2016 Political Post 3 – Feeling the Bern

Alright turds, break out your trapper-keepers and gel pens, because it’s time to go to school. The American presidential race continues to heat up like bare thighs on a leather sofa, and there’s no shortage of editorial opinion pieces available on radio, TV, and the internets. I’m sure you’ve already heard/seen/read a million billion things that support your particular favorite candidate, because you made a decision, and then you sought out content which supports your already formulated opinion, while ignoring any inconvenient literature which might force you to re-evaluate your closely held arbitrary beliefs. And don’t lie to me, you fucking know you do it too you lazy sperm satchels.

Now, me, I’m not a joiner. I’ve never been a gung-ho crusader for anything except the giving and receiving of tasteful nudes on Snapchat. I wouldn’t say that I’m willfully disagreeable, but I do enjoy playing the role of Devil’s Advocate in opposition to anybody else’s expressed opinions. I really, really do. So, as this election season approached, I assumed I would simply listen to everybody else’s ranting and raving with amused detachment and a sickeningly superior sneer. After all, I knew that the vote didn’t really matter, and never would, since the system is so flawed as to render us regular people completely meaningless. Much to my surprise however, I find myself, against my will, being swept up with something approaching enthusiasm, and dare I say, cautious optimism.

All because of a wispy-haired disgruntled grandpa from Vermont. I grudgingly admit it. I’m feeling the Bern.

So why am I, a cynical and distrusting millennial, alongside millions of my peers, rooting for the Sand man? Oh, let me count the ways.

First off, who is Bernie Sanders anyway? He’s a cranky Democratic Socialist senator from Vermont, who has had it up to here with the rotten state of established politics in Washington, and he’s ready for a social revolution. Who would even vote for such a silly little man? Well, who votes for anybody?

Republican voters vote Republican because they are either:

a) Rich penny pinchers who don’t want the government to even look at their hoarded treasures, let alone regulate how it is that they may make their wealth, but who are still happy to spend Federal funds on a big swinging dick military, and corporate welfare, just not on human welfare. It must be nice never having needed, or known anybody that needed government assistance like unemployment, or SNAP, or medical benefits. I mean, if you’ve ever used those programs, and still vote Republican, what a strangely hypocritical world you live in.

If you’re not richie-riches, and you’re with the GOP, you’re likely-

b) Poor people who are too dumb to realize that they’re voting against their best interests. Usually because they’re religious, and the GOP is the “religious” political party, in that they hate gay people and women. So, a poor person who is anti-abortion will likely vote Republican because they are ostensibly “pro-life”, even though the Republican party is against funding family planning centers like Planned Parenthood, whose services actually decrease the need for abortions by providing contraceptives and education to the horny young people who need them most. The GOP is also anti-women’s reproductive independence, because rich old white men in DC definitely know what’s best for your, your sister’s, or your best friend’s tasty female body. The Republican party’s motto on the subject is literally “You can’t have abortions, but you also can’t do anything to safely avoid needing abortions. You’re fucked mate.”.

(As an aside, here’s an idea for “pro-lifers”. If you’re enthusiastically pro-life, you should have to sign up for a registry. Then, when all of these unfortunate women who are forced to have unwanted babies against their wishes because of your bullying have babies, they can give them up to be placed in randomly selected pro-lifer homes, even if it’s against the pro-lifer’s wishes. It’s the perfect solution! Or…OR, you can realize what the rest of us realized long ago, that what happens in one woman’s body is nobody else’s damn business, and safely getting rid of an unwanted fertilized egg is much better for the woman, and probably the fertilized egg, AND society at large, than creating another unwanted baby who will grow up into an unwanted adult who will inevitably lure you behind a McDonalds dumpster by offering to suck your dick for Meth money, and then knock you out and steal your kidneys.)

So who, if Republicans are so greedy and stupid, are the Democrats? Democrats are other people who are not Republicans, but who are equally as greedy and stupid. Democrats represent the whiny unwashed masses, the corrupt unions, the lazy unemployed, seeking free handouts with grasping hands and crusty lips. They’re also the majority of young people, partially because most young people have not yet made enough money, especially in our current economy, to despise the idea of a safety net. They’ve also not yet grown so cynical  that they wish to hoard their personal wealth at the cost of other people’s well-being. Mostly however, young people are less likely to be Republican because they are idealistic, hopeful, and much more passionate about social justice than older generations.

Why then, if young people are more inclined to be Democrat anyway, are they not flocking to the banner of the Democratic juggernaut that is Hillary Rodham Clinton? Why do they love goofy old Bernie Sanders so much? It’s because, truthfully, they hate the Democratic party as well. While it might not be as egregiously loathsome to them as the Republican party, it’s still a disgusting example of the entrenched political system. The once powerful middle class of America is decreasing like a Native America tribe who just received a stack of plague blankets from Spanish missionaries, and both Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame. The entire governmental system is to blame. Hillary, unlike Bernie, is both of and for the Status Quo. Her entire platform is basically, “idealism is dumb, the system cannot be changed, the government is going to keep fucking you in the ass, but if you vote for me I’ll try to get them to lube up first.”

Bernie Sanders on the other hand is saying protect your anus, Fuck The System. He has the audacity to say that things aren’t right, and it’s time to fix it. Let me tell you, millennials are eating that up like cocaine flavored funfetti cake. And why shouldn’t we be? We didn’t fuck this Country up. We didn’t make all these problems. We’re just the ones who are going to be stuck inheriting them. Our parents and grandparents may be okay with the established system, but then again, their lives are already practically over, so they’re just trying to ride out the Status Quo until they can retire to Florida and hit manatees with speedboats.

So who is voting for Bernie? Anybody on the outside of the established system. Anybody who might benefit from a new normal. Who does that include? It’s a long list. People of color. Women. Immigrants. Working class. Middle class. And us, the youth of America. We’re inheriting our parents debt, their wars, their climate change, their economy, and we’ve decided enough is enough. They’re out of time. The dumb bastards blew it, and now it’s our turn. We’re no longer content working within a system that has shit on us at every step.

We’re going to stand by our ideals, and vote based on our consciences.

I know what the criticisms of this attitude are. Conservative and even moderate politicians are saying “you can’t fight the power you fools.” You see, the thing is, we can though. Once upon a time, the power in America was with the people, and we can take it back.

“But even if Bernie wins, he can’t actually enact any of his proposed legislation. He can’t make real changes.” You’re right, not with the greedy, corrupt, immature, narcissistic, arrogant Congress we have now. But just because our current state representatives are tragically uncooperative, that doesn’t mean we’ll always have a deadlock. Congresses change too. We won’t be done voting with just the Presidential election. We’ll be voting on our representatives at all levels of government for years to come. And the thing is, while you’re all slowly dying of old age, our numbers will only be increasing.

“Okay, okay, but what if Bernie gives you what he’s promising? You’ll never pay for it you dumb stupid idiot Dummies.” I…disagree. Will universal healthcare, free education, updated infrastructure, etc cost money? Yes, of course. Is it money WORTH spending? Yeah. Yeah it is. So where might this money come from? Well, some will come from you and I of course. A lot will come from increased taxes on corporations and the mega-rich. And more can come from spending cuts in other areas of the federal budget.

These aren’t even preposterous goals with wildly unattainable financial thresholds. Do you know what free four year public college is estimated to cost American taxpayers if it’s enacted? Like $250 per YEAR. I’ve spent more than that on one night out drinking. That’s about 70 cents a day.

And why are the mega-rich complaining so hard about increased tax rates? What are they really going to lose? I mean, really? What’s with the obsessive compulsion to accumulate more wealth? Are we secretly all just dragons, hoping to plunder the Dwarven mines of Erebor for a stack of shiny baubles to slumber upon in reptilian bliss? Beyond a certain, and surprisingly low point, wealth accumulation no longer makes sense. There comes a point where you can’t possibly spend it all. Studies show that day to day happiness no longer increases after your income exceeds $70-100k a year. If you’re no longer getting happier…what’s the point?

Donald Trump, by comparison, makes almost $700,000 PER DAY. But you’re right, he couldn’t possibly afford to pay any more taxes. He’d be ruined.

Look, the super-rich’s finances aren’t like yours or mine. When someone has billions in the bank, that hoarded money is benefiting nobody, not even the owner of the wealth. It’s just sitting. A small portion of those funds might as well be used for admirable things. If you can pay a little extra to help pave a road, or pay for a medical procedure, or send a kid to school, and you have so much money that you literally would not notice that extra bit missing except as a number on a bank statement that still has a lot of zeroes attached, why wouldn’t you want to spend the money? Put it to better use than just paying hush money when little Susie kills someone while high on designer drugs and driving the brand new Bugatti Veyron you bought her for her super sweet sixteen.

And we don’t just have to dig a little deeper into our pockets, or fleece the disgustingly wealthy of some of their ill-gotten gains. We can also move some money around that we’re already paying. Let’s see where our tax dollars are going currently:

 

Now, some common sense savings would occur as a direct result of enacting things like free education. The government already pays billions in Pell grants and financial aid to college students. If college becomes free…nobody will need those grants. Boom, the government is already saving billions. Additionally, education, especially provided to disenfranchised segments of society who didn’t have the financial resources to obtain it previously, will do a LOT to lower crime, and decrease overcrowding in our federal prisons. Are you familiar at all with our current prison system? That’s another place where billions are being spent, without any real return on the investment. We’re not rehabilitating anybody with our current system. Instead we’re sending in kids, and sending out monstrous adults. The government currently spends more money on prosecuting kids for drug charges, and then imprisoning them, than it spends on affordable public housing to help underprivileged citizens actually improve their situations. Fantastic priorities.

Regarding welfare programs, like the SNAP food stamps system, which is buried in that tiny blue 1% slice above, we can actually expand benefits, but still save money by making obtaining them more difficult. If you’re looking for government handouts, you should be expected to submit to drug screenings, and if you’re able-bodied, you should need to work, obtain work training, or perform community service. I don’t think that’s asking too much. You need some help making ends meet at the end of the day? We’re here for you. We’re all in this together after all. You want free shit for nothing? Go fuck yourself you fucking fuck.

And then there’s the big one. The Big Not-So-Friendly Giant. Our military.

Currently, over half of ALL of our tax dollars go to the military. And yet people rarely complain about our grossly over-inflated military budget. Why is this? Do you really think that we don’t have more than enough resources to protect the United States as it is? This is America! Every civilian household has 83.2 guns. Even if we had zero military, we’d be a hard nut to crack. The United States currently spends more per year than the next seven highest spending countries in the world. Most of whom are our allies!

 

To put this in perspective, Iran, who isn’t even listed above, and hasn’t invaded another country in hundreds of years, is portrayed as one of our most dangerous enemies. Their annual military budget? Less than $5 billion. Same with North Korea.

The United States military spends over $5 billion annually just on child care and recreation programs for our troops.

Here’s the thing. If we reined in our profligate military spending to a less absurd level, say 25% of our tax dollars instead of over 50%, that’s still a larger percentage, and larger dollar amount than any other country. If we lessened over seas deployments, and focused just on defending our homeland, instead of aggressively pursuing  interests abroad, I believe you’ll find we could safely decrease our military spending even more, because we’ll have less boots on the ground, and honestly, we’ll have fewer enemies. Not to mention, all this military hardware has to go somewhere. Overproduction of guns and tanks and bombs and planes and whatnot is dangerous. If it exists, there’s a good chance that eventually it will end up being used against us by our enemies. If we cut our military spending in half, we could enact free healthcare, free schooling, and a half dozen other helpful programs domestically, and still have money left over. Our taxes would actually decrease. Now, this isn’t easily done. I under stand that. A lot of our military spending happens simply because it’s expensive to be an American. For example, we may pay an average grunt soldier $18k a year. That’s not a lot of money by any American standards. China on the other hand can have that same soldier for less than $4k a year. So every one of our soldiers costs the same as 5 Chinese troops. That’s a hurdle, no doubt about it. But that doesn’t make up for hideously overpriced boondoggles like the F-35 fighter program, or the fact that we have an M1-A1/2 Abrams tank factory cranking out tanks that are just sitting in the Arizona desert rotting because we don’t actually need them. Ultimately, the US military can and should and must tighten its belt, for the good of us all.

Now, I like my money. Don’t get me wrong. I like buying cool stuff, and living the American dream. What I don’t like, is seeing that dream become more and more and more and more unobtainable for 98% if Americans while the top 2% buy off the government and sip cognac in their winter cabins as they prepare to hunt the most dangerous game of all, their fellow man, with impunity.

The current system is fucked, and we millennials have had enough. We’re ready for a revolution, and the thing about revolutions is, sometimes you’ve just got to watch the world Bern.

Bernie

 

 

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About Max T Kramer

Max has been better than you at writing since the third grade. He currently lives in Connecticut, but will someday return to the desert.
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