By Garret Donnelly
Why do I support Bernie Sanders? Because I have a deep respect for his person.
I remember in high school the first time hearing about him, I was perplexed that there existed an honest politician. Before that, I was gearing up for a life of power over principle.
Yes, my first major was computer science: the plan was to become a mogul and use my own money to fund my political endeavors so that I wouldn’t compromise my values by taking campaign donations. But Bernie gave me hope; he didn’t have a well-connected or rich family and he stayed resolute throughout the years.
Then how did he do it? Grassroots fundraising. I didn’t know such a strategy was tenable before him. Impressed by his integrity and far-reaching influence without a need to appeal to existing power structures, I began to be convinced by his ideas as well. Without being shameful about it, a lot of the reason I’m at St. Michael’s College is because I got a decent amount of money to come here. I want to get my doctorate, and I’m sure that I’m capable, but the question is really more about whether I can afford to go back to school. That’s why Sander’s college plan is so attractive to me; it is probably the only way I will be able to have the kind of life that I want.
I want to become either a doctor of law or philosophy and enter politics to be able to save this country. I don’t come from the kind of family that can get me there on their own. In a sense, Bernie has preempted the fact that he is old by making his movement out of young people. He gives us hope not in him, but in ourselves and us together. We know he won’t be here forever, so that’s why we see it as important that we care, too, so that when he’s gone what he stood for can still go on. In a sense, that’s another good reason why Medicare for All is such an important policy to me. I want tobe able to live long enough to carry the flag, and I know from personal experience what it looks like when medical bills take over your life. Everybody probably has this story of their grand- parent’s last few years in and out of hospitals, only for the bills to be passed to your own family once they die. I don’t go to the doctor as frequently as I should. When I’m sick, I generally just self-medicate and sleep it off. I do the same for nearly all health issues.
I don’t know if I’m dying today, and you probably don’t either if you can’t afford to find out. Everybody needs Bernie’s plan because no one can afford emergencies out of pocket. I don’t think it’s so radical to take care of people. After all, why do we have society? It’s to make our lives collectively easier. I am willing to put in the effort, long-term, so that I can help people I don’t even know. Are you willing to help me do that?
Garrett Donnelly ‘21 is a Philosophy major at St. Michael’s College. He plans to vote in his state’s semi-open primary and the general in November.