeno Sub Shop in the basement of Greenough Hall.

 

Will Harmer

Treasurer of Our Revolution UMass Amherst