In Praise of a Presidential Candidate

Once again, it’s election season in America. A bunch of mostly old white men will criss-cross the country and attempt to sell a bunch of also mostly old and mostly white voters in Iowa and New Hampshire on the idea of them occupying the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This year (Thanks to the advent of Super Pac’s), more people are running for the highest office in the land than ever before. There’s Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton and I’m pretty sure Ted Williams and the Ghost of Patrick Swayze as well. Now, as an ideologically neutral guy, I never often praise a party politician, but today is different.

Recently, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and is a self-described democratic socialist, gave a speech at Liberty University of all places.

For my international visitors who may not know, Liberty University is a religious and conservative private college in Virginia. Founded in the early 70’s by Televangelist Jerry Falwell, the school has become to academia what Fox News is to other media outlets. GOP Candidates have repeatedly spoken there, but Sanders is the first liberal to do so at all.

On Monday, shortly after being introduced by Jerry Falwell Jr., Sanders commenced a half hour speech touching on key points of his campaign, the merits of the school whose students he largely disagrees with and the increasing need for a return to common ground in America. Highlights of the address can be found below.

“I came here today, because I believe from the bottom of my heart that it is vitally important for those of us who hold different views to be able to engage in a civil discourse. Too often in our country — and I think both sides bear responsibility for us — there is too much shouting at each other. There is too much making fun of each other.”

What he said on the merits of the school itself.

“You are a school which tries to teach its students how to behave with decency and with honesty and how you can best relate to your fellow human beings, and I applaud you for trying to achieve those goals.”

He later hit on some key points of his campaign.

“In my view, there is no justice, when here, in Virginia and Vermont and all over this country, millions of people are working long hours for abysmally low wages of $7.25 an hour, of $8 an hour, of $9 an hour, working hard, but unable to bring in enough money to adequately feed their kids.”

Ultimately, Mr. Sanders gave a pretty good speech in my own view. When I seek public office in the future, I will take a page from his book in this regard. Going to address ones most fierce opponents is a laudable action. Those seeking the Republican Nomination should do the same. If you’d like to view the speech, I’ve included a link here

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