An afternoon with Bernie

My introduction to American politics happened with the 2000 election between Al Gore and G.W.Bush. I've had notions of the way the American democracy works before but never bothered to learn about it. However, on the merit of being the oldest democracy, it was easier to blame on a system which was confusing and too vague from a largest vote getter wins narrative. 

So when the 2000 election and the subsequent commotion happened, that is when I thought it worthwhile to read about the American electoral system. It was difficult to understand and was counter-intuitive. I couldn't for the life of myself figure out why the electoral system is the way it was. It needed a lot of reading into the lives of the founding fathers of American politics and introduced some of the leaders I consider great and who actually were visionaries and pioneers in defining democracy so many years ago (Jefferson, John Adams, Hamilton, Burr, Madison, Ben Franklin). 

That said, a lot of the issues with the current state of American politics also can be traced to most of the issues plaguing the system today. I am no expert but understanding the issues makes it more interesting to follow them.

So I've been following the election years of the America with more interest as the civil blows of the day make for good reading. So it was in  2004 & 2008. 2012 was timid compared to those elections. Infact the 2008 Dem primary was more interesting than the 2012 election.

So it was again with interest that I started watching this year's primaries and the rebellious candidacies of Bernie and Trump. Trump, I lost interested in him the moment he started behaving like a crazy guy. Bernie, he looks like one, but talks more like how I used to be while in college. 

Now, the inequity of the world used to piss me off so much that I was expecting a revolution to come to sweep off all that and bring in a utopia of sorts. This is something I strongly wanted to happen till at least 3-4 into the job stream. And attributed to the heavy reading of Soviet literature in my early days. I remember the snowy nights in Omaha when I used to argue hotly with Haridas about the coming revolution. 

Then something happened and I became skeptical, then cynical and then lost faith in the revolution. In fact the revolution seemed like a cruel idea to keep dreaming about the life during the college life. 

Now Bernie was like the guy who still lives in college with the same dream for the past 50 years. I am not sure whether that is a good thing or not. So it was that by chance, I happen to be in the area during the NY primary and decided to check out Bernie in one of his rallies.

So after a few transfers and quite a bit of walk, reached the Bronx Community college. A short introduction by Susan Sarandon and Bernie came and spoke for about 45 minutes.

 I was listening with interest as Bernie starts off with the list of how his revolution will proceed. Free college, $15, On par wages for women, Healthcare for all, closing down jails etc. And every time he touched the particular item, the crowd went crazy. 

The crowd consists of mainly college kids, mostly white but some Latinos and African-Americans as well. It was fun to see all that enthusiasm and the inevitable reality that will take over. For all the believing in vs pragmatism, I do not think Bernie is no FDR or Lincoln to push through his agenda and I thought the Americans learnt it in the past 8 years of Obama and how much he had to struggle to push through incremental changes.

But then I would love to see Bernie as president trying to push through his agenda in a Republican congress. That will be something. 

But then my limiting knowledge of American politics may be a reason why I am skeptical. Any way it was an learning experience to be there feeling to be part of the great American election experience.

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