I had the sinking feeling last night that things were not going to turn out for Bernie the way I had hoped. In 2016, voters only became aware of the very real establishment push against Bernie Sanders after it was too late to do anything. The coronation of Hillary hit a major roadblock and the result was a very ugly and public airing of the dirty laundry the Democratic Party was keeping under wraps. During this cycle, I believe a lot of voters thought Bernie was going to get a fair shake and balanced coverage on the establishment media outlets. This simply did not happen and was even more brazen than the 2016 cycle. Over the past sevetral weeks I spent dozens of hours in the car driving from Iowa to New Hampshire, to South Carolina, North Carolina, and other locations in my home state of Illinois. During this time I listened mostly to MSNBC and would toggle to Fox News every now and then to hear what my old team had to say about the state of the race. It is obvious to me now, the blatant manipulation of the media and DNC is at a level I never thought would be possible. When I was in New Hampshire at the DoubleTree Hotel in Manchester, I was within earshot of Chris Matthews speaking with what appeared to be two men representing the donor class. While I could not make out what the two gentlemen were saying, I did here Mr. Matthews say…”everyone is freaking out and trying to figure out how to steer this thing to Bloomberg”. It is difficult to come up with anything smart to write after hearing these words from one of the most “respected” and well known “journalists” on television today. What Chris Matthews and MSNBC do is definitely not journalism! It is not reporting! It is not fact checking! It is not investigative! The “journalists” that we have come to rely on for our “news”, at every level, have all been “bought and paid for“. I have always believed that if you need to find the answer to a difficult question in our society, ALWAYS FOLLOW THE MONEY. So, I went to the trusty internet and looked up the net worth of Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Chris Matthews. They all have a net worth of between $5 million and $20 million. That is an enormous amount of money to pay someone for reading the news. Lets look a bit closer at the money flow. All four of these news readers are paid between $5 million and $7 million a year! What do they spend their money on??? I have no doubt that all of these entertainers started out their journalistic careers with every good intention of making a difference and uncovering the truth. I know my own weaknesses and if I were presented with a $6 million check every year for reading the news, I very well could be swayed to steer the message to where my benefactors wanted. There is a shit ton (that is an official term) of money spent advertising all sorts (a shit ton) of products, medicines, and services meant to make out lives “better”. All those advertising dollars then go to pay the huge salaries of Rachel, the Chris’s, and Larry O’. It is then the job of those personalities to present the “news” in a manner that keeps the audience engaged and tuned in ALL THE TIME. They (not just the news readers) do this by inserting a tone of fear in literally every message they send our way. It is easy for a person to see things differently when there is a seven figure check waiting for you at the end of your shift. In this society we call this “bought and paid for“. Not only are our politicians not advocating for us, but the journalists we rely on for information that effects our lives have also left us to hang in the changing winds of this democratic experiment. HELP IS NOT COMING!!!
Why in the world does Chris Matthews announce the next segment of the show as “Bernie has a surmountable lead can Pete catch him?” If it were Biden (or anyone else) in the lead, it would be a different headline. Why is Bernie so controversial? He has never changed his point of view and his entire career has been about helping others. Why is that considered so offensive and crazy? He simply wants dignity for human beings.
Why in the world does Chris Matthews announce the next segment of the show as “Bernie has a surmountable lead can Pete catch him?” If it was Biden (or anyone else) in the lead, it would be a different headline. Why is Bernie so controversial? He has never changed his point of view and his entire career has been about helping others. Why is that considered so offensive and crazy? He simply wants dignity for human beings.
People have given the term socialist an unbelievably negative connotation. Let me just state one simple thing, every established democracy has a socialist party as part of its government. Let me remind you, one of my favorite comparisons for explaining what Bernie’s Democratic Socialism really is all about. Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower put forth the same party platform as Bernie is running on in 2020. The Eisenhower Republican presidential platform was as follows… 1) Provide federal assistance to low-income communities 2) Protect Social Security 3) provide asylum for refugees 4) extend minimum wage 5) Improve unemployment benefits system so it covers more people 6) strength and labor laws so workers can easily join the union 7) assure equal pay for equal work regardless of sex. How in the world does this get turned on its head and considered crazy and socialist? Would anyone even dared to call General Eisenhower crazy? A Socialist? Was his warning about the military industrial complex crazy and incoherent? The most obvious object of these policies is the Interstate Highway system. These are socialist roads, 100%. They were built by the Federal Government and are maintained by the feds to this day. I have been on Capitalist roads in other countries, they are owned and operated by private investors, these are usually families with strong connections in government… crony capitalism at it’s finest. Socialism is seen as negative in America, only because it means the two parties would be losing their grip on power I believe what is happening, is the two party system is indeed loosing it’s grip on power, this will be an ugly mess and will take time; progress most of the time comes in a package that I was not expecting at all. The Grateful Dead said it perfectly in the song Scarlet Begonias… “Well, I ain’t always been right but I’ve never been wrong; Seldom turns out the way it does n the song; Once in a while you get shown the light; In the strangest of places if you look at it right. What hopeful lyrics.
My grandmother used to say to me “Robbie, we got into the Great Depression because we forgot how to take care of one another. Our society has been divided, we no longer know how to take care of one another. As I see it, Bernie simply wants to get back to caring for each other. The first step, for us to begin down the road to caring for one another again, is we need to first stop name calling. These labels do nothing but divide us and make us weak. The second step is for us to start realizing anytime we are speaking with another person, we need to start thinking that person probably knows more about everything than I know. I believe first and foremost it is important we start with a high level of humility. Don’t confuse this feeling with humiliation… lots of people get stuck in this trap. They believe that by admitting they don’t know something or know less than another person, they will be humiliated or embarrassed. We all want to protect against this happening us. These natural and healthy desires to protect ourselves, have been taken to extremes and have now become tribal in their nature. Once we stop calling each other names and putting labels on each other, we can start talking to each other again about a whole bunch of topics that have only in the last 10-15 years become taboo and dare I even say dangerous to talk about with others even in the slightest. We are all left alone in our echo chambers to falsely confirm that our worst fears are actually our reality… they are indeed are not our reality at all. For any group to be in this kind of chaos, make no mistake that is what it is, is a horrible space to occupy. Living in what I truly believe is an era of “post truth” (this has been the case for a long while… read some Noam Chomsky and you will see what I am talking about) makes this all the more volatile. When there is no truth for ANYONE to hold on to, the foundation of our collective democratic existence is at risk. Like a recovering addict, unless he/she begins to be honest with themselves, there can be no real recovery or healing. We need to admit that there is a problem and be honest about our past actions and how those actions have contributed to where we are now. This needs to be done on an individual basis, person by person. I also believe plain and simple that those of us that have already done that work on ourselves will be much better off than most when the collective shit hits the fan. As I try to wrap this up, I am compelled to share a prayer that helps me get to the space needed to get out of my own echo chamber.
The Prayer Of St. Francis
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled but to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is giving that we receive
And it is through pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
My day started early… got up at 4:20 so I could be at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester. I had another 4:20 siting this morning when I was getting coffee and a doughnut. It is everywhere!
While at the diner, I read the Union Leader as well as the NYT’s… I also drank coffee out of a C-SPAN mug. Now most people wouldn’t think that’s a big deal, but to me reading hard copy newspapers is a daily practice and I’ve been watching C-SPAN since I was a kid. I believe that these two institutions are vitally important to a thriving democracy.
When I saw Jane Sanders standing to the side just a few feet away for me, I knew I had to give my seat to our future First Lady. She may have some of the best energy I’ve ever experienced or seen. She is such a sweet lady and I am grateful that she took the time to take a picture with me. This will be one of my favorites for a long long time.
Being in the front row and this close to Bernie is a really big deal for me. If he needed it, I would totally give him a foot rub. I am sure he has cute, white, soft, old man feet… or they are gnarly as fuck. Either way I am on the ready for foot care on the Sanders campaign bus.
A life in the lanes
Living under two lanes
The big iron
Bringing souls safely home
Or to visit from a far away land
A modern Mayflower, yes
Bringing the littlest of creatures too
Also iron lanes heading south
To put in an honest days toil
Some on the inside
Others the out
Exercising the soul
Is trick work
And that is a tricky word
The pulley of routine
Takes us away
And returns us
To the souls under our roof
Painted lanes a bit a bit more curvy
More option comes more risk
Of getting stuck outside the lanes
The lanes keep us safe
All the way to the end