Having written about Bernie Sanders a couple of times in the past, I think it’s safe to assume that I’m not exactly Bernin’ with enthusiasm for his candidacy. Observing my Facebook feed reveals that many of my acquaintances and friends have a different opinion about the Junior Senator from Vermont. They aren’t alone.
(Brief aside: Bernie Sanders is a 74 year-old man but he is nonetheless “Junior” to Sen. Patrick Leahy in the Senate Hierarchy. Heaven help us. End Aside.)
At first, I was under the impression that the attraction to Bernie was nothing more than a passing fancy, the kind of brushfire rebellion that sometimes happens to entitled, powerful people whose hubris makes them appear ripe for comeuppance. Add to this that Bernie himself speaks to these disaffected people in the language to which they’ve become accustomed. He promises them justice. Their attraction to him (which originally mystified me) is cleared up if you recall the old Russian parable of the peasant and the lamp:
A peasant, starving and freezing, was digging in the ground with his bare hands, looking for something – anything – to eat. In the icy mud he found a corroded old lamp and proceeded to rub the verdigris from it, when a genie spewed forth from the lamp.
“I will grant you anything you wish on one condition: I will give twice as much to your neighbor,” said the genie.
The peasant sat down in the snow next to his hole and thought. He looked around his hovel and then looked at his neighbor, toiling in the mud and imagined him having twice as much of anything than he and said:
“I want you to poke out one of my eyes.”
Sound familiar? The impulse driving their support seems to be little more than grotesque envy. That’s fairly simple to understand. What I didn’t get was the man himself. What forces create a Bernie Sanders? How could he come to the conclusions about life that he’s reached?
Investor’s Business Daily has helped us in that regard. As it turns out, an alien from Uranus may have more in common with you or me than Bernie Sanders.
Nonetheless, here are what I’m sure are some of the points of commonality between Bernie’s life and yours:
- Honey Bear Bern moved his first wife into his Maple Sugar Shack … complete with dirt floor. She promptly left him. You know women, so fickle. Apparently, she had different ideas about being gang-raped.
- Despite being unemployed, shiftless, and recently split from his wife, he fathered a child out of wedlock. Who hasn’t been there?!?
- The senator never held a job of any substance in his life until he was somehow elected mayor of Burlington at the tender young age of 39. Being as I’m 36, there’s clearly still time for me to live down to his example.
- Despite being 74 years old, one of Bernie’s largest assets (aside from his congressional pension) seems to be $65,000 of credit card debt. At least he’s consistent in wanting to run the country like he’s run his life!
Read it and weep, America. This paragon of personal achievement has a non-zero chance of becoming President of the United States.
I said that I finally understood Sanders and the forces that created him. We as a nation made Bernie Sanders, through a combination of foolish tolerance for failure and an underlying desire to see our neighbor’s goat die.
What created Bernie Sanders? A life that could only be described as the inverse of mine: a life devoid of the need or desire to be personally responsible for any of his actions. A life where the notion of creating things and providing value to society are as foreign as the landscape of Venus.
Bernie Sanders has gotten all of the wrong feedback. It’s no surprise that the wrong things occupy his mind.