Guest Commentaries: Bernie Sanders

Steve Derderian | The Daily Star

Six Binghamton University students show off their painted chests before Bernie Sanders’ town hall meeting Monday morning at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in downtown Binghamton.

How often have you heard someone say, “If things keep getting worse, there’s going to be a revolution”? Bernie Sanders says we’re making a political revolution right now. Is he right?

The 1776 one worked out well. I’m an 80-year-old retired American government and history teacher. That’s what I taught students for half a century.

Then, why do I wake up in the night in a cold sweat, screaming?

Because I’m dreaming it’s January 2017. I’m the new president of the United States.

I’m a different politician every night. First I’m Ted Cruz. The Democrats voted against me. More Republicans voted for Donald Trump. I rigged the convention. Congress hates my guts. My only political accomplishment? Shutting down the government. Help!

Then I dream I’m President Trump. The Republican Party tried to dump me. Fully 65 percent of the voters dislike me. Fat cats and politicians in Washington distrust me. How will I build the greatest wall and deport 10 million people?

Or maybe desperate Republicans will rig the convention and choose someone who never got a vote. He’ll mimic Cruz and Trump and promise, “Elect me and I’ll take care of everything.” Hello!

Next I dream I’m Hillary Clinton, I take office with the second highest disapproval rating of all the candidates. And I’m a woman! You think prejudice against an African-American was a handicap? Obama won office with considerable goodwill. But 55 percent of Americans don’t like or trust Hillary ... already.

Worse, Clinton promised Trump and Sanders voters she’d get rid of everything they hated. Like corporate trade deals that shipped jobs abroad. Wealthy tax cheaters leaving us to pay the bills. Billionaires corrupting elections by buying politicians. Medical insurance and pharmaceutical companies making health care unaffordable. Politicians who never wore a uniform sending our troops to fight losing wars, destroying countries so terrorists take them over.

We’re all sick of low-paying jobs, banks ripping off retirement savings, making college unaffordable for our kids. Greed! Lies!

As Hillary, I know I had to promise voters what they wanted.

But how could I defeat Bernie, financed by millions of small contributions from ordinary people? I needed big bucks from the very corporations that made trade deals. Rich tax cheats, Wall Street bankers, medical insurance parasites and big arms makers!

Oops! Sweet talk is not working! Millions of kids are rising up! Republicans and half the Democrats are marching on Washington, carrying torches and pitchforks.

Oh my God! Hillary’s nightmare is the worst. My heart pumps and I stop breathing.

Then I wake up and remember our new President Bernie Sanders. Popular. Trusted. He told us he couldn’t fulfill any promises without the active participation of millions of Americans. No president could rescue America alone. We all joined together against the 1 percent. Bernie mobilized the younger generation. Fully 80 percent of voters younger than 30 voted for him. So did Trump voters who realized capitalist greed had almost destroyed the economy and democracy.

Peaceful “political revolution” was possible. The alternative was a nightmare.

Irving Wesley Hall is a retired teacher of government and history living in Oxford. Email him for documentation supporting this column at

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