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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Bernie Sanders returns to UChicago for recruitment drive
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond

This article shared 2882 times since Mon Oct 5, 2015
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Bernie Sanders provided a fair illustration as to why he is rising in the polls when he brought a sold-out house of principally 2,000 students to its feet during a Sept. 28 speech and brief Q&A delivered at the University of Chicago's ( UChicago's ) Rockefeller Chapel.

His appearance was part of the Road to 2016—a series of events held by university's Institute of Politics and marked another return for Sanders to his alma mater and the same building in which he graduated over a quarter century ago.

Sanders credited his days at UChicago and his activities off-campus as those which helped shape the man and his politics. "I learned a lot from folks who were involved and have been involved with decades of the civil rights movement, in the peace movement, " he said. "I got a job working for a trade union. I learned here about democratic socialism. A lot of that had to do with meeting people who have dedicated their entire lives in the fight for social justice and for making this world a better place in which to live and bring up our kids."

Noting that change never takes place from the "top down but always from the bottom on up," Sanders laid bare his platform in a declamation that increased by fiery degrees towards its crescendo. It was one continually broken with wild applause.

While acknowledging that, since the day he graduated, he has seen significant improvements made at the grassroots level in areas like racial justice and women's and LGBTQ rights, Sanders added that the work is far from over and he is on a recruitment drive.

"While we have made significant progress in making our country a less discriminatory society, there are major issues that confront us today and we need the idealism, energy and intelligence of millions of young people to join us in the fight to make America the kind of country we know it must become," he said.

Sanders highlighted the chasm between rich and poor as being chief among those issues. "Today in the United States, we have more income and wealth inequality than any other country on earth and it is worse today that at any time since 1928," he declared. "The very rich are becoming much richer and almost everybody else is becoming poor. We need your help in creating an economy that works for all people not just the one percent."

According to Sanders, among the consequences of that chasm are what he called a "broken the criminal justice system" and youth unemployment.

"We have over 2 million people [in jail] who are disproportionately Black and Hispanic," he said. "We are turning our backs on the young people of this country. The truth is that there are five and a half million young people hanging out on street corners all over America. If anyone thinks there is not a direct correlation between that fact and the fact that we have so many people in jail you would be mistaken. It makes a hell of a lot more sense for us to be investing in education and jobs rather than jails and incarceration."

Sanders also took aim at a phrase that has become synonymous with Republican rhetoric. "What they mean by 'family values' is that women in America should not have the right to control their own bodies, that out gay brothers and sister should not have the right to marry," he said. "I disagree. When I talk about family values I talk about ending the international embarrassment of the United States in America being the only country on earth that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave."

Sanders went on to name what he believed the quintessential devil in the corruption of American politics—the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission which essentially deregulated campaign spending and led, among other things, to the prevailing influence of superPACs. "American democracy is not supposed to be about billionaires buying elections," he said. "It is not supposed about superPACs having more power over a candidate's campaign than the candidate himself or herself."

After reiterating a campaign promise that, under his watch, he would ensure that any nominee to the Supreme Court would make overturning the Citizens United decision "one of their first orders of business," Sanders urged the audience to utilize their own power as young people to decimate that held by "corporate America and Wall Street."

"While they have the money and the power, we have something they do not have," he concluded. "We have the people."

The resulting ovation was protracted. Polling numbers which show an accelerating rise for the Vermont senator from the bottom 15 percent on up to now being seven points behind Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton indicate that support for Sanders not only resonated throughout the Rockefeller Chapel, but has across the country.

This article shared 2882 times since Mon Oct 5, 2015
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