Friday, August 25, 2017

"Our job is not to allow them to divide us up" ~ @BernieSanders

Friends of Bernie Sanders

I recently returned to Burlington after great events in Indianapolis and Detroit, cities that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, and Portsmouth, Ohio, a community that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.
At each stop, I met people of all backgrounds who had an enormous amount in common. Whether they voted for Clinton, Trump or me they wanted jobs that paid a living wage, health care that was affordable and the ability to send their kids to college no matter what their income was.
And with the recent events in Charlottesville weighing heavily on everyone’s minds, they want to live in a country free of racism and bigotry. Unlike the president, they know there are no "nice" Nazis.
I wanted to go to these three very different communities because our mission is to bring people together in every zip code in the country. At a time when Trump and his allies are trying to divide us up by race, religion, sexual orientation or national origin, our job is to bring people together to create an economy and a government that works for everyone, not just the 1 percent.
We recorded a short video of the trip. I hope that you’ll watch it and listen to some of the stories from the tour. Then share it with your friends on social media.
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During the presidential campaign, I made it a point to stop at conservative areas like Liberty University and McDowell County, West Virginia. I did that because it is imperative that we go beyond our political comfort zones, start reaching out to people who do not agree with us on every issue and see where, if possible, we can find common ground. And believe me, there is a lot more common ground out there than the media portrays.
I can tell you definitively that people I have met of all backgrounds -- men and women, gay and straight, black, white, Latinx, Asian and Native American -- are sick and tired of a government and an economy that works overtime for the rich and the powerful while ignoring the needs of working people. Very few people that I have talked to, whether they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents, believe it makes any sense at all to give tax breaks to billionaires while throwing 23 million Americans off of health insurance or privatizing Medicare.
Most people that I have talked to, from Maine to California, believe strongly in the concept of American democracy. They disagree with the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United and do not believe that billionaires like the Koch brothers should be able to buy elections or that governors should mount massive campaigns of voter suppression -- efforts that are intentionally denying people of color, low-income people and students the ability to participate in the political process.
And increasingly, people of all economic backgrounds understand that it is a moral abomination that in the richest country in the history of the world we remain the only developed nation on this earth that does not guarantee health care as a right to every man, woman and child.
I encourage you to watch the video from the tour and see the conversations that took place over the past two days. You can do that here:
In Indianapolis, I joined with Chuck Jones, the former head of the Steelworkers, who stood up to Donald Trump when he lied about saving jobs at the Carrier plant in Indiana and continues to stand up for American workers. I heard T.J. Bray, a Carrier worker whose family, including five aunts and uncles, has more than 125 years of service at the company. He watched as Donald Trump promised to save all their jobs at Carrier and he watched as that promise was broken and 550 of his co-workers were laid off.
In Detroit, I joined Representative John Conyers, one of the great progressive leaders in Congress, who has repeatedly introduced legislation that would ensure health care is a right in this country.
And in Portsmouth, Ohio, I met Zach, who told the story of caring for his nearly three year old daughter who was diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Zach makes $9 an hour and he and his wife rely on Medicaid to take care of their daughter.
As you may know, in the next few weeks I’ll be introducing my Medicare-for-all bill. The campaign to pass this legislation will not be easy and it will not be quick. We will be taking on the insurance industry, the drug companies, Wall Street and all those who make billions from our dysfunctional health care system. The only way we win that struggle is when millions of Americans at the grass-roots level, stand up, fight back and make it clear that in this country we believe that health care is a right, not a privilege.
The recent events I attended in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan were great. The turnouts were large and the people there were strong and beautiful. Those who came out to our rallies and town meetings know what you know and what I know. And that is that if people of all backgrounds can come together and fight for economic, social, racial and environmental justice there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
And that is our job. Stand together, fight back and create the great nation that we all know we can become.
In solidarity,
Bernie Sanders

P.S. As you know, I don’t go around asking millionaires and billionaires for money. These trips, and our political revolution, is funded by working people of all backgrounds chipping small amounts of money to power our movement forward. If you can afford it — and only if you can afford it — add a $58 donation today:

Paid for by Friends of Bernie Sanders
PO BOX 391, Burlington, VT 05402

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