Bernie Sanders and the END of ‘Apologetic Liberalism’

Before you read this post, do me a favor.  Take ten seconds, close your eyes, and listen.

What you hopefully heard was the sound of silence.

Everywhere you look across this country, from the Texas Rio Grande Valley to the shores of the Alaskan coast, a sudden silence has begun to sweep across those on the Left side of the political spectrum.  Yes it’s true… Liberals have stopped apologizing for their views.

Instead, they’ve started listening to Bernie Sanders.  You know… that Presidential candidate that gets less press coverage than more than nearly half of the Republican Presidential field.  The same Presidential candidate that is packing stadia with supporters at virtually every stop of his 50 state campaign.

But hopefully after yesterday’s event, the media will soon start to ‘Feel the Bern’.  As Jessica Taylor of NPR reports, Sanders showed just how far his message can reach.

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders was preaching to a different kind of choir at Liberty University on Monday.


“I came here today because I believe that it is important for those with different views in our country to engage in civil discourse — not just to shout at each other or make fun of each other,” Sanders began. “It is very easy for those in politics to talk to those who agree with us. I do that every day. It is harder, but not less important, to try to communicate with those who do not agree with us and see where, if possible, we can find common ground and, in other words, to reach out of our zone of comfort.”


He acknowledged he had many differences with the school’s leaders and most of the student body at the largest Christian university in the country, particularly on abortion and gay marriage, and Sanders was unapologetic for his liberal views on those social issues.

But he spent the bulk of his time trying to find that common ground with the nearly 12,000 students who had gathered for mandatory convocation. He talked about the problems of wealth inequality, the absence of health care and fair wages for the poor and what America’s response should be.

For the foundation of that belief, he looked to the Gospel, quoting Matthew 7:12, commonly known as the Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and Prophets.”

Yes… the Jewish Senator Bernie Sanders, on the day of Rosh Hashanah in his faith, quoted from the New Testament of the Bible.

It was from this biblical context that Sanders spoke on poverty, income inequality and the many fallacies surrounding the nation’s disparate minimum wage policies…

Put this in the context of the bible– not me.  We are living in a time when a handful of people have wealth beyond comprehension.  And I’m talking about tens of billions of dollars… enough to support their families for thousands of years.  More money than they would ever know what to do with.  

But at that same moment, there are millions of people in our country… who are struggling to feed their families.  They are struggling to put a roof over their heads, and some sleeping out on the streets.  They are struggling to find money to go to the doctor when they are sick.  

Now when we talk about morality… about justice, we have to, in my view, understand that there is no justice when so few have so much, and so many have so little.  


In my view, there is no justice… when millions of people are working long hours for abysmally-low wages… Working hard, but unable to bring in enough money to adequately feed their kids.  Yet at that same time, fifty-eight percent of all new income generated is going to the top one percent.  You have got to think about the morality of that, the justice of that, and whether or not that is what we want to see in our country.  

Apologies not included.

Call it bravery, or insanity, but once again Bernie Sanders has proven that the truth has resonance across the political spectrum.

And if you’re wondering just how well received his Socialist message was at the Conservative Christian stronghold, let’s turn to Jessie Pounds of the Lynchburg News Advance who was there to gather student reactions…

“I think he did a good job of not offending,” junior Emily Murphy said. “I think he said what he believes in, but he didn’t put us down, so I respected that.”

Keila Overcast, also a junior, said she thought it was appropriate for Sanders to be as up front as he was about his support for abortion rights and gay marriage, but as someone strongly opposed herself, she wished he’d said more to explain why he feels that way.

Michael Leh, a sophomore studying Christian leadership, said he saw himself voting for Sanders if the election came to a matchup between Sanders and businessman and television star Donald Trump.

“Even though I might not agree with him, I respect him the most out of all the candidates right now, the fact that he came here and spoke with us and at the same time was very blunt with us, I really appreciated that,” Leh said.

And thus it is revealed:  the true secret to Bernie Sanders’ continued success.  He states what he believes, respects the other side even when he doesn’t agree with them, and he doesn’t apologize.

It’s been a long time since the United States has witnessed this brand of politics.  But thankfully for us all, Sanders is proving that it not only still has a place, but that people are hungering for it.

Let’s hope this message resonates with other Democratic candidates as well.

Here’s the Full Speech, including an interesting question and answer session, posted on YouTube by the Separation of Corporation and State…  



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TLCQ 2015: Sylvester Turner

In the Ninth installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire we hear from Hon. Sylvester Turner, current State Representative for the 139th House District of the Texas State Legislature.  He is running for Mayor of Houston.

Please note: Responses are directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but may be considered during the endorsement process.


TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

ST:  Sylvester Turner


TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

ST:  Yes. Since 1988, I have represented HD 139 in the Texas House of Representatives. I have just completed my 26th year in the legislature.


TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

ST:  I believe government is the means through which we all work together to make Houston the world-class city we know it can be.  I believe that everyone deserves the same opportunities to advance and succeed that I was so lucky to receive growing up.  I believe that we each have a responsibility to our neighbors, not just to ourselves.  I believe that Houston’s diversity is one of its greatest assets and that all voices must be represented at the decision-making table.  I believe government is important because, ultimately, government is us.


TL:  If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.

ST:  There is a top tier of challenges that our next mayor will need to address, including the need for safer neighborhoods, improved roads and infrastructure, stronger support for our public schools and careful management of our budget. Those are all top priorities for me.

I would add to that list a big challenge that my opponents are not addressing: ensuring that Houston’s progress and promise are truly benefitting all of our communities, not just a select few.  We are a world-class city with the resources and wherewithal to meet the fundamental needs of all of our families and to provide real opportunity in every community. But right now, Houston’s economy is working a lot better for some of our communities than for others. In fact, economic inequality has sharply increased here over the past 30 years and too many Houstonians are shut out of our prosperity.  Our economy is strongest when our middle class is thriving and when all our residents have access to good-paying jobs. Making the long-term strategic decisions that will expand opportunity throughout the city is the key responsibility of our next mayor.


TL:  After decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, Houston’s infrastructure is in a critical state of disrepair. Ask any driver, cyclist or pedestrian, and they can readily tell you that city streets and sidewalks are crumbling… some to the extent that they pose significant danger to those that would traverse them. The Parker Administration has attempted to address the problem by the voter-approved ReBuild Houston program. Knowing that the next Mayor has no choice but to invest in city infrastructure, do you support the continuation of ReBuild Houston?  If yes, please explain why.  If no, please explain how you would address our copious infrastructure needs differently.  

ST:  Houston’s infrastructure must keep pace with our growth and development – that is essential.  ReBuild Houston was designed to create the strong infrastructure that Houston needs and deserves, which will lead to increased property values and facilitate our continued growth.  The strength of the ReBuild Houston model is that the fund will increase as old bonds are retired and the funds used for debt service are captured. In light of the recent ruling on ReBuild Houston by the Texas Supreme Court, the prospects for a secure funding source for infrastructure are in question. As we work to strengthen the ReBuild program, or replace it if necessary, bringing all stakeholders to the table will be essential.  I will fight to maintain a reliable and equitable revenue source for drainage and streets.  The people of Houston lose if we do not have a reliable funding source for infrastructure.


TL:  At present the city of Houston has one of the strongest forms of “strong-Mayor governance” in the state of Texas, to the point that the Mayor alone decides what business comes before City Council. If elected, would you support an amendment to the City Charter that would allow any coalition of 6 Council Members to place items on the Council Agenda without prior approval from the Mayor? Whether yes or no, please explain your answer.

ST:  I do believe that Council Members should have input with respect to which issues come before the Council.  However, Houston’s strong mayor model exists for a reason.  The strong mayor form of government means that the buck stops at the mayor’s desk and that the mayor is uniquely responsible for developing a clear vision for the city and for driving the city forward toward that goal.  If elected, I look forward to working with the City Council to foster collaboration among communities with differing interests from all across the city and to work together for the betterment of Houston.


TL:  If elected, would you support and seek to continue the current administration’s Complete Streets policy, which establishes that any new or significant re-build of city streets will work to prioritize and incorporate safe access for all road users, including pedestrians, persons with disabilities and cyclists?

ST:  Yes.  The Complete Streets concept is an important shift for the city in terms of establishing a new standard for transportation development. The main obstacle to the effective implementation of Complete Streets is funding. Public-private partnerships are solutions for a few neighborhoods but relying exclusively on the market leaves other Houston communities behind. We need to bring all stakeholders to the table, including investors and residents, to develop an equitable solution for funding these improvements throughout the city.


TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

ST:  I am running for mayor to make sure that today’s young people have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, just like I did.  That starts with providing a city that is well run, clean and safe, with an infrastructure that supports a good quality of life – and that treats everyone who lives here equally and with dignity and respect.

I have represented Houston in the Texas House of Representatives since 1988 and am the only candidate with 26 years of expertise with respect to the details of government. I have worked with Mayor Annise Parker and others before her to advance the City of Houston’s priorities in the Legislature. Over the years as a legislator, I have fought to bring home hundreds of millions of dollars for the benefit of Houston.  I am also the only candidate with a 26-year history of working with different voices and interests for the good of the people of Houston.   I have a proven ability to work with leaders from every community to achieve results.  For example, the relationships that I have built with Democrats and Republicans at the state level and with liberal and conservative faith leaders locally have been instrumental in my ability to win and protect gains with respect to civil rights and equality. None of my opponents has a similar record of results for our community.


TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

ST:  I like to visit Sylvester Turner Park in my district.  Not because City Council graciously named it after me but because it is a jewel in the middle of Acres Homes that any community would be proud to have.  It used to be West Little York Park and it was 29 acres of nothing but weeds.  The city refused to improve it but I was told they would maintain the park if I could make improvements.  I raised the money through state grants and from private donors and created a lovely park with three baseball fields, the first public fields in Acres Homes, playground equipment and a jogging trail.  I then worked with Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros to bring an Urban Youth Academy to the park, the second in the country.  The Astros and MLB built another field and a training facility.  Over two thousand boys and girls come to the Academy every year from all over the city to learn baseball and softball.  Each year I hold Family Day at the park and more than 15-thousand residents come to celebrate this great facility and to share in free food, music, baseball and games.  The Acres Homes community is proud of this park and so am I.


Thanks to Mr. Turner for the responses.

Election Day 2015 is Tuesday November 3rd, and Early Voting runs from October 19th through October 30th.  Check out this year’s Harris County Early Voting information for locations and times.