February 26, 2016 by David K. Sutton
The Revolution Will Not Be Binge Watched
It won’t come fast. It won’t be easy. It might just make you want to Netflix and chill. But, make no mistake, we need a political revolution to fix Washington D.C.
On Thursday night, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews hosted a town hall with Bernie Sanders. During one of many testy moments, Matthews asks Sanders how he will push his plans through a Republican controlled congress. “Mitch McConnell looks at you the way he looks at President Obama and says forget about it,” says Matthews. “And you know what I say,” replied Sanders. “Hey Mitch, take a look out the window. There are a million people out there who don’t want to be in debt for half of their life for the crime of going to college. And if you want to antagonize those people and lose your job, Mitch. If you don’t want to lose your job you better start listening to what we have to say. That’s the point. That’s how change takes place.”
Of course, Matthews continued to push back, as he should, about how Sanders plans to get anything done if he presumably will face a Republican majority congress. But, as Sanders said, Chris Matthews just doesn’t get it. Do I think there are Sanders supporters who are delusional enough to believe he will be able to carry out everything he says? Yeah, I’m pretty sure they exist. But, I’d like to think most Bernie supporters are realistic about how much can really get done in business-as-usual Washington D.C. So the point is, reform will not fix Washington, only revolution will. I know it sounds scary to some. I know it sounds silly to others. I know the mainstream media, and especially conservative media, dismiss Bernie as unserious. But, almost everyone agrees Washington D.C. is broken because of money. It is broken because of lobbyists. It is broken because we perennially cling to the notion Washington will be fixed with incremental reform.
“You and I look at the world differently,” Sanders said to Matthews. “You look at it inside the beltway. I am not an inside the beltway guy. I am an outside the beltway guy.”
Matthews pointed out that the people who pass laws are inside the beltway. “And those people are gonna vote the right way when millions of people demand that they vote the right way,” replied Sanders. “On this issue I have no doubt that as President of the United States I can rally young people and their parents to say that if Germany does it, Scandinavia does it, countries around the world do it, and yes we bailed out Wall Street, it is Wall Street’s time to help the middle-class.”
These are the ideals I want at the helm of the bully pulpit. I do not expect Sanders to be able to get much of his agenda through this congress. What I expect from Sanders is good judgment, like when he went against the grain on the Iraq war and DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act). What I expect from Sanders is a relentless articulation of social liberal values using the largest platform on the face of the Earth, the office of the President of the United States. I have no illusions about fixing Washington D.C. overnight. Instead, I recognize we have a problem that will not be fixed with a tweak here, a reform there.
At some point we need to wake up and realize often the media figures we look to are part of the problem. I’m talking to you Chris Matthews. Because often they are indeed “inside the beltway,” and they just cannot envision a system that works any other way.