Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Back to the Future

Bernie Sanders has changed me. No, I am not an American. No, I have no vote in the upcoming election. I am registered as neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I am a Canadian... but nonetheless, I have been changed by Bernie Sanders.

I’m not sure how it happened, but am equally unsure of why it doesn’t happen to more people. I find Bernie to be infectious, in such a good way. He is like the coming of spring, when we pull back the curtains, throw open the window, and breathe new life. I find myself taking mental walks in fresh fields, brimming with potential, seeing possibilities where none existed before.

(Yes, I know it's photoshopped, but
how could I resist?)
I wax poetic? Well, maybe. I admit that. But I also have to admit that I see ‘patriotism’ differently. It’s not waving flags, or wearing the Stars and Stripes, or in my case a maple leaf, on the arse of my jeans, or as a bikini top to cover my far-too-ample bosom. Love of a flag means nothing. Putting a hand over heart while reciting empty platitudes is insulting to others, especially if that is all you do. It absolutely is not a catchword to be used to justify sending young men and women to war that is intended only to benefit corporate campaign donors. ‘Patriotism’ is a love not just of country but of the people who live in that country – ALL of them; the poor, the sick, the challenged, the lost, and yes, especially those who would put on a uniform and protect the rest of us. It is respect for the people who make up the country, and a respect for their struggles and their sacrifices. It is a desire to see that the ideals that created the character of the country are attainable by everyone.

While I like to think of myself as progressive enough to not buy into the general social opinion of people, because of Bernie, I see that I can and should do more to ensure that this general social opinion changes. I didn’t think I looked down on the poor, or that I avoided people of a different culture, but I know now that I also didn’t do enough to make a difference to them. We all get wrapped up in the struggle to make it through another day when the corporate and institutionalized deck is stacked against us, but now I have a new appreciation of the fact that in order to make MY struggle easier, I have an obligation to help lessen those struggles of others as well.

We do need banks and corporations, but we do not need them voting in elections, while more of the people are shut out of the process. We do need oil companies, but they need to respect and be responsible to the people and the environment, not demand those entities continue to sacrifice that which is essential to life. We do need people who govern and who bring differing opinions and insights to the table, but we absolutely do not need those who care about nothing but their own bank accounts and raising money for the next election, and who will cut off their own noses to save their far-too-partisan faces. Governing should be about doing what is right not because of party lines, but because it is right, but right is a concept that has been totally sacrificed on the altar of maintaining power at any cost. Elections should not be about who has the most money. They must be about the ability, integrity and character of the person whose name is on the ballot, and nothing more. None of these revelations are new to me, but they are now, perhaps, seen with new perspective – through that newly opened window. Two months ago, I would have said no, it’s pie in the sky, but now? Hell yes, we do have it in us. We do have the strength, the conscience, the ability and now the means to see a change. 

So why do I care about who wins the election in a country that is not mine? The close proximity is one reason. The fact that our economies are so closely linked is another. But the real reason is because we see this hatred, strife, self-centered leadership in so many places, in the governmental institutions of so many countries now, in schools, in companies, in the workplace – Bernie is the first domino, the most important one, and once allowed to take action, his words and logic, his integrity and passion to do the right thing, his love of and respect for the people he wishes to represent, and his inherent desire for equality, will be contagious. It will set the standard for others. It will show that all of us – companies, governments, people and establishments – can work harmoniously together. It will show that good can triumph, that bullies and fear-mongers have no place leading others. This is George McFly come to life, putting Biff back in his place. This is the modern developed world getting back to business, back to the future, because now, as Bernie changes us all for the better, we once again have a future to plan for.