It has been nearly eight months since ##Bernie Sanders formally dropped out of the 2016 presidential race and endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate. Now, just over a month into ##Donald Trump's presidency, Sanders' policies are beginning to sound better than ever, and his response to Trump's first address to a joint session of congress shows that he is still the leader we need - perhaps more than ever..
Sanders responded to Trump's congressional address Tuesday night on Facebook with a 14-minute video, laying out his thoughts about both what the President did and didn't say.
"Not one word."
Sanders began his video response by addressing what he says are major issues facing Americans which Trump failed to mention. These issues included Social Security, Medicare, income and wealth inequality, citizens united, voter suppression, climate change, the justice system and college costs - and he's right, these are major issues affecting millions of Americans. Sanders pointed out that despite the severity of these issues, Trump had not only failed to discuss them in his congressional address, he has proposed massive cuts to Medicare and to increase fossil fuel dependence.
Sanders urged the President to keep his campaign promises on Medicare, Social Security, and to "drain the swamp," noting that Trump has filled his cabinet with, "the swamp, big time.".
"Laughing out loud"
The Vermont Senator directly addressed the points of Trump's speech, saying, "It sounds good on the surface. But it just doesn't sound so good if you dig just a little deeper beneath the surface." Sanders said the specifics of Trump's plan to tackle our infrastructure are, "absolutely wrong..We cannot rebuild our infrastructure by providing billions of dollars in tax breaks to Wall Street and large corporations." In response to Trump's words on clean air and water, Sanders said, "I had a difficult time not laughing out loud when he said that," noting that Trump has the "the most anti-environmental EPA administrator in our nation's history," and that he has rolled back Obama's clean water rules.
He then responded to Trump's statement that he wants to increase pentagon funding by $84 billion, stating that he feels the increase is unnecessary and cuts from programs which directly affect the average American. He also says that the $84 billion could be used elsewhere to have a greater impact on the American citizen.
"Do we add another eighty-plus billion dollars to the pentagon, or do we allow every qualified young American the ability to go to college, tuition free, in a public college or university, and substantially reduce student debt." He then addressed Trump's plans to give three trillion dollars to the top 1% in tax breaks saying, "these corporations don't need a tax cut. They need to start paying their fair share," He also debunked Trump's claim about American corporations paying the, "highest tax rates in the world."
"We need your voices"
Last, Sanders addressed Trump's plan to repeal the #affordable care act saying, "The American people are standing up, what they are saying loudly and clearly is, 'No.'" Sanders reiterated his feelings that we must, "join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee healthcare..as a right."
Sanders ended his response by saying, "defeating these attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act, and transfer even more of our nations wealth to Donald Trump and his billionaire friends is going to take all of us coming together and making our voices heard." He then encouraged those who have been involved in political action to keep it up, and to those who have not, he said, "We need your voices. We need your action."
The leader we need
On the topic of the current political state of the US, someone close to me recently said, "We need a hero." Perhaps, however, what we really need is a leader. And while he may not be our president, Bernie Sanders shows through honest discussion of fact and policy that he may be the leader we need.