We are now forced to make a decision in the Presidential Primary. Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders have waged an outstanding battle for the hearts of the Democratic primary voter. Bernie’s success in New Hampshire has been balanced with Hillary’s narrow victories in Iowa and Nevada and success in South Carolina. Should we feel the “Bern” or continue the political evolution by electing the first female President?
Our choices are made more difficult as Bernie’s promises to do what Barack Obama been unable to do as President. Single payer health insurance for all, holding Wall Street accountable, making the rich pay their fair share, free public college for all, increasing the minimum wage to $15 are things many want to see accomplished. But do we believe they can? And why would Senator Sanders be able to accomplish these things when Barack Obama has not? Does he have greater political skills? Is he a better negotiator? Is there power in the Presidency that Obama has not used?
Hillary offers a brand of gradualism. We have made progress under President Obama but there is much work yet to be done. We should build on those successes, according to Secretary Clinton, and continue to make progress toward equity and justice for all that was begun under President Obama. Coming in with the economy in trouble, the war taking all our resources, unemployment very high, and a large number of Americans uninsured or underinsured presented quite a few challenges for the new President. He has done well, says Secretary Clinton, under the circumstances, and we would do well to continue these efforts.
The Republicans offer a more convoluted view of the future. Under “making America great again” they place our current ills at the feet of those who come to the country illegally, those whose religions do not respect “the American way”, or bad deals that have cost us in economic might and restricted the growth of American industry through needless regulation, government interference, or over taxation. They believe our increased vulnerability is because we have become soft on our enemies, are unable to stand strong for our beliefs, and lack leadership in Washington (particularly the pinpointing President). A change would make things better.
It seems like we have choice. Can we return to those thrilling days of yesteryear? Can we expect the country to live up NOW to those principles promised in our constitution and its amendments? Should we continue on a path that has demonstrated progress but has fallen short of the ideal? Should we ask for more?
No matter your point of view, this is an important election, both in the primary and the general, and your vote is important. We must get it right and the outcome will determine the kind of future we and those Americans who might follow us might have.