Sunday, March 08, 2020

"Bernie Bro" Is a Stereotype

I'm very sad at the direction the Democratic nomination is taking, and that works on multiple levels. The first is I know we need universal health care. Joe Biden takes money from insurance companies and is essentially paid to make sure that doesn't happen. Of course he wasn't the only candidate doing that, but he's essentially the last one standing.

An argument used against Bernie I'm seeing go wide is the concept of "Bernie Bros." This was used against him 4 years ago, and it's no less despicable now than it was then. The idea is that Bernie's supporters are a bunch of juvenile white males. We are bullies, and we simply insult those who don't agree with us. We are small-minded, contrary, and no more thoughtful than Donald Trump.

This, of course, is ridiculous. It's primary season, and candidates are adversarial. The notion that candidates running against one another are universally nice to each other is ridiculous. I recall Mayor Pete saying some outrageous lie about Bernie at the debate, saying he wanted to burn down the system or something. That's ridiculous, unless we're talking about the system of propping up a health care system whose purpose is denying citizens care whenever possible, and enabling bankruptcy due to catastrophic medical emergency. And consider yourself lucky that Joe Biden hasn't pushed to remove that as an excuse.

Now I'm not saying that there aren't Bernie supporters who are fanatical or excessive. Of course there are. There are supporters of every candidate who are like that. I've known people who supported Hillary like that. I've been viciously attacked on Facebook by such people. I usually block them because, you know, life is short. As for me, the most I go on other people's pages and lecture them about the error in their political beliefs is never. If you come to mine, or here, you'll hear what I think for better or worse.

I grew up the only Jewish kid in a Catholic neighborhood. I got to learn about stereotypes up close and personal at a very young age. Of course I didn't know what they were called back then. I certainly knew I didn't merit what I was hearing. Within every stereotype are people who fit it, but within every stereotype are people who don't as well. Your character does not come from your religion, color, or nationality, and it doesn't come from your political persuasion either.My brother grew up in the same house as me, but he isn't a carbon copy of me. If you were to swap out our jobs we'd probably both be quite unhappy. I teach students from all over the world. Few to none of them fit the mold that people who use stereotypes would saddle them with. I like them more, less, or sometimes not much at all for who they are, not for where they come from. Stereotypes are borne of ignorance. Using them is lazy thinking, if you can even call it thinking.

You don't have to love Bernie, and you need not agree with his ideas. Still, stop telling me the reason why is his supporters are rude. If this is why we're moving toward nominating Joe Biden, who is so out of touch he just used the phrase, "Bernie Brothers," we're in pretty bad trouble. While Bernie does all the Sunday talk shows today, Joe's hiding somewhere trying to not commit the gaffes he made during the seven minutes they let him out in public the other day.

Also, I'm quite tired of hearing what a mistake it is to nominate someone so far left. Studies show Bernie's health care plan would save us hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives annually. Yes, we'd have to pay for it, but we already pay for heath care via copays. Many pay via payroll deductions, and the NYC model that lacks deduction is simply not sustainable indefinitely. We are nothing if not short-sighted.

I'm particularly weary of the trope that nominating someone far left, to wit someone who wants universal health care, free child care, free college, a living wage, and vibrant union is an egregious error. That's entirely based on George McGovern's loss in 1972. Since then, we've run Walter Mondale, Al Gore, Michael Dukaukis, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, all "safe" choices who went down in flames. I'm not highly impressed if you're remembering 1972 and forgetting 2016.

In any case, call me what you will, but don't lump me in a group and decide I need a name based on that. Doing so is ignorant and inaccurate. It's also offensive and rude. If you're a grownup, you ought to know better. If not, you need to be taught. I'm up for that. That's my job, in fact.
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