Bernie made me conservative

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Bernie made me conservative

Nakul Suresh, Writer

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Bernie or bust. How could elitist, corporatist and establishment Hillary represent the common man? Her views have changed about as often as Bill Clinton has had affairs. She’s evolved from a self-identified moderate to a faux progressive. Instead, I was craving a breath of fresh air during the 2016 presidential election: a politician who’s had consistent views and prioritizes their constituents first. Like several millennials, I shared the sentiment believing that the quirky, New York senior citizen, Bernie Sanders embodied my values the most.

Why is it that so many Americans are poor, while a few are filthy rich? Why is it that political candidates represent special interests rather than the people who voted for them? Why is it that a first world country has a disorganized healthcare system with millions of citizens uninsured? Bernie Sanders’ whole mantra is to “transform our economy to one that works for all of us and not just the one percent.” An economy conducive to job accessibility is essential for any generation of people rife with skills to offer. Therefore, with the appeal of free tuition and guaranteed healthcare, millennials flocked to Bernie’s ideas.

During the 2016 Democratic Primary, Senator Sanders’ campaign surprisingly gave the Clinton campaign a run for its money. He managed to secure wins in 22 states and nearly defeated Clinton in several other state primaries and caucuses. However, the odds were stacked against him, as many Washington Democrats held biases. Most notably, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned after Wikileaks released emails regarding sabotage of the Sanders campaign.

In addition to the corruption behind the scenes, the ‘Democratic’ National Committee utilizes super delegates. Super delegates are democratic elites and politicians who have a heavier say in choosing the nominee than the voting public. The concept of super delegates is the antithesis of democracy, illustrating the menacing, Orwellian idea that some are more equal than others.

But why is the 2016 Democratic Primary relevant today? Bernie’s campaign has not only extended to 2020, but also has paved the pathway for progressives and the left wing to emerge into the current political scene. These are politicians who preach that increased governmental regulation can transform America into an egalitarian utopia.

For example, members of ‘The Squad’ in Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, have advocated for ending the fossil fuel industry, infringing on gun ownership and enforcing immensely high tax rates on the wealthy. In other words, ‘democratic socialist’ ideas dominate the discourse of the current Democratic Party; the new generation of Democrats don’t just criticize low taxes and trickledown economics like the Reagan days.

I indeed advocated for democratic socialist policies in the past, entranced by the false hope. I was fascinated by the common people’s uprisings in countries like the Soviet Union or China; history had long been monarchic and socialist revolutions were an upset to the status quo. Equality sounded fair, as a person can’t choose the circumstances they are born into.  It could be fair to give up part of what you have for the greater good of society. However, if the governments of the Soviet Union or China were truly for the proletariat and an egalitarian society, citizens would not have had to suffer through oppressive regimes, resulting in millions being murdered.

I’m not trying to imply that the democratic socialists in our government have intentions to murder American citizens. But I eventually started to realize that their values were anti-American. Put differently, I think radical left values undermine the American ideals of freedom and justice.

It’s anti-American to consider the rights of illegal immigrants the same as or more important than that of American citizens. Therefore, we need to have strong border security to ensure the safety of American citizens and to prevent immigrants from crossing the border illegally. It’s anti-American to restrict freedom of speech. ‘Social justice’ culture vehemently opposes opinions that don’t match with their ideology, promoting censorship. It’s anti-American to engage in identity politics, constantly linking issues to race as a root cause. This mentality is divisive, grouping Americans into victims and perpetrators.

While Bernie’s campaign captivated my interest through highlighting issues in American society like economic inequality, his campaign inadvertently led me to my epiphany that I value my freedom too much to give it up in hope of the government promising me a future that can’t be achieved.