Thursday, 3 March 2016

US Caucuses: So What's Bernie's deal?

With American caucuses on the way, the public is undoubtedly curious of the candidates' pasts. Many claims have been made by the candidates about their history and life altering events, a lot of which, unsurprisingly, have been proven to be false.

Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic Party - who instead identifies as being a democratic socialist - made claims about protesting for civil rights in 1963. Sanders spoke of his increasing political involvement during his time at the University of Chicago, where he studied Political Science. He focused, particularly, on his involvement in Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), through which he protested segregated housing in his university.
Sanders' involvement in the Willis wagons(racially segregated housing) protest, and in the civil rights movement itself, has much been debated since then.

Bernie Sanders Arrested in 1963However, in late February, Kartemquin Films released video footage online, depicting two police officers roughly handling a young man resembling Sanders, particularly due to the strikingly similar thick-rimmed glasses. (shown on the left - 1963, Chicago Tribune).

Understandably, some claimed that the picture was ambiguous, despite Sanders confirming that the young man was indeed him. In response, Mother Jone magazine released an article about Sanders' past, including the newspaper clipping below, confirming that Sanders was arrested during the protest mentioned. It also states that he was later fined $25 for resisting arrest, as displayed in the photograph above.

Bernie Sanders arrested at 74th and Lowe
In his campaign, Sanders brings focus onto injustices in the US, particularly focusing on a recent social movement 'Black Lives Matter'. This was sparked by the acquittal of a racially motivated murderer, George Zimmerman, and two other racially motivated murders, which occurred as a result of police brutality. Sanders continued to mention, 'as far back as I can remember, and I can't tell you why...but, injustice is something I've always fought throughout my life.'

As a politics student who is upset about these issues, it is greatly comforting to hear a democratic candidate, who has a chance of becoming US president, recognise one of the many big problems in America, regarding race. Not only this, but Sanders has been much more independent, especially with donations for his campaign, unlike his democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton.

If we look at some claims Clinton has made about her past, such as 'landing under sniper fire' in Bosnia, for which she 'ran with (her) head down' to get to a safe base, some queries have been made in response to this serious event. This is mainly due to the fact that those accompanying Clinton that day described it as being routine, and video evidence disproving her statements was released. In this clip, she was greeted by a group of people, including a young girl, who read her a poem and then kissed her.

Much to the great shock of those questioning Clinton, she later retracted her words, regarding them as a mere misstatement. Clinton then said, 'So I made a mistake. That happens. It shows I'm human.' I completely see where Clinton is coming from, just the other day I mistook a group of primary school children for an assassination squad shooting down at the public. It's an easy mistake to make.

However, despite all of this, it pleases me to see that no one has had any doubts whatsoever about Mr. Trump's 'small loan of million dollars' claim.


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