To me, the following (see below) are the most important words – urgent ones as well! – in Bernie Sanders’ speech to his supporters on Thursday. I’ve been making this same argument for years now, that we need to “think globally, act locally;” that we have far, far greater impact at the local and state level than at the national level; that a LOT of important stuff happens at the local and state levels (including drawing congressional district lines, which of course impacts control of the U.S. House of Representatives); that Republicans have been kicking our butts at the local and state levels; and that we progressives need to change this situation ASAP!
All of which is why I’m really glad to see Bernie Sanders addressing this problem head on. My hope is that Sanders and his followers will stick with this long after the current election cycle is over. If they really build a movement – imagine a progressive running for every School Board, City Council, County Board, House of Delegates and State Senate seat across Virginia and the rest of the country? – we really COULD change America in some of the ways Sanders talks about. Heck, we could even move it in a “revolutionary” way — that “revolution” being towards citizen democracy and away from the corporate-and-wealthiest-1%-dominated, incumbent-protection-district monstrosity we’ve got now. So let’s do it!
With that, see Sanders’ words below, bolding added by me for emphasis. Enjoy – or better yet, take action by stepping up and running for office yourself (you can click here and check the box “I Want to Run for Office”)!
Here is a cold, hard fact that must be addressed. Since 2009, some 900 legislative seats have been lost to Republicans in state after state throughout this country. In fact, the Republican Party now controls 31 state legislatures and controls both the governors’ mansions and statehouses in 23 states. That is unacceptable.
We need to start engaging at the local and state level in an unprecedented way. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers helped us make political history during the last year. These are people deeply concerned about the future of our country and their own communities. Now we need many of them to start running for school boards, city councils, county commissions, state legislatures and governorships. State and local governments make enormously important decisions and we cannot allow right-wing Republicans to increasingly control them.
I hope very much that many of you listening tonight are prepared to engage at that level. Please go to my website at berniesanders.com/win to learn more about how you can effectively run for office or get involved in politics at the local or state level. I have no doubt that with the energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown that we can win significant numbers of local and state elections if people are prepared to become involved. I also hope people will give serious thought to running for statewide offices and the U.S. Congress.
And when we talk about transforming America, it is not just about elections. Many of my Republican colleagues believe that government is the enemy, that we need to eviscerate and privatize virtually all aspects of government – whether it is Social Security, Medicare, the VA, EPA, the Postal Service or public education. I strongly disagree. In a democratic civilized society, government must play an enormously important role in protecting all of us and our planet. But in order for government to work efficiently and effectively, we need to attract great and dedicated people from all walks of life. We need people who are dedicated to public service and can provide the services we need in a high quality and efficient way.