Mr. Bernie Sanders, who orates like an activist, wants to reinvent America and his racial justice policy paper is a start.
When The Dr. Vibe Show, which broadcast from Toronto, Canada, went off the air last Sunday, the panelists, myself included, spoke briefly about Mr. Bernie Sanders’ weekend event in Seattle that was interrupted by a few activists who, at the time, identified themselves as part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Mr. Donald Morton, a pastor and activist residing in Delaware, said he couldn’t understand why activists would interrupt a candidate who has the closest resemblance to the movements’ values.
A similar remark was said to me by an individual from New York.
It seemed that Mr. Sanders had struck a chord, in a good way, with the black activist community.
That assumption was later made fact when Mr. Deray Mckesson, a former school administrator who left his job to engage in activism and organizing after Mr. Michael Brown was killed by a Ferguson police officer last year, exalted Mr. Sanders’ newly released policy paper labeled “Racial Justice.”
Like Mr. Donald Trump, a republican, Mr. Sanders has acknowledged, in his own words, that America is a diamond whose luster has been significantly diminished.
“This country, today, in my view, has more serious crisis than an anytime since the Great Depression in the 1930s,” Mr. Sanders said when he announced his campaign for the presidency.
Though Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders have garnered comparisons in their honest tone and, at times, unscripted speech, what draws the biggest contrast in their political cache is their acknowledgement of the root problems causing America’s moral, social and financial decline.
Mr. Sanders, who orates like an activist, speaks openly and harshly against wealth inequality, billionaires’ far-reaching influence over elections, climate change deniers, and, as his policy paper notes, the physical, political, legal and economic violence against black and brown Americans.
The first sentence in Mr. Sanders’ policy paper says:
“We must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color.”
The unapologetic tone that begins the paper permeates throughout the read and it even dismisses the idea of a post-racial society with the following sentence:
“We are far from eradicating racism in this country.”
The paper, under the section, Physical Violence ( Perpetrated by Extremists), refers to the Charleston shooting and the killing of Mr. Trayvon Martin, labeling them both as acts of terror “perpetrated by extremists who want to intimidate and terrorize black and brown people in this country.”
“We need a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter, and racism cannot be accepted in a civilized country,” the paper says.
To address physical violence towards black and brown Americans, Mr. Sanders suggested, among many things, demilitarizing police forces, a new model police training program, federally funding and requiring body cameras for law enforcement officers and aggressively investigating and prosecuting police officers who break the law.
Addressing political violence – such as requiring voters to show photo ID, discriminatory drawing of Congressional districts, not allowing early registration or voting, and purging voter rolls – Mr. Sanders recommends, in part, re-enfranchising the more than two million African Americans who have had their right to vote taken away by a felony conviction, make Election Day a federal holiday to increase voters’ ability to participate, make early voting an option for voters who work or study and need the flexibility to vote on evenings or weekends and ensure every American over 18 is automatically registered to vote.
“We must work vigilantly to ensure that every American, regardless of skin color or national origin, is able to vote freely and easily,” the paper states.
Also addressed in the paper – which is substantive yet rather short in nature, making it an easy read for most – are the “failed war on drugs” and the “national tragedy” which is for-profit prisons.
“In my view, corporations should not be allowed to make a profit by building more jails and keeping more Americans behind bars. We have got to end the private-for-profit prison racket in America. Profiting off the misery of incarcerated people is immoral and it is immoral to take campaign contributions from the private prison industry or its lobbyists,” writes Mr. Sanders.
Mr. Sanders, who has noted repeatedly that he marched with Dr. King, starts off his final section, Economic Violence, with a reflection on the civil rights leader and what he often referred to as “the other America.”
“This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor,” the paper quotes.
“It is necessary to try to address the rampant economic inequality while also taking on the issue of societal racism,” Mr. Sanders articulated.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the ideas put forth in the paper and the strong opposition it takes against structural racism will win Mr. Sanders the nominee. But, if nothing else, the “Racial Justice” paper will cause all other candidates running on the democratic ticket to adjust their rhetoric to reflect Mr. Sanders’ candor and authenticity and, more importantly, reality.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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