Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes!’

If the choice in the 2016 Presidential election had been between Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders, I believe now, as I did then, that Sanders would have won.

What the two had in common was that they were “outsiders” to the political status quo. Both spoke about strengthening the working class, creating jobs, bolstering the economy with infrastructure investment, getting Washington, D.C. out of the Wall Street bedroom, refusing to take big donor money. Both spoke with passion. Both sometimes spoke like unvarnished straight-talking guys comfortable in the “no B.S.” Truck Stop locker rooms. They said what they meant and they meant what they said.

Bernie was the first democratic socialist since Eugene Debs to capture the attention of the American electorate. Many believe his socialist views, the opposite of the billionaire capitalist, would have condemned him to defeat in the 2016 election.  I argued that, to the contrary, Bernie would have exposed Trump as a fraud, a phony whose business record proves him to be the opposite of the working class – a spoiled brat member of the Billionaire Class, a 1 % beneficiary of crony capitalism. Bernie was the straight-talking common man and woman’s candidate who spoke truth to power and presented himself as the candidate who would take back the power on behalf of a fairer society.

The straight-talking democratic socialist Bernie was and is my guy.

But listening to him on “State of the Union” yesterday, I found myself wanting to whisper into his headset: “Just let your ‘Yes’ be a simple ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ a simple ‘No’; anything more than this has its origin in evil” (Matthew 5:37, CJB).

Like the political insiders he had opposed, Bernie wasn’t answering the question.

“State of the Union” Moderator Jake Tapper’s question was simple and direct.

“Are you going to give your list (of campaign donors) to the Democratic National Committee so that you can help them become more grassroots?”

I hoped for a straight ‘yes or ‘no’, followed by an explanation, but got neither. Bernie was answering like a politician with an answer that, in effect, said ‘no’ without saying ‘no’, playing the cat-and-mouse game straight-talking truck drivers and folks at the union hall and the neighborhood bar-and-grille voted against in the 2016 election.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men,” said Lord Acton (1834-1902) more than a century ago. Bernie is a good man. But he was exercising his power against corruption by controlling the large list of small donors who had contributed to the campaign of the candidate whose ‘yes’ was ‘yes’ and whose ‘no’ was ‘no’.  And while the DNC and the Sanders campaign engage in a political trade war over the list, the Billionaire Class that controls the DNC, the RNC and Congress, and the billionaire behind the desk in the Oval Office obfuscate reality, refusing the hear that “anything more than (‘Yes’ or ‘No’) has its origin in evil,” and contributing further to the erosion of trust and hope for something better.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 17, 2017.




14 thoughts on “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes!’

  1. He never gave a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Ever. But neither did Hillary. They are both massive prevaricators. I don’t think it’s because they are “bad people,” but because they don’t see things as yes or no answers. Something, though, you just have to slide off that wall and say it simple and with just one word. Because even if you don’t like it, people do need to hear an actual answer, at least sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Yes,” I say today, Ash Wednesday. “I’m mortal.” “No, I am not eternal!” So there. I said a clear yes and a clear no! Everything begins with the truth of Ash Wednesday and the refusal to engage the denial of death (Becker).


  2. 1) Americans will take to “Socialism” (call it “Democratic” or not) as quickly as most 5-year-olds will take to broccoli. You may argue, or explain, or cajole, or yell, or push, or pray all you want—they are just not going to swallow it. Best to find some other food to feed them. 2) For ANY Democrat to win the Presidency in 2016 really was not going to be a “win” at all. He/she would have faced an increasingly hostile Republican Congress and not much policy could be done and a whole lot of personal damage would have happened. Sanders just had a cancer operation and is 75. HRC is 69. Age does take a toll whether we want to admit it or not. Add to that the burden of being President while fighting for your emotional and political life every day. Well… 3) The President may be the quarterback but he/she needs a strong team too if games (and hopefully a Super Bowl) are to be won. Each player must be strong and KNOW HIS POSITION and KNOW IT WELL(!) and then PLAY that position to perfection time after time. A good football team needs a deep bench. A winning political party needs one too. Without it NOBODY is going accomplish anything. Who is being drafted for the Democratic team today? And is it going to be a TEAM…or will it just be another back yard pick up game played by a few, disorganized amateurs? For every quarter back pass you need a good receiver. The quarterback will never get off a pass unless there is strong blocking done by other players. And no offensive team will ever score a point if the defensive team can’t even give them an opportunity to take the field.

    The Democrats don’t need a Debus ex-machina. They need a core philosophy: one message with a few supporting pillars supporting it, or spokes emanating from it. And then they ALL need to repeat that message, TOGETHER, loud and clear and over and over and over. The MESSAGE must be the thing! The messengers must be interchangeable. Liberal/Progressives must not think about winning the next election, they must think about winning the heart and vision of American Society for the next half century. Indeed, they must even dream about creating a “new birth of freedom” and justice of, by and for people to replace the current evil status of government of bullies, by corporations for money.


    • Marjorie, totally agree with your conclusion. “They need a core philosophy: one message with a few supporting pillars supporting it, or spokes emanating from it. And then they ALL need to repeat that message, TOGETHER, loud and clear and over and over and over. The MESSAGE must be the thing!” Bernie HAD that concise message. He was the only candidate for whom CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION was one of the few supporting pillars, along with Medicare for All (the simplest way to institutionalize universal health care), ending the crony capitalism pipeline between Wall Street and Washington, D.C, and an economy that works for the working class, not just the one-percent.

      As to the boogieman tag “socialism” – until the Democratic Party directly stands up clearly, as Bernie did very successfully, to say that “socialism” is not the enemy of democracy but rather the economic form of democracy on whose programs we have come to rely to provide a floor of decency (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) – liberal candidates will continue to run for cover, viewed by many as “closet” socialists. IMHO, it’s time to come out of the closet – with a powerful, honestly democratic platform in keeping with the best of both conservative and progressive values.


      • Gordon, basic definition of socialism is “Government ownership of the means of production.: SS, Medicare/aid are not “socialism” they are “social programs”. Government did not completely take over hospitals, drug companies etc. Liberals believe in government REGULATION for PRIVATE businesses, not Government OWNERSHIP. SS was never intended to replace all insurance companies, it was to be a help, not the only game in town. The socialism of some European countries redistributes wealth, but it does not provide a good incentive to create wealth or new inventions. But no matter what you or I believe the definition of “socialism” is, I stand by my statement that to the majority of voters it is a word of anathema. Why even use it? America (economically) was a rather happy country in the 1950 + 70s. We had neither the unfettered Capitalism of the pre-New Deal nor Socialism. We had a REGULATED CAPITALISM and progressive (small p not P) income tax. WORDS DO MATTER, and having a clear understanding not only what they mean but how they affect other people, (even if those other people misunderstand their meaning) matters even more. I have many thoughts about Bernie Sanders. He’s like “Professor” Harold Hill the Music Man with his “think system for learning music.” He gave people hope, and created a band of sorts, but the squeaks and squawks his children’s band produced might please doting parents but it really didn’t “play” in the world of Reality. Are you aware of Nick Hanauer? There is a real leader behind a movement which I believe the Democratic Party needs to learn from.


        • Marjorie, I’m too pooped to write much in reply except to offer this “alternative” (I hesitate to use the word for the first time in my life) definition of socialism: “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

          I was not familiar with Nick Hanauer, but just found interesting things in a quick google search. He looks like someone I’d like.


          • Didn’t know if you’d get my reply. Glad you did. I’m pooped too! Let’s discuss another time. I’ve started a blog but do not like the “voice” I project on it. I hope to clear that up so I can express some things more clearly. “Of the making of many books (er. blogs) there is no end”! If only the weary “Preacher” of three thousand years ago could see what we lesser mortals are subjected to today. Enjoy the rest of your day!


            • Glad to hear from you, Marjorie. I feel better after a nap. Barclay, our (I don’t say that as a possessive; I just don’t know how else to say it) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, takes the nap with me every afternoon, doing what he did with the Kings, warming my feet and being quiet until I awaken. Then there are kisses!


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