We The People
There is a critique that I am a burned “Bernie Bro.” I assure you, I am not. Bernie is a politician, and politicians should be seen as a means to an end. Not someone to hero-worship either on the “so-called” left or right. I still contend that the policies put forth by the Sanders Campaign were built off work many grassroots movements. It was the only major presidential platform that addressed the vast wealth gap in American society and demanded the wealthy and corporate elite pay their fair share. The Biden campaign and DNC will water down many of these proposals if they win in November. Then next GOP administration will overturn or block these half-measures implemented by President Sleepy Joe Biden. Medicare for all, student loan forgiveness, free college, the forgiveness of all medical debt, a Green New Deal, and taxing the rich are policies that are a huge step in addressing the nation’s greatest challenges and moving us forward.
My political philosophy is one best described as an egalitarian. My foray in left-leaning politics wasn’t during Bernie’s maiden presidential campaign of 2016. It was forged growing up in foster homes on the South and Westside’s of Chicago. It was formed when my mother told me she couldn’t afford to send me to college, and I had to join the military if I wanted a path towards a better future thanks to the poverty draft. It was refined through self-education during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. I tried to understand why 9/11 happened and why we were being deployed to the same nation America had fought when I was only seven years old in Operation Persian Gulf.
I read the works of Frantz Fanon, W.E.B. Dubois, Malcolm X, Gandhi, Che Guevara, bell hooks, and many more. Through reading, I learned in-depth about topics such as history, politics, science, philosophy, religion, and sociology. My political philosophy evolved once more as a 20-year-old man, by reading about the Black Panther Party. In truth, they were an anti-racist organization that mobilized to protect the community from police brutality, provide free breakfast for needy youth, and offered free health care to impoverished communities. They were all about black liberation and solidarity with non-black groups, including working-class white people, Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans. They inspired the Young Lords, the Weather Underground, the Hippie, and the Anti-Vietnam Movement. The Panther’s political philosophy introduced me to queer rights, women’s liberation, worker rights, and the international solidarity against imperialism.
The year I left the military, and I spent a summer in Costa Rica. Living and working amongst the people in a small village called San Ramon. It would be the first time I lived aboard and experienced the common humanity within all of us. I obtained a bachelor’s in sociology from Northern Illinois University. I ended up at the University of Chicago, where I studied Social Service Administration. The very same university that birthed the far-right ‘Chicago-School‘ of economic thought, the school where the first sustained nuclear reaction took place. A school where a future president, Barack Obama, taught. I studied economics, social work, public policy, and sociology here.
My political evolution has led me to this point in my life. Now, I see the path that we are taking as Americans is a road to more pain and suffering. All while the climate crisis looms in the background. We accept the politics of the status quo. Even when the status quo is horrible. We readily accept the lesser of two evils argument every four years. We accept that our nation spends countless trillions on defense, yet young active-duty soldiers are on food stamps. Many will claim if we raise the minimum wage, all other costs will go up. Although the minimum wage has been stagnant for decades while the cost of food, energy, and housing continues to surge. We accept that during a global pandemic, our government has still not ensured that we all have healthcare for all citizens and guaranteed housing.
It’s time we envision that another world is possible. We stop accepting this is the best we can do. We need to be critical of our fellow citizens that preach hate and division based on race, class, gender, and sexuality. We need to start thinking that we can achieve a world where all are provided for instead of celebrating the fact that Jeff Bezos might be a ‘trillionaire.’ Women’s rights are human rights, LGBTQ rights are human rights, housing is a human right, and healthcare is a human right, and black lives matter. I thank Bernie for bringing these once so-called radical ideas to the mainstream. Despite the reality is he’s the real moderate politician on the world stage. I appreciate the countless young people, including my beautiful and fiercely intelligent niece Tatiyana and rad nephew Jordan, fighting in the name of justice.
We can cut the defense budget, we can end homelessness, we can provide a basic universal income for all, can create affordable housing for all our citizens, we can provide healthcare for all. We can combat and prepare for the impending climate crisis. We need to stop accepting the politics of the mediocre. We can demand more from our political system, including having more than two major political parties. The world is just an idea, and ideas change all the time. Thus we can change things for the better. We just have to overcome the politics of fear and realize that’s it’s up to all of us to make that better world possible.
“Revolutionary suicide does not mean that I and my comrades have a death wish; it means just the opposite. We have such a strong desire to live with hope and human dignity that existence without them is impossible.” – Huey P. Newton