I’ve always been interested in politics. I remember very few of my classmates or friends showing even the slightest interest about the presidential election. “Politics are boring,” we would all answer when our history teacher asked us why we didn’t feel inclined to form opinions or engage in friendly debates. In all honesty, none of us really cared, but that’s no longer the case.
I will be the first to admit that I am a die-hard Bernie fan. As I proclaim my love for the 74-year-old Senator from Vermont, I am proud to say that the majority of Gen-Y stands behind me. In a recent poll targeting young voters under 35, Bernie leads opponent Hillary Clinton by 11 percent.
Maybe it’s because we have grown up or because we have experienced first-hand how broken the political system really is, but despite the reasoning behind it, Gen-Y has been ignited. And we are feeling the Bern. I’m not sure if it’s his down-to-earth and straight-up personality, his kooky hair, or the amount of passion and truth he speaks with when addressing crowds, but Bernie inspires many.
Rather than talking down to certain groups or blaming the American people, Bernie creates a sense of unity. He highlights that instead of following the “us versus them” mentality that separates and divides, everyone within society needs to come together.
Not only is Bernie unafraid of addressing real issues, he also talks about the tough things and confronts them with little hesitation. Having openly admitted to doing marijuana twice in his life, he not only supports its legalization, but denounces the War on Drugs which costs the United States $51 billion annually.
Rather than focusing purely on punishment, Bernie is an advocate for drug treatment and prevention along with a complete reformation of the criminal justice system. This is a politician who recognizes how broken our political system is and instead of spending more money to fix it, is dedicated to creating new, alternative solutions.
Unlike most politicians, Bernie is not concerned with finding a solution to benefit members of Wall Street or the elite within society. This is a candidate who is finally looking out for the little guy who is generally overlooked and deemed unimportant.
His belief that “people working 40 hours a week should not be living in poverty” sheds light on the fact that the middle class is slowly disappearing. As a supporter of raising the minimum wage, Bernie focuses on not only creating a stronger middle class by increasing wages, but strengthening the economy while creating more jobs and fixing the tax code that currently works in favor of the upper-class.
Bernie not only focuses on the nitty-gritty problems the United States is facing today, but also recognizes the efforts and struggles encountered by college students and millennials. Because average public in-school tuition rates are over $9,000 a year and interest rates are at an all-time high, the average student graduates from college with $30,000 of debt.
Rather than condemning hard-working, motivationed students to thousands of dollars of debt (and no guaranteed spot in the workplace) Bernie promises to have our backs by making college tuition free, financial aid more available, and by reducing interest rates.
But here’s the brilliance of Bernie: Instead of fighting for the big things, he takes stands on smaller issues that have been pushed aside and made to seem unimportant. This is one candidate who believes climate change is the biggest planetary crisis the world now faces. He believes in equal rights for all members of the LGTBQ community.
Voting pro-choice, Bernie not only focuses on women’s reproductive rights and the access to women’s sexual healthcare, but calls safer, stronger laws regarding domestic violence and sexual assault. Rather than focusing on making the rich richer, Bernie wants to support small, privately owned business. To top it all off, he’s even focusing on cracking down on inhumane conditions regarding livestock.
Bernie Sanders has undoubtedly started a fire. And with ease, he has started a fire within the hearts of millennials, one that is likely to burn brighter come November.