Dear Hillary Supporters: Stop Pretending that Bernie Sanders Isn’t a Champion of Civil Rights

Bernie Sanders was arrested in a civil rights protest; we can stop pretending he doesn't care about black people now.

Count me among those who believe that a knockdown, drag-out fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination is a good thing.

It’s good for America, it’s good for the party, and it’s actually really good for the candidates. Well, that is as long as the fight doesn’t get ugly and people don’t start hurling accusations that make no sense juxtaposed against reality…like, say, that Bernie Sanders hasn’t really been that strong a champion of civil rights.

Anyone with even a passing understanding of his record would scoff at the suggestion, but apparently the esteemed Rep. John Lewis didn’t get the memo because when the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Hillary a couple weeks ago, he intimated that Sanders couldn’t have possibly been that involved in the Civil Rights movement because Lewis didn’t remember seeing him there. Hillary Hawks pounced on that and started speaking about this issues as if ol’ Bernie was just lying about his time in the movement.

Hell, when you consider that unverified pictures of someone who sort of looked like Bernie were being circulated by Bernie fans, maybe you could see why Hillary Hawks would be so gleeful about pouncing on Lewis’ words. Their giddiness was, hopefully, short-lived though because over the weekend The Chicago Tribune released photos of Sanders being arrested at a civil rights protest in Chicago, where he was attending school.

Whoops. There goes that narrative.

SandersArrest

As reported in the Tribune, Sanders’ campaign — and Bernie himself, verified that is indeed him being carted off by two surly police officers.

“Bernie identified it himself,” said Tad Devine, a senior adviser to the campaign, adding that Sanders looked at a digital image of the photo. “He looked at it — he actually has his student ID from the University of Chicago in his wallet — and he said, ‘Yes, that indeed is (me).'” Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, was traveling Friday near Reno, Nev., on the eve of the state’s Democratic presidential caucuses. (source)



Maybe, now, it’s time for Hillary Hawks to put this bullshit notion that Sanders wasn’t a champion of civil rights to bed? I mean, if we’re being real here, Sanders never supported the Barry Goldwater campaign back in 1964, did he? You know who did? Hillary. I’m not saying, like some others have, that means she agreed with Goldwater’s position against the Civil Rights Act, but one of them supported a likely segregationist, and one of them didn’t. So playing tit-for-tat on this stuff may not work out in Hillary’s favor after all.

What I do know is that so far there aren’t any pictures of Hillary literally being arrested standing up to the treatment of minorities in this country. There is one of Bernie, confirmed now, though. So I have a suggestion for Hillary supporters who want to criticize Bernie:

Don’t be an idiot; choose something else.

There are legitimate questions that should be asked of Senator Sanders. Does the math really add up in his plans, or is it dependent on factors he can’t control? What would his plans mean for people already on Obamacare’s exchanges? What would they do to local economies, not just the economy at large? Would a Sanders presidency be so focused on domestic issues that they miss something big on the international front?

As a Sanders primary supporter, I would love to furnish Hillary supporters with answers to these questions, of course, but at least these questions aren’t based on outright lies. It’s just complete and utter bullshit to insult Sanders’ dignity by implying he wasn’t willing to fight for equality. The picture of his arrest puts that to bed, and I truly think that someone owes Bernie a really big apology. Talk about an artful smear.

There is nothing wrong with expecting to be able ask tough questions of candidates, but when lies are used to replace facts, it stops being a “spirited” contest and just becomes disgusting, gross, politics as usual. And if the establishment thinks they can treat Bernie like this and not have a rank and file uprising on their hands, they aren’t paying enough attention to the Republicans right now; that fate could easily befall a befuddled and out of touch Democratic Party every bit as much as it is doing to the GOP at this very moment.

 

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