Popping in on Senator Bernie…

by Gerhard Meyer

On February 12th, Bernie Sanders held a free brunch at the Senior Center in Charlotte. In an effort to get his message out, he invited some speakers and opened up the audience to Q&A. The audience was mostly made up of Bernie supporters, and I did not hear much genuine debate.

Throughout the meeting, one theme remained constant: support for the Occupy Movement. There were many assaults made upon the wealthy, as Sanders claimed that the middle class is shrinking, and it is due to corporations. He claimed that, by asking the wealthy to pay more, it will solve our financial problems. His logic is that the wealthy are responsible for the poor, and that forcing them to dump their money into a broken government system will somehow fix things. I didn’t buy it either.

Many of the speakers, including Sanders echoed support for Ginny Lyons’ attack on the First Amendment via corporate campaign spending. Tim Ashe, one of Burlington’s ex-candidates for mayor, said, “Businesses do not give money unless they think there are more purposes for them”. Bernie added that entities should not be able to spend as much as they want on campaigns, because it corrupts the political process. To me, this is completely backwards. There are reasons why some companies succeed and some do not. Restricting the corporate winners is the same as boosting the losers.

There was also a lot of global warming talk, and as usual, the treatment of the theory as if it was a scientific fact. Sanders proposed that Vermont should “reduce fossil fuels, even if it means impact to our visual landscape”. I believe that is blindly damaging our pristine Vermont views in the name of an unproven theory. Vermont benefits greatly from tourists who come to see our mountains and fields. Destroying that great resource with giant turbines will ultimately destroy us as a tourist attraction. In the Q&A part of the meeting, Sanders said of the gasoline vs. green energy struggle: “We can say no from an economic point of view”. The problem is that the government is trying to force economics. People will only go to green energy when they benefit; any false market will fail. Bernie also praised government efforts to mandate all cars to get 55mpg by 2025. This is another unnecessary intrusion. Like many Vermonters, I own a truck, and sometimes I need every ounce of horsepower that I can get. As it stands, that is something only a gasoline engine can accomplish.

There is plenty of strong evidence that refutes the theory of Global Warming in the first place. For example, other planets in the Solar System have been heating up. Climate change is a cycle that has gone around so many times before, that even ancient calendars have predicted weather turbulence. Many natural occurrences like volcanoes and forest fires contribute more to Global Warming than humans ever have. It is all about forcing morality and letting off steam at the coal and gasoline industry.

There was also talk of pushing universal healthcare in this state. He chided America for being the only nation in the world that does not guarantee universal healthcare. This is the wrong attitude; America’s stand against socialism is not only what defines us, but makes us great. Of the proposal, Sanders said, “we can do it in this small state”. This remark betrays a lack of understanding of Vermont. Just because we are small does not mean that we should be the nation’s guinea pig in such a large and serious shift. A senator that writes us off as just a “small state” is out of touch. We should be treated as an equal to the other states, as the Americans we are.

Bernie is likely to have many more such meetings. It would be nice to see more conservatives attend, and change these meetings from a liberal rally to a genuine and productive discussion.