I don’t think I would be blowing anybody’s mind by saying that most people consider politicians to be dishonest.
There is a stereotype that we level against our elected officials – especially while they are trying to become elected officials – that they will say or do anything, true or not, if it means they will get elected.
John Kerry was particularly lambasted for this during his 2004 run for president when everyone and their mother (but hopefully not his mother, that’s over the line) began calling him a “flip-flopper.”
We don’t expect candidates to stick to anything, we don’t expect their campaign beliefs to be their actual beliefs, and we chalk it all up to politics as usual.
During this most recent election season one candidate has become a perfect example of this phenomena, while another has bucked the stereotype all together.
They are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders respectively.
Let’s start with Sanders.
In a blog post this Thursday the gay-rights blog known as AmericaBlog published a story that contained the following letter.
Sanders wrote this letter while campaigning to be the governor of Vermont in 19-freaking-70. For those of you who, like me, were too distracted by shiny things to pay attention in math class that 1970 was 45 years ago.
What makes this so remarkable is that if someone showed me this same letter and told me that Sanders wrote it last week I would believe them.
The man has done the unthinkable: he has survived, and thrived, in a decades long political career; all the while sticking to, and fighting for, the same platform he put his name on in the beginning.
In 2015 Sanders still advocates for heavier taxes on the rich to, “Give working people a break.”
In 2015 Sanders still bellows every chance he gets for wealth equality and a higher quality of life for all Americans.
And in 2015 Sanders is still pushing for increased freedoms and rights for the marginalized and neglected in this country.
Bernie Sanders has set himself up as a revolutionary candidate. But more than his ability to raise money or mobilize the youth vote, this letter is the most revolutionary thing about him.
It is hard evidence proving that in this election we may, just may, have a candidate who actually does believe the words that are coming out of his own mouth.
However for every Gallant there must be a Goofus and so let us consider Donald Trump.
Trump is the front-running Republican candidate for President as of this writing. However, allegiance to the party is suspect at best.
A July 9 article in The Washington Post had this to say about Trump:
“He loved Hillary Clinton; now he thinks she's the worst. He was very much in favor of abortion rights before he opposed them. And he might be running as a Republican today, but he was once a registered Democrat who called for legalizing drugs, a massive one-time 14.25 percent tax on the wealthy and staying out of wars that didn't present a "direct threat" to the U.S. In many ways, he's been to the left of Clinton and even Bernie Sanders on some issues” the article said.
Trump is the rule, Sanders is the exception that disproves it.
In my humble opinion some rules were meant to be broken.
What do you think? Comment below and let me know how this letter affects your view of either Sanders or Trump.