The time is now
Editor of the Reformer:
I am so tired of hearing people say that Bernie Sanders is not a viable candidate for the presidency based largely on his "lack of foreign policy experience." This is always phrased as a stark comparison to Hillary Clinton's relatively inefficacious time as Secretary of State — a component of her political experience that should not be highlighted as an asset to her candidacy. While it is true that he has been a solely domestic politician, he has been one since 1981. Is it truly possible to believe that he has not dealt with issues of foreign policy throughout that tenure? Through the end of the Cold War, the first Iraq War, the Rwandan Genocide, the Gulf War and 9/11? Not to mention the monumental amount of foreign policy-related issues the Congress and the American people alike have grappled with since that terrible day in 2001.
Foreign policy, in my definition, is not a game or something to be predicted. It is handled primarily in crisis situations and involves largely ethical and value-based decisions. They are truly life or death and should be treated as such, not as simply a political report card. These are decisions that — for people who consistently preach respect and place a high value on the humanity of people both here and abroad as I hope many of you do — should be voted into the hands of someone who is beholden to the futures of our people and the people of the countries involved. These are not decisions that should be made by someone similarly beholden to businesses, lobbies or individual state leaders and their personal agendas.
Personally, I would rather have a president who has spent less time abroad but who is strong and true to their convictions of justice and peace rather than an inconsistent, closeted war-hawk who is strong and true to their allegiance to the powers that be. The "lofty, unobtainable" ideals that are the trademark of the Bernie 2016 campaign are exactly what they should be — incredible, powerful ideas that should be put on the table and open for discussion and implementation. How else would we take the first steps towards securing the truly common-sense policies of affordable education and guaranteed healthcare? There are no great historical leaders that we revere and admire in our social ethos who preached the status quo. These "lofty" ideas and the sense of hope that they bring with them are exactly what we are all missing today. Remember the times when interracial marriage, equal representation, LGBTQ rights and women suffrage were miles away, similarly seen as unobtainable yet championed by small groups of people who were true to their feelings that these policies were righteous and true? This quality is exactly why we should vote for Bernie, not why we should shy away and be afraid of the political revolution he represents.
John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Sanger and the hundreds of reformers who have come before and after them are not considered great leaders because they spoke simply of how great their countries were in their time. They were incredible because they recognized the merits of their society while enforcing the ideal that we can all do better. As a community, a state, a nation and a human race. That is what a leader does and that is what our next president should do.
If you agree with any part of the above, please do yourself a favor and continue your research into the current presidential candidates. Inform yourself and your neighbors about the true values and records of each candidate. Do not be afraid to vote with your conscience. This is our time.