Blog, Media + Politics, Politics

The Black/White Thinking of Bernie Sanders

Originally published February 6, 2016 on the Huffington Post

The rumblings of the Republican candidates are so demented that they warrant little comment. The Democrats are another matter.

I find myself increasingly annoyed by Bernie Sanders. Who gave him the sole right to define who and what is and isn’t a Progressive?

I grew up in a family that was impoverished in every conceivable way: financially, mentally, and physically. “Poor” doesn’t begin to describe the terrible conditions that gnawed at us daily.
Because I was a smart kid, worked hard, and the costs of an education at one of the best public universities in the world were essentially nil, I ended up becoming well-off. Should I therefore feel ashamed that, because of my expertise, I am able to charge good consulting fees for my services from some of the world’s leading corporations?

As someone who grew up in abject poverty, I’m proud of the fact that I now make good money. I’m even more proud that more often than not, I tell organizations what they don’t want to hear, namely what they need to do to make things safer for their workers and their surrounding communities.

I agree with Republicans that one shouldn’t feel ashamed for doing well financially. But that’s where my agreement ends. I believe fervently that those such as myself who have done well should pay much more in taxes than we currently do. I want those who are poor to have the same opportunities to succeed that I had. In this regard, I’m in strong agreement with Senator Sanders.

But this is also where I disagree strongly with Senator Sanders. I not only find his contention that Secretary Clinton cannot be both a Progressive and a Moderate a premier case of faulty thinking, but deeply offensive. Since one can certainly be a Progressive on social issues and a Conservative on financial matters, being a Conservative and a Progressive is not necessarily a fundamental contradiction in terms. Why then is it an inherent contradiction, not to say somehow “bad,” to be both a Progressive and a Moderate? To believe that it’s a contradiction is black/white thinking at its worst.

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