Death has a way of evoking nostalgia, and understandably so. Humans are in many ways empathetic and the loss of others serve as poignant reminders of our own mortality. When someone dies it is easy to look at the good and dismiss the bad. It’s only natural to want to celebrate people when they die, and thus as a society we do so, mostly through internet postings, for any celebrity. It becomes popular to laud the departed and often they are elevated to a level beyond which objective reason would warrant. We see this time and time again, where people are made into saints with righteous causes through narratives that don’t always line up with reality.
Today we are witnessing this yet again. An outpouring of sympathetic feelings and praise for the recently departed that betrays all reason. Surely, everything we know about the departed is wrong or exaggerated, because death makes saints of us all. Only this time, it isn’t a person that has passed — it’s Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
A narrative is now emerging about how “principled” Sanders is and how he ran an “honest” campaign. Both assertions are patently false. In fact, Sanders is a naked hypocrite and an economic mystic who prescribes policies he does not understand and devotes his energies to rallying against those who actually drive economic growth.
The glaring hypocrisy is evident in nearly all aspects of Sanders’ life and platform — from rallying against Uber while being a steadfast customer of the ride share company, to his rallying against the very mandatory minimum sentencing laws he voted for — but that’s nothing compared to the ongoing hypocrisy that was his campaign. A campaign built on a message that corporate influence in government and a corrupt class of political insiders have created a rigged system that keeps average people down. So where is the hypocrisy?
Sanders’ primary opponent Hillary Clinton is a walking billboard for the kind of corruption which Sanders rallies against. Her Clinton Foundation is under investigation and strong evidence that political favors were exchanged for financial contributions was completely ignored by Sanders. Likewise, Hillary’s illegal email server which jeopardized national security is the subject of a federal investigation, yet, Sanders never pushed her on the issue. Sanders actually aided Hillary is crafting a narrative that she was being unfairly targeted, declaring during an early Democratic debate that the American people were supposedly tired of hearing about her “damn emails.”
The press have all but failed to ask Hillary questions that should be asked and she has been less than cooperative with authorities. But Senator Sanders shared a debate stage with; he was locked in a tough competition with her for months. He was the only person who could have cross examined her; the only one who could have made the case that she is wholly unfit for the presidency. She is, after all, the clear embodiment of everything he claims to oppose, yet, he treated her with kid gloves.
Bernie knew he was never going to defeat the Clinton political machine and he knew better than to burn that bridge. You see, he isn’t really about standing up to corruption or questioning power at all — he’s about political advancement and playing the same game all the critters in D.C. do. I don’t like Bernie, I don’t agree with Bernie, but if Bernie were a principled individual who held true to the convictions he expresses, he would have fought Hillary tooth and nail. Bernie knew he wasn’t going to win and he didn’t want to rock the boat too much pretending he was going to. He let down his supporters and, in many ways, he let down the country.
If he was genuine in his convictions, perhaps Clinton would not be poised to become the first female nominee for president of a major party. While I disagree with Sanders, I would much rather someone I disagree with than an individual who has a record of pay-to-play politics and scandalous behavior. But Sanders instead aided and abetted Hillary in her ascent — don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Now, in the posthumous of his campaign, people are celebrating him as some sort of principled champion of the people. Never mind his economic policies would actually hurt people, never mind his wanting to use the state to regulate people out of jobs, and never mind his role in Hillary Clinton being so close to the presidency. Let’s pretend Bernie is some sort of libertarian-light moral ally of human liberty, even though he stands almost wholly against it.