Monday, March 14, 2016

Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders

To the Honorable Senator Bernie Sanders:

      Like many Americans I am deeply distressed by the incidents of violence that have transpired at rallies for the front-runner in the Republican nominating contest, Mr. Donald Trump. Though you have rightly condemned Mr. Trump for irresponsibly encouraging his followers in these incidents, and have stated that no candidate should welcome or incite violence, you have yet to issue a direct plea to your own supporters to refrain from violence of any kind.

        Some admittedly very dishonest pundits on the right are broadcasting a false narrative that asserts a moral equivalency between yourself and Donald Trump, claiming that your supporters are equally to blame for incidents such as what transpired recently in Chicago. Though this is absurd given the context of Mr. Trump's inflammatory behavior, even so, at such a fraught moment in our civic life all political leaders come under an onus to enjoin their own supporters to reject violence.

        You have shown great integrity and sterling leadership, both in Congress and on the campaign trail. Please use that moral authority accrued through long service to intervene positively in the current crisis. A clear plea from you asking your supporters to abjure violence in all forms would work powerfully and urgently to mend our civil discourse and elevate our political life from the depths into which it has fallen. 

         Donald Trump seeks to expose our "politically correct" civic culture as morally bankrupt and materially impotent. Only strong moral leadership on the part of his opponents can defeat his gambit. I hope that you will show Donald Trump, his supporters, and the rest of America that our inclusive democratic politics still claims the allegiance of people motivated by integrity and self-restraint. In any case, I hope this message finds you well and I thank you for your attention on this matter.


                                                              Andrew Meyer


Jonathan Dresner said...

Why should a candidate who has never advocated violence, whose supporters haven't been credibly accused of violence, and whose policy platforms are explicitly aimed at reducing violence (with the possible exception of gun laws, on which Sanders is a squish), have to scold supporters who are exercising their rights to peacefully protest and speak?

It's "both sides do it" absurdity.

Madman of Chu said...


I don't think that Sanders has to scold anyone, and I don't really know how much credibility to give to right wing claims that Sanders's supporters have instigated violence on their own initiative. I do believe, however that given how high passions are running and how tricky human nature can be, the law of averages dictates that, if it hasn't happened already, someone in the anti-Trump camp will do something wrong, perhaps tragically so. Before that happens it would be good for the nation as a whole if Sanders (and Clinton, and the other GOP candidates as well- I made this plea particularly to Sanders because he is the main straw-man target of the right wing media) to preemptively take the moral high ground and unequivocally signal that he does not approve of such action. We are at a point where assigning blame to one side or the other is itself an exercise that serves Trump's agenda. Trump can only be exposed as the petulant child he is if everyone else insists on acting like grown-ups.