I happened to catch a podcast segment of Bernie Sanders on an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” last week. At the very start of the interview, Maher went immediately to the issue of Bernie’s brand of “socialism.” Maher’s take was that Bernie should talk more about the things people already like about US socialism. He said that, since most Americans “don’t already realize we are already socialist,” Bernie ought to be reminding voters that US socialism already exists and they already love it, in the form of medicare, social security, the military, and the VA. Bernie responded with a list of uniquely American failures from which no other “major country on earth” suffers: We lack free tuition, paid family leave, guaranteed single-payer healthcare, and a stronger tax on the top 1%, for starters. Bernie’s point was that, while we may have some socialist programs, we are not yet a democratic socialist country, and that the democratic socialist societies of Europe have also figured out as developed nations how to meet the basic thresholds he listed.
Over a few days last week, in my professional capacity as director at National Intervention and in between my personal interest in his new project, Groceryships, I had the unexpected opportunity to meet with Sam Polk (despite a level of newfound celebrity that’s brought national and international media to his living room). I was unprepared for his affable demeanor, unrepressed warmth, and sincere insightfulness.Read more