First time voter feeling the Bern

Why I voted for Bernie Sanders


Trevor Mensavage, Reporter

I have always grown up with many different and contradicting ideas dancing around in my head. I have learned so much of the political process, and its many facets and forms. I have learned the history of government and the history of this country. I know when every group of people earned their right to vote, from the common man to non-land owning men to women to African Americans to eighteen-year-olds.

Although my eighteenth birthday is in May, I am allowed to vote in today’s primary because I will be eighteen when the November election gets here. For the first time, well ever, I will be given the opportunity to be an American with a voice. A real say in this election, no matter how small, is a great milestone in my life. I am proud to say I will be voting as soon as I can today.

My vote will be going to Bernie Sanders. As a liberal/hippie/teen/socialist who wants the immigrants to take our jobs and for this capitalist institution of a country to burn to the ground (sarcasm), I am very pleased with the ideas Bernie Sanders has for this country.

I do not identify as a Republican or Democrat, instead; I am an independent. I vote for a candidate, not a party. I look for a candidate who most wholly reflects my opinions and ideals. To name a few ideals, I am a feminist, a humanist, and a pacifist. I believe in the rigid equality of all human beings. I am avidly opposed to any violation of human rights, and I do not think many of the fights for equality are over, but have merely just begun (not sarcasm).

Bernie Sanders has been overtly involved in politics since he was 18-years-old, and he is now 74. So with  50 years under his belt, unlike Donald Trump, Bernie has upheld consistent and sincere political ideals, unlike Hillary Clinton. Bernie stands tall with his firm beliefs for what this country needs. He has done so for twice as long as I have been alive, and I just cannot help but trust that he means what he says. A quality that politicians notoriously lack.

To give his life story, so that my trust in him is justified, I will start with his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement while attending the University of Chicago. At the age of 21, Sanders was a member of the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. While serving as chairman, he led the first Civil Rights Movement sit-in in Chicago, boycotting the segregated housing policy of the University of Chicago. He also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963 in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and this is the event that the “I Have a Dream Speech” was given.

Bernie Sanders was elected as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont at the age of 40 and was reelected three times. He has served as a US Congressman since 1991, and has been a US Senator from Vermont since 2007. When taking a look at the way he has voted in the past as a Senator, Bernie has always been anti-war, anti- violence, and pro- human rights. Consistency is Senator Sanders’ biggest appeal, no other candidate running has remained as confident in their views.

Another  quality that sets Senator Sanders apart from his opponents is his failure to run a negative campaign. Badmouthing the competition has proven to be a popular and effective tactic in getting elected when that is all there is to do. Bernie, on the other hand, can stand firmly on his views rather than standing on the mud pile slung at him during debates.

When I saw Senator Sanders speak at Liberty University last year, his main focus was the common ground he shared with the Christian population of the school. This is the wealth gap. Sanders’ campaign reminds Americans of the fact that the top ten percent of the wealth owns almost as much money as the bottom ninety percent. There is a problem with this country when, of all the fully developed countries, we have the largest wealth gap between the rich and the poor and the highest children’s poverty rate. And yet, most Americans disregard this fact because the only plausible solution requires action that is even remotely close to the word “socialism”. A word that has been lumped into meaning too many different things.

To clarify, socialism is defined as “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” This means that, instead of 90% of people working hard every day for their money while 10% treat the economy like a game of Monopoly, America is should be a country that taxes its citizens accordingly and has children off the side of Main Street and billionaires off the treacheries of Wall Street. Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Besides, Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist.

Senator Sander’s campaign is composed mostly of either liberals or young adults or both. This millennial generation cannot get enough of Bernie Sanders while the older generations despise his mildly socialist viewpoints. This is because we have grown up in two different worlds. The world has dramatically changed over the past several decades, and the political system must adjust to these changes.

Instead of being frightened by the “radical” and “liberal” ideas such as: feminism, abortions, equal rights, and military tax cuts; people should recognize the fact that the last time a thought to be “socialist” President was elected, it took a new amendment to impose a presidential term limit to get him out of office.

Change is real, embrace it.