OP-ED: At party’s convention Democrats feel the Bern
Their party’s convention is around the corner and with Bernie Sanders finally endorsing Hillary Clinton this week, Democrats are finally ready to officially nominate her, defeat Donald Trump and – hopefully-- win the White House.
Yet, before coming to Philadelphia on July 25, Democrats must realize that four days of silly hats and boring speeches, hard partying and colorful balloons, a made for TV kitschy infomercial with little real suspense or drama, whose ultimate purpose is to sell the candidates to potential voters is not going to cut it this time around.
That’s what political conventions have been for years, but the country is in no mood for hats, balloons and canned speeches.
The past weeks have been too hurtful, the nation’s deep racial and class fracture has been too painfully exposed, a frightful tornado of prejudice, racism and mistrust has hit us all with deadly force leaving behind a trail of black, white and Latino corpses.
“But what I can say is that all of us, as Americans, should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents,” President Obama said in Warsaw after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed by police.
“They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system,” Obama added, and he could have been referring also to the tragic murder of five police officers in Dallas a few days later.
Yet, these racial disparities as well as the growing inequality that afflicts the country are being addressed –not sufficiently by any means-- at what is an unusually progressive platform for the Democratic Party. This, of course, is a product of the strength of Bernie Sanders’ convictions and undeniable electoral prowess.
“[Despite losing the nomination to Clinton] Bernie has already won,” wrote in a Miami Herald Op-ed Lorenzo Cañizares and Amaury Cruz, directors of Cuban-Americans for Bernie. “He brought clarity to fundamental issues that had been absent from our political discourse. He excited young people. He dispensed with large contributors and Super PACs. He moved the pointer on the Overton Curve from the extreme right to mainstream positions reflecting the needs and desires of the American people. He forced Clinton to change for the better. And he made it possible to imagine making America truly great again, not in Trump’s shallow, sloganeering fashion.”
That, as it were, Clinton has felt the Bern, is clear from the inclusion in the party’s platform of many of his most popular ideas. The $15 minimum wage, making public college free, expanding health care coverage, abolishing the death penalty, greater banking regulation and taxing carbon emissions, are now part of the Democratic Party position, despite not being Clinton’s cup of tea.
As Sanders put it just before endorsing Clinton, “We have made enormous strides. Thanks to the millions of people across the country who got involved in the political process — many for the first time — we now have the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”
We certainly do, and just in time to become real and address –timidly, is true-- some of the profound disparities that have served as breeding ground for the shocking violence and hatred that have shaken the very foundation of the nation.