Yesterday, March 3, I had the opportunity to attend a speech by Bernie Sanders in my hometown Lawrence, KS. To date, I have written several pieces on the Republican side of presidential hopefuls. It is time to look toward the future we want to build.
I smiled a lot yesterday. The crowd of over 4200 people had gathered to celebrate the tremendous potential of a candidate who listens, is authentic, and who is inclusive of all of us who have suffered under establishment politics, a rigged economy, and a corrupt campaign finance system. My heart was filled with joy at the sight of people who were finally being heard. As I told my friend after the event, I have lived nearly my entire politically conscious life at war. I remember the days when my classmates in the third grade advocated the nuclear annihilation of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. I remember the rabid crowd in Washington D.C. when Osama bin Laden was killed- millennial youth and baby boomers all basking in an orgy of bloodlust. I remember when the Occupy Wall Street camp I visited in Zuccotti Park was destroyed by police in riot gear. I remember Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and all of the other women and men who were murdered at the hands of police. Most of all, I remember that throughout all of this, the establishment told us there was nothing we could do. The magic of empire is gone; the violence of empire has left us feeling empty and defeated.
Yesterday, I smiled because I saw a man and a movement that are equipped to negate the pillars of empire that have caused so many people so much pain. Prof. Johan Galtung predicted that the US Empire would fall by 2020 due to 15 contradictions along political, economic, military, and cultural dimensions. Bernie Sanders brought all these contradictions to life and most importantly, spoke of the values that will leads us to blossom rather than descend into fascism. What are these values? Equity. Reciprocity. Integration. Solidarity. Inclusion.
What would policies look like to act on these values? Equitable trade with equal and mutual benefits for all. Conflict transformation and defensive defense. Negotiation between equals, not hegemonism. Dialogue between equals to promote basic human needs for wellness, survival, freedom, and identity.
These are the ideas that Prof. Galtung lays out in his book Fall of the US Empire- And Then What?. We are in a historic moment- as Americans we have a choice. Do we continue on the current path and end our journey violently, or do we join the rest of the world in a community of peace?
Bernie Sanders, with our help, can help us take steps toward the future we want to create. Let’s start dreaming again and end this nightmare.
I’m #FeelingtheBern and will see you tomorrow, March 5, at the Democratic Caucuses.
… your testimonials of barbarism had me teary eyed. We need to change something about this place – in our time – and I mean this planet. NGH.