Saturday, May 30, 2015

Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Speaks to Hundreds Today in Iowa City

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders came to Iowa City today and spoke to at least 250 supporters. It was actually much more than 250 people, but that's all that were in his room. There were many, many more crowding into the Iowa City Rec Center lobby, stairway, and sidewalk hoping to hear what he had to say. Everyone was there -- except me. I knew about the event, but forgot to show up until it started and I suddenly noticed frequent updates on my Twitter feed!

So what did he campaign about? Here are some of his main interests, according to local blogger John Deeth (who live-tweeted the event). Keep in mind that I've shared my own thoughts after the bolded bits:

* "Medicare for all single payer health care" instead of the current Affordable Care Act system. Frankly, the current system run by multiple for-profit entities isn't working. It's not equitable and it is not affordable for too many. Plus, there's more incentive for for-profit health insurance companies to fight insurance charges than to pay up. It's good that we have the ACA, but we really need something even better.

* Free college tuition. Frankly, I'm not sure how this would work. But it is getting more and more difficult for someone to get a degree from a four-year state university or even a 2-year community college program without long-term debt. Personally, I think we need to focus a bit more on funding the academic portions of our universities over the recreation centers, clubs, etc. But something needs to change within that system.

* Corporations need to step up. We cannot afford to allow corporations to pay less and less in taxes. We cannot afford to remove their liability when they pollute our land and our water. And we cannot afford to allow them to sock away billions of dollars in tax havens while wages remain stagnant.

* Sanders supports a two-state solution to the never-ending Israel/Palestine conflict. I've got nothing to add affirmatively or negatively to that.

The Press-Citizen also noted that Sanders spoke out in favor of campaign finance reform, in support of action to address the effective of global warming, and against trade agreements (presumably the TPP -- based off interviews that I have heard with him in the past).

I caucused for Hilary Clinton back in 2008, but I'm seriously tempted to throw my full support this time around for Bernie. Our country continues to head in a direction where it is increasingly difficult for a family to pay its bills and set aside money for emergencies, much less retirement. Our kids cannot get advanced degrees without acquiring tens of thousands of dollars in debt -- and then too many cannot find employment in their field of study once they have acquired this debt. We are quickly killing our planet by poisoning our water and cooking our air.

In the meantime, our government is dismantling our tax system and our education system and our mental health system. We are pumping our resources into endless wars, while simultaneously attacking the growing number of impoverished people in America for receiving food stamps and SNAP when no work options are available. And, of course, we have been militarizing our police for decades while pushing the distressed populace into purchasing more and more personal weapons.

Seriously, something needs to change.

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