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.