I believe Bernie Sanders will win tonight in Iowa.
In any case, his rise to contend is already a a victory. This is astounding to the media, but not so much for long-time radicals who still live somewhat close to the ground. The America of “freedom and justice for all,” that which most of us hoped for, long ago became an empire-creature, willing to destroy its own people to maintain the profits of the few, crushing multitudes here and around the world.
Bernie Sanders is not the real hope. But Bernie’s willingness to take the risk of openly pointing to some of the greatest of the abuses pushed on the American people, and to the failure of the Democratic leaders to grapple with them, is breaking open a different kind of discussion among the American people.
Here’s the thing that some in “the left” miss. Its not about the purity of the candidate. Bernie in many, many ways is part of the establishment. Fundamental social change is beyond the power of any one person, even a President. The system we are now locked into is too big and entrenched. Bernie is not pure either, but even if he were this is not a one person job and he is not our Savior. But. . . that simply is not the issue for this moment I think.
The power of the Sanders movement is not its purity, (although it is better in that regard than anything seen in at least half a century), but it power is in what the campaign may crack-open.
Once the multitude, who have busy just trying to survive in one way or another, and who have largely abandoned hope in anything good coming from politics, stop; once they think that it might be possible for politics to actually serve the common good, (and by the “common good” I mean that all might have quality health care, survive in dignity in old age, send qualified children to college without providing tens of thousands of dollars to the profit of the lending class; that all including people of color, dissenters, and young of any group, might be treated fairly by law enforcement; once these things are realized and fully grasped, then it becomes a very, very different day in America.
That why the Sanders thing is becoming so important. I for one am not surprised Sanders is on the verge of actual victories. But it is not just about the candidate, but what the candidate may unleash and embolden that must be affirmed. A strong movement won’t happen without vision and hope. Being in a room with thousands beginning (again) to demand justice for all -really - is a good place to be. It is a starting place.
May the barriers to thought and action fall. Or as Bruce Cockburn sings, may we “kick at the wall until it bleed day light!”