Bernie Sanders added a necessary narrative to his inequality message
Senator Bernie Sanders is a quick learner. He is much more nimble than both Hillary Clinton & Martin O’Malley in the manner in which he handled Black Lives Matter‘s disruption at Netroots Nation 2015.
Bernie Sanders appeared on the Ed Show on which he discussed the prison industrial complex. He talked about reviewing mandatory minimum sentences. He said the prison system has destroyed millions of lives because of convictions for millions of nonviolent offenses. He wants to reform drug policy. He wants to demilitarize the police and much more.
What was different? At Netroots Nation 2015 the Black Lives Matter protesters wanted the names of those abused called out by the politicians as an acknowledgement of their humanity and the abuse they’ve had to endure.
Ed Schultz never asked Bernie Sanders to address the issue. He segued into ‘use of force’ policies and called out the Sandra Bland’s incident. “That is what you saw in that dreadful and painful video of Sandra Bland,” Bernie Sanders said. “What you saw is an aggressive overactive police officer who dragged this woman out of her car, assaulted her, sent her to jail, for what crime, a minor traffic violation. That happens all over this country. And it especially happens to people of color.” He called her name.
That reality is what Black Lives Matter wanted presidential candidates to acknowledge. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said as much in an interview she did with Politics Done Right. It was a plea to potential leaders to speak to the indiscriminate killing and dehumanization of black and brown people by rogue police officers.
But Bernie Sanders did not stop there. “But getting back to that really painful video of Sandra Bland,” Bernie Sanders said. “One could not imagine, very hard to imagine a white middle-class woman being treated in the same way as Sandra Bland was.” People of color need to know those vying to be their leaders in fact not only feel and understand their pain, but will do something about it.
The senator also discussed structural racism. He acknowledged that he has a lot of work to do in order to earn the trust of minorities. After-all, he comes from a state that is 95% white.
Sanders must be given Kudos for this quick modification to his campaign. Black Lives Matter showed and shows that activism still works.