26 February 2016

Sanders, Socialism, and The Big Short

There are so many things going on in this election that have forced me to think along totally different axes, it's been a heck of a ride.

One of those has been the rise of Bernie Sanders and the sudden and widespread (or at least openly widespread) embrace of Socialism in the US. When Sanders came on the stage I thought there was exactly zero chance he'd be elected because Americans would never elect a socialist or anybody reasonably associated with that word. For all my life that's been an accusation in US politics, not a label. Now my best guess as of today is that he still wont be the Democratic candidate but it's not at all settled and no matter it got waaaaaay closer than I would have ever imagined.

Without debating whether or not he's really a socialist or not it has given me reason to think about why socialism is suddenly popular when it was so recently anathema and if I'm honest with myself I have to admit that several of the things Bernie is pissed at - I'm pissed at too - a lot!

Here's the thing - I believe in capitalism. Not because it's perfect but because it's the best option. But capitalism goes bad from time to time and I think one of those times is right now. I want to point people to The Big Short (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d80xVJC4pso) which was a truly fantastic movie about an incredibly boring topic - gross fraud and negligence driven by staggering greed. It's a true-story movie (more or less) about the profound douchebaggery surrounding the 2008ish housing bubble blow up. You come out of that movie wanting very much for heads to roll and people to go to jail but instead it tells you how nobody went to jail (except one poor little patsy) and it's all starting over again - it's infuriating. And several years ago I saw Wall Street 2 and I had as similar feeling though that felt a lot more fictional so I got over it quicker.

When I see that kind of thing stacked alongside a whole bunch of other things like CEO pay, $110M in Jeb!'s SuperPAC, the impact of Bernie Madoff and on and on and on then I find myself on common ground with Berners. The financial system feels deeply broken to me right now and in ways that deeply prick at my sense of right and wrong.

That said, I split with Sanders sharply when it comes to solutions. Yes, capitalism goes bad and when it does it causes real damage but socialism goes bad too and when it does - it goes a lot worse. But I'm not writing to debate the merits of the two economic systems but rather to acknowledge that I find common cause with Berners in a growing frustration with corruption and a financial system that looks to me as if it's lost its center and I never expect to see things that way.

1 comment:

Laurene said...

I am right there with you, jaw dropped on the floor, eyes bugged out, and shaking my head in disbelief that the people of our nation could ever, for even half a second (much less long enough to fill out a ballot!) choose a Socialist as a leader. That was what the whole Cold War was about!!! Do they not teach people history in school any more?
But what bothers me perhaps a little bit more than the complete deviation from common sense is the tendency I have seen Bernie supporters equating him with Jesus. I've seen multiple posts from people saying how if we love Jesus we should love Bernie because they both believe the same things and want the same things for us.
This is tantamount to blasphemy in my understanding of the word. They are claiming Bernie is their savior. Bernie is their messiah. Yet Bernie deviates from scriptural holiness on so many counts that I don't have time to list them all, and indeed since I don't know him personally I'm sure I can't list them all. I know a couple big ones though that are front and center in the Christian faith, and that is LIFE and HOLINESS. Bernie advocated the murder of unborn children through abortion. God said pretty clearly thou shalt not murder. Jesus said suffer the little children to come unto me and hinder them not. Killing them seems like a pretty big hindrance to me! "It would be better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." ~Luke 17:2 Bernie also is in strong support of deviant sexual behavior. The Bible uses the word fornication to describe any form of sexual behavior outside of marriage between one man and one woman. This includes pre-marital, extra-marital, homosexual, and transgender (the Bible called it effeminate). It doesn't matter what I think about these behaviors, or what other people think about these behaviors, God was really clear in stating what He thinks about these behaviors. And Jesus is one aspect of the Trinity, He is God. That means Jesus does not approve of sexually deviant behavior. We know that God is love, and God is good, so we know that God opposes these behaviors because they hurt people. Bernie supports these behaviors that hurt people. To say that Bernie is equivalent to Jesus is a very scary and dangerous thing to say. Yet people seem to be listening to them. And that scares me.