Living in Society Reviews

Book Review: Our Revolution

Bernie Sanders exploring a presidential run in Johnson County 2014. He mentions this event in Our Revolution.

Our Revolution by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is an outstanding blueprint for fixing much of what ails us in society. Income inequality, corporate greed, dark money in politics, climate change, immigration reform, prison reform, poverty, and more are all present in the narrative and adequately addressed. Here’s the rub: Sanders’ positions have been well known for a long time and twice Democrats rejected him as their presidential candidate.

Sanders used his position in the Congress to advance what he can of his agenda. He writes about his successes in the book. He also serves a useful role as a gadfly on Democrats. He has gotten work done during the two years after the 2020 election, especially as chair of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. There is value in having Sanders caucus with Senate Democrats. Sanders’ ideas haven’t gained broader traction.

During the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucus held in Big Grove precinct, Sanders was not even viable when four other candidates each took one of our four delegates to the county convention. This is to say while Sanders’ vision is based on common sense and logic, those two things can be found only in the discount bin of today’s political superstore.

The lack of common sense and logic in our politics is maddening. Our Revolution will serve as a reference when one of its topics arise. Yet because the electorate is only partly driven by common sense and logic, it will likely gather dust until such time as Democrats regain substantial majorities in the U.S. Congress. It is uncertain when that might be.

Politicians increasingly seem to lack foundational common sense and logic. My state representative posted on their website:

This week in the Iowa Legislature, we passed landmark legislation that protects children under 18 years of age from irreversible damage that happens through transgender surgeries and chemical therapies. My inbox absolutely exploded with “Thank You” emails from people expressing gratitude for taking action to protect children!

Brad Sherman Liberty Letter, March 11, 2023.

What does “absolutely exploded” mean? Does it mean a majority of the 22,000 registered voters in the district emailed their thanks to him? No, it does not. It means he got a lot of emails from close supporters of his last campaign. I can see why he would want to lead his weekly column titled, “Crimes of Communism & Our Moral Compass” with fake popularity. He is a long-time non-denominational minister used to writing jeremiads. He needs a strong first paragraph to get his message across.

Iowans do support the anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ+ agenda Iowa Republicans in the legislature have advanced.

Majorities of Iowans support Republican legislation to restrict instruction on LGBTQ topics in schools and ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Des Moines Register, March 13, 2023.

The issue is the poll does not come from a perspective of common sense and logic. It parrots the scare tactics of right wing media outlets that prevail in Iowa and have amplified anti-LGBTQ+ ascendancy as a moral imperative. The logical policy would be to assure every Iowan, including transgender children, gets equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

U.S. Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment

Like Bernie Sanders, I am a voice without adequate support to enact my views, based on common sense and logic, into law. That’s not where society is right now. The question political writers and activists must ask is “What do we do now?” That’s an open question, and common sense will not be enough. I recommend keeping a copy of Our Revolution close by for when we break through.

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