“You know, I, for the love of me, I cannot understand why people who have billions of dollars are compulsively driven for more and how many people have got to die because they don’t go to a doctor, because you want to avoid paying your taxes?” ~ Bernie Sanders
I do love this man, and this was the first time I heard the Independent senator from Vermont speak. Every year, I like to update and republish the speech, in hopes others will see him at his best, attacking Wall Street/1%, expressing the anger and the frustration of the people, and offering assurance and solutions. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, where did this guy come from (even though he’d been in office since 2007). Why aren’t more lawmakers like him?’
The good news, of course, is now he’s running for president – as a Democrat.
In this 2012 speech, which took place several months before the presidential election, Mitt Romney was running against Obama, and this country was still in recession. We had been suffering from the first extreme bout of Republican obstruction after the 2010 Midterm Elections and feared more oligarchy might become reality. Senator Bernie Sanders, (Independent-Vermont) makes it clear he is working and fighting for the people.
Prior to viewing this, I had never heard a politician speak in this way, with this kind of resolve. Though the numbers and dates have changed since this speech took place, the basic message here is timeless. This kind of passion, this kind of blatant honesty, was rare in American politics and remains scarce today. Too many lawmakers are caught up in tug of wars and political stand-offs. Bernie Sanders is not worried about offending his new party. He is the real deal. Just hearing him rip into the Koch Brothers and Citizens United is worth watching the whole video. I’d venture to say this is one of the best American political speeches in the last ten years. Here is the video, with transcript excerpts below.
Below are my favorite excerpts:
Madam President, the American People Are Angry. Young people who are graduating high school and graduating college, they are going out into the world, they want to become independent, they want to work, and there are no jobs.
There are workers out there 50, 55 years old who intended to work the remainder of their working lives, suddenly they got a pink slip, their self-esteem is destroyed, they are never going to have another job again and now they are worried about their retirement security.
What the American people are angry about is they understand that they did not cause this recession. Teachers did not cause this recession. Firefighters and police officers who are being attacked daily by governors all over this country did not cause this recession. Construction workers did not cause this recession. This recession was caused by the greed, the recklessness and illegal behavior of the people on Wall Street. They, the taxpayers of this country, bail out Wall Street, and Wall Street recovers. Wall Street does well, but now we have kids in this country graduating college deeply in debt, canât find a job. We have older workers losing their jobs and people are saying what is going on in America?
In the United States today we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income since the 1920’s. Now, you are not going to see what I am talking about on Fox, you are not going to see it on NBC or CBS, but it is important that we discuss this issue because it’s one of the most important issues facing America.
And as a result of this disastrous Citizens United decision which is now two years old, one of the worst decisions ever brought about by the Supreme Court of this country, a decision that they just reaffirmed a few days ago with regard to Montana, what the Supreme Court has said to the wealthiest people in this country, okay, you own almost all the wealth of this nation that’s great, now we are going to give you an opportunity to own the political life of this nation. And if you’re getting bored by just owning coal companies and casinos and manufacturing plants, you now have the opportunity to own the United States government.
And I think what the American people are saying is enough is enough. This country, this great country, belongs to all of us. It cannot continue to be controlled by a handful of billionaires who apparently want it all. You know, I, for the love of me, I cannot understand why people who have billions of dollars are compulsively driven for more and how many people have got to die because they don’t go to a doctor because you want to avoid paying your taxes?
Well, that’s not what America is about. That’s not what people fought and died to create. With that, we have got a fight on our hands. The job of the United States national is to represent the middle-class families of this country, all of the people, and not just the super-rich. I hope we can begin to do that.
Here is a link to the Speech/ Full Transcript
(Cross-posted from Daily Kos)
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.