I will, however, preface this thought piece by saying I would vote for him as Secretary of Integrity.
Let me begin with Idealism.
Idealism is often the best of … well … humanity. It dips not only into your heart but also your soul. For if but a minute you can get a sense of what is good, and what is right and what we should be on our best days.
Idealism drives revolutions … well … maybe it leads movements <in attitudes, culture and behavior>.
I like the man. I love his intent. But I would argue he is not running for president … he is leading, and leading in an extraordinarily applaudable fashion, an integrity movement.
Think about this for a second. We focus more often than not on how he wraps this idealism in a ‘rigged system’ narrative and uses lots of examples of ‘them’ not having our best interest in mind.
Set aside the wrappings.
The man is shouting at the top of his lungs not that we deserve anything and get better things … he is shouting we need to be better. A better society. Have better values. Have better ethics. Have better integrity. Have better ideas of fairness. Well … I guess he is just suggesting we be better people <at the top of his lungs>.
And, yes, have better systems within the larger institutional infrastructure to enable better opportunities for a better citizenry.
Bernie is not running for president nor is he a president … nor should he be a president. He is better than that. He is running for leadership of the soul of a nation.
And while he is an unequivocally strong individual I have to recognize throughout this presidential interview process he is going to be bludgeoned and beat up time and time again because he is not really the most qualified for the president role. And I don’t like watching it.
And each time he gets hit I will personally wince.
And each time I will feel a little pride in my belief in who he is and what he stands for … when he stands once again bent, bowed, but not broken.
And then I will wince again.
And cringe every time an attack suggests any lack of character <in this man of unfailing character>.
That said … here is bigger issue at hand.
The integrity revolution he is leading.
And this is where it become a little bit of a head scratcher. I recognize that revolutions are divisive in their nature. And this revolution is dividing the democrat party <which I frankly could have never envisioned because it is the tactics being debated not the moral compass>.
He is clearly stating he is fighting a “political revolution” which inevitably creates a type of zeal which suggests that anyone who is not with you is against you. But all he is really making a stand for is corporate consciousness, societal mores, integrity at all levels of behavior and a system in which everyone has an opportunity to better themselves and their lives.
How the hell can that be divisive?
Anyway. I am rambling.
I like Bernie Sanders as a person. He seems a good man passionate about something good.
But I love his heart.
Strip away the tactics he discusses and at the heart of who he is, and what he shouts about, isn’t socialism or even progressive ideology … he vocally pounds away over and over on fairness and opportunity and people being better and , ultimately, doing better.
Ah. As for the tactics. I admit, I do struggle with some of his tactics:
Free college is a stupid idea.
First. Not everyone needs to go to college and should go to college.
Second. Tuition is one of those filters for ‘personal purpose.’ In general, if anything is worth it anything costs something <affordable tuition on the other hand is always a worthwhile goal>.
Third. Any higher education is a personal investment … well … it stops being an investment if you don’t pay. Like it or not … getting an education is a value equation – laying out money insures I truly think about the value it will provide me. Free? I do not think … I simply do.
Lastly. I balk at his premise that college is now part of basic education for everyone – the basic cost of entry into society.
I balk for two reasons:
<1> the idea of a college education has been warped in an entitlement way. What do I mean? College is now perceived as an automatic elevator to a middleclass professional career – just by attending. This creates a stupid expectation associated with ‘I went to college’ <whether you did so with purpose or not>.
<2> not everyone wants, nor needs, a college education. There are a shitload of smart people who smartly decide that they want a professional career doing something that does not demand a college degree. Suggesting that a college degree is for everyone actually diminishes & marginalizes a shitload of people who have no desire to go to college or have no real need to go to college. I am not interested in marginalizing people.
Breaking up banks is a stupid idea.
As I stated in an earlier article “I don’t dismantle the Formula One car if it isn’t winning fairly … I change the drivers.” What I want is more corporate responsibility of an existing strong system … and not a new system being run by a continuing legion of misguided irresponsible management.
Greed, in and of itself, is not good. Banks have lost sight of the fact they actually make money off of money <and not even their own money … someone else’s money> which is not the same as making shit. This misguided understanding leads to a warped belief in what they do. do not break up the banks … just break up their attitudes and management behavior.
Stopping political financing the way it is … is not a stupid idea.
Political financing and lobbying is clearly wrong the way it is set up <and politics does need to be fixed>.
But suggesting that money corrupts everyone is a slippery slope suggesting everyone is corruptible <or that everyone is corrupt> is … well … stupid.
I refuse to accept that everyone is corruptible as truth. Not everything is quid pro quo. Money doesn’t trump social responsibility, community and integrity with everyone. Some will be corrupted but some will always do what is right.
Single payer healthcare is … well … only a slightly stupid idea.
First. Conceptually offering everyone high quality healthcare is undebatable.
Second. But … ‘high quality is in the eyes of the beholder’ and in America, unlike Denmark or some European countries, we do not like one size fits all and we like having choices. Sanders is suggesting a complete citizen attitude & behavioral shift based on a conceptual desire. That is … well … if not stupid certainly naive.
What people want and what people actually do are separate lanes on a 5 lane highway … and often the two outside lanes. He may have a good vision but it ignores actual behavior & attitudes.
Third. In any change in any system there will be winners & losers. We just went through that <and, in fact, are still going thru that with the affordable healthcare act>. Upfront … the losers are not easily identified and I would bet <even though I am not a betting man> that some of the losers are gonna be the same people Bernie has convinced that this is a great idea … and they gonna be pissed.
Fourth. Cost. This idea is expensive. Worse? Aspects of it are almost inestimable.
It may end up cheaper n the end but it may also end up being more expensive … of which the government will bear the expense which means … oops … people will bear the expense.
If someone can tell me how I can maintain the competition aspect within healthcare within single payer system I would listen. We tend to forget that competition isn’t only good for pricing … it is good for innovations, new products, new way of doing things and better for you & I.
The big one.
His idea itself.
His ‘fairness’ or ‘non rigged system’ is NOT a stupid idea.
It is one of the non stupidest ideas we have seen and heard in recent history.
But tying his ‘political revolution’ to the presidential election is brilliantly stupid.
It is brilliant in that we really do need a revolution. Brilliant because from an election message standpoint it is dogmatically focused, simple & bluntly straightforward <and running a country is so complex it permits him to avoid the nuance & complexity>.
Stupid because revolutions do not happen overnight <that is why they are often called “movements”> and ‘transforming’ a country is a complex nuanced dance.
In addition it is stupid, okay, maybe irresponsible with regard to the ideal … the movement itself. My fear is that he generates the excitement and then nothing happens in the 4 years that people expect the ‘revolution’ to occur.
Revolutionary ideas need the embers constantly being fanned to keep the fire alive. Nothing douses a fire faster than the disappointment of … well … the cold rain of systemic failure to act.
And. Lets be clear, Sanders has shown us all that the embers truly exist.
I like, no, I love the way Sanders has managed to nurture this well needed fire which should warm our souls and bring to fire a … well … change of heart with regard to how we view business and how we conduct business.
His message is easy to embrace and resonates with anyone who believes they aren’t part of the rigged system <which is basically 98% of us> but are affected by the rigged system. He offers a clear-cut unequivocal set of beliefs in which “them” is running roughshod over “us.”
God, I love what his man preaches. But … I am a business guy.
I love idealism but I absolutely love idealism grounded in actions, behavior and results.
I love Bernie Sanders’ intent and aggressive pursuit of fairness for all.
Let me then say he is being slightly unrealistic and slightly misguided in tactics <but the objectives remain steady on a moral compass>. He is a wonderful spokesman for a well needed cause & direction but causes are fragile in that they need some pragmatism to maintain some structure in the struggle ahead.
People overestimate how much power a President has. And people underestimate how difficult it is to make sweeping change. Sadly, there is no quick fix for fairness. It is not like a light switch we can simply flip.
The oval office, for all practical purposes, is where idealism dies.
And this ideal should not be permitted to die.
I am a hope & dreams guy at heart. But maybe I figured out along the way that a good dose of pragmatism assists you in actually achieving something. And it pains me to say that Bernie’s ideas are unrealistic because I hate settling for smaller ideas when a bigger vision is often required.
However, many of his visionary ideas would need a sweeping change in Congress <either attitudinally or in representatives> in order to get any of it done.
That will not happen in 1 year. That will not happen in 4 years.
While I do not believe fairness can solely be solved by a government Bernie’s entire stance is not about working within a system it is to fundamentally transform it. And not the government system but the society system and the business system.
That is a lot of systemic change.
A government can certainly take steps to structurally transform a system but it is contingent upon Americans actually getting and staying involved in the political process, in the community AND in business.
Bernie is certainly challenging us to rise to the occasion and rise to the objective.
And I love it. I love the intent.
But inevitably a president Sanders within the existing partisan driven government would end up in one of two positions – reduce his idealistic goals to aim for more incremental progress or maintain the idealism and strengthen existing gridlock.
I love he is pushing back against big business, business consciousness in general and our internal moral compass <all of us>.
And I believe he’s much more concerned about the average working American than any other candidate. I do think it is naive to think a Sanders presidency will solve everything <or anything other than dialogue> but it is not naïve to imagine a better world.
And while this is about Bernie I will end with a Bill Clinton thought:
“All that matters is whether people are better off when you quit than when you started. We’re going to turn anger into answers, transform resentment into empowerment.”
Bernie makes people better, makes them think better thoughts and makes people not only imagine, but believe in a better future.
And I want him doing that <at the top of his lungs>.
And I don’t want this to die in lack of implementation in a presidency. Like an engine behind a big train pushing it along that is his strength and where he can keep it moving instead of trying to drag the train forward.
I thank him … and do so over and over and over again … for clearly communicating issues that should be discussed to America.
I will not vote for Bernie Sanders for president because what he is discussing is bigger than any presidency. Why would I demote his thinking, his integrity and ‘integrity movement’ to some 4 year job.
It is a lifetime job.
I believe the movement promoted by Bernie Sanders is like gravity. It is inevitable a long as someone, like Bernie, continues to promote gravity <because we tend to overlook that which is supposed to just happen>.
Maybe we create a lifetime Cabinet position … Secretary of Integrity & Character. For that position Bernie is our man.