Despair is not an option

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Source: Berniesanders.com

In this unprecedented moment in American history we, as progressives, are now engaged in many struggles.

We are trying to save the planet from the ravages of climate change; we’re trying to create an economy that works for all and not just billionaires; we’re trying to defend and improve American democracy against those who are moving us toward authoritarianism; we’re trying to create a public health care system which guarantees health care to all and protects us against future COVID variants; we’re trying to protect a woman’s right to control her own body against a reactionary Supreme Court; and we’re trying to address the horror of increased gun violence. Among many other things.

But, in the midst of all these struggles, we cannot simply remain on the defensive. At a time of obscene income and wealth inequality, outrageous corporate greed, and the growing concentration of oligarchic power, it’s important that we contrast our vision for the future of this country, our values, against those who wish to defend the status quo and our corrupt political and economic systems. In other words, this is not a time for tinkering around the edges. The American people are desperately hungry for a new direction — economically, politically, morally — and we must not be shy about demanding the bold and systemic changes this country needs. We must make it clear that:

Greed is not good. The growing gap between the billionaire class and everyone else is not good. Buying elections is not good. Producing carbon emissions and destroying the planet is not good. Starvation wages and the exploitation of workers are not good. War and excessive military budgets are not good. Making huge profits off of human illness is not good. Charging people the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs is not good. Having a corporate media which limits the scope of public discourse is not good. Monopolization of the economy is not good. Ignoring the needs of the most vulnerable – children, the elderly, and the disabled – is not good. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia are not good.

If we truly wish to make America great, we need to strive for an equitable distribution of both wealth and power. In the richest country in the history of the world we should end austerity economics and use the exploding technology to benefit all, not just the few. We should strive to be a nation that has eliminated poverty and homelessness, and where every worker has a livable income, the right to join a union, and increased influence on the job. We should have a political system which encourages grassroots participation, not one heavily influenced by super PACs and wealthy campaign contributors.

We should have the best educational system in the world from childcare to graduate school – accessible to all regardless of income. We should have a high-quality health care system where all people can walk into a doctor’s office without worrying about the cost, because the system is publicly funded. Instead of spending more money on the military than the next ten nations combined, we should lead the world in efforts to eliminate war and climate change.

I do understand that these are difficult times in so many ways, and that many Americans are demoralized and discouraged. But, as I have said many times, despair is not an option. We are fighting not only for ourselves. We are fighting for our kids and future generations, and for the well-being of the planet.

During the next several months I will be traveling around the country doing my best to bring people together in the struggle for economic, racial, social and environmental justice. I hope you will join us at these events and help make them successful.

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