Something’s Berning – I

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Something’s Berning – I
Many of my friends ‘feel the Bern’. I don’t, but I don’t think one needs to feel much in order to observe poli­tics. I’d pre­fer a rati­o­nal appro­ach over an emo­ti­o­nal one. ‘But you have been moc­king Sena­tor San­ders all that time, how is that rati­o­nal?’ one might ask.

I have not so much been making fun of Sen. San­ders, rather  tea­sing his fol­lo­wers with some obser­va­ti­ons of the Ber­nie cam­paign and its often non rati­o­nal beha­vior and argu­ments. That wasn’t very nice and I apo­lo­gi­sed. My obser­va­ti­ons come from long dis­tance, but they come from good­will; I am firmly on the side of the Uni­ted Sta­tes of America.

I agree with many of Sena­tor Ber­nard Sanders’s ideas. I con­si­der wealth redis­tri­bu­tion of cru­cial impor­tance. All US citi­zens should have full access to qua­lity edu­ca­tion and health care. The envi­ron­ment should be on the very top of any poli­ti­cal agenda. The pri­son indu­stry, that racist socie­tal con­trol instru­ment, should be reor­ga­ni­zed, actu­ally dis­mant­led and rebuilt. The deplo­ra­ble infra­struc­ture built up. The finan­cial indu­stry, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indu­stry, the weapon indu­stry would have to be reor­ga­ni­zed into transpa­rency. Et cetera, et cetera.

And yes, the press should be held accoun­ta­ble as well, to main­tain (or regain) a fac­tual and cri­ti­cally intel­lec­tual appro­ach of jour­na­lism. Not just the much vili­fied bia­sed ‘main­stream’ but also the equally bia­sed ‘alter­na­tive’ press. Yes, there is strong evi­dence of media bias (as clearly demon­stra­ted by It’s one of the more inte­res­ting expo­su­res that these elec­ti­ons have yiel­ded. But the whine about this unfair share of cor­po­rate media atten­tion has become ano­ther boring litany of San­ders’ social media sup­port. By the way, I don’t unde­resti­mate the power of social media, it may well prove to be of deci­sive power.

I’ve been incre­a­sin­gly sur­pri­sed how much the dis­course of these elec­ti­ons has become a quasi reli­gious nar­ra­tive. The mass ral­lies, the wor­ship, the ser­mon (the reve­rend  father ope­ning with ‘dear bro­thers and sis­ters’, not ‘com­ra­des’), the chan­ting, the hyp­no­tic repe­ti­tion of dogma. The believe instead of con­vin­cing argu­ments. If it looks like a cult, sounds like a cult, smells like a cult... it might even be one. And the sad rea­lity of cults is that they’re direc­ted inwards, not open to dia­lo­gue or cri­ti­que, a cozy fana­tic gathering of the likeminded.

In that res­pect it is not unlike Facebook.

Antony Oomen