In the first major rally since his heart attack, Bernie Sanders took to the stage in Queens, New York to a crowd of over 20,000. Bernie opened his speech with a now common refrain, Bernie’s call for a political revolution. A system which enables billionaires and the corporate elite at the expense of everybody else.
Bernie went on to thank Michael Moore and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for speaking at his rally. “Michael Moore knows which side he is on,” Bernie stated to the crowd. He then told them how extraordinary it is for a freshman congresswoman like AOC to have so much influence. Specifically, injecting the Green New Deal into the national discussion. To which the crowd began chants of “Green New Deal, Green New Deal, Green New Deal…”
He also pointed to crowd size. Saying the campaign received a permit for 20,000 people and they were forced to close the doors on thousands of people.
Bernie batted away any worry of a weak campaign post-heart attack. “I am more ready than ever… I am more than ready to assume the office of President of the United States, I am more than ready to take on the greed and corruption of the corporate elite and their apologists… to put it blutly, I am back.” To which the crowd erupted, “Bernie’s back, Bernie’s back, Bernie’s back…”
The rest of his speech was classic Bernie. The need to solve the various crisis we face were front and center. Bringing attention to over 500,000 homeless people which sleep on the streets, 45,000 of which are children in New York City. The need to solve the student loan crisis and create an education system that works for everyone was front and center. And of course, income inequality was a prominent part of the speech. “We will win, we will win, we will win,” chanted the crowd, “damn right we’re going to win,” Bernie responded.
Bernie’s discussion of income inequality placed the problem firmly in focus. “Today unbelievably while we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any country on earth, 25 hedge fund managers make twice as much money as all the kindergarten teachers in America, we are going to honor our teachers, not the hedge fund managers, and that is going to change under our administration.” Bernie continued, “today we say to Wall Street, you’re not going to get it all anymore.”
He also framed it in terms of life and death consequences. “The richest people in the country live 15 years longer than poor people. So, in that sense poverty is a death sentence.” Bernie Sanders has a way of personalizing the problem. He also described the racial wealth gap and its consequences. “Today the average white family owns 10x more wealth than the average black family.” And he continued to describe the higher income gap for black women, higher infant mortality rate, and the disparity in sentencing between black and white men.
Bernie went on to describe these problems as nation wide problems. “Which is why we are going to say anyone who works 40 hours a week will be paid a living wage, not a starvation wage. And we are going to say that every worker in America has the right to join a union.” Followed by a plan to double the number of workers currently in unions.
Bernie is back. His heart attack isn’t stopping him, and his message is as strong as ever.