Bernie Sanders is pounding the campaign trail to within an inch of its life. One of his more recent stops was in Fairfax, Virginia for a town hall meeting at George Mason University.
One very confident female student rose to ask the presidential hopeful a question about Islamophobia and racism. What happens next will leave you cheering.
“If you look at all the Republican candidates, in order to feed into their constituents they are constantly talking about Islamaphobia. They are constantly bashing Muslims in the media.” Said Remaz Abdelgader.
Abdelgader was one of the 1,700 students that had gathered to hear from Sanders, and she is also a devout Muslim who is studying to one day become a human rights attorney.
Applause greeted Abdelgar’s initial statements and at this point Sanders invited her to join him on stage. The applause grew to a standing ovation as the two stood hand in hand.
“The rhetoric that is going on in the media makes me sick…to the next president – what do you think of this.” Abdelgader said once the applause had died down.
Sanders replied by highlighting his own Jewish ancestry and describing the historical trend in the United States of, “Pitting one group against another.”
“You are right,” said Sanders, “there is a lot of anger being generated against Muslims in this country. There is anger being generated against immigrants in this country. And if we stand for anything we must stand together against all forms of racism and I will lead that effort as President of The United States.”
Another standing ovation greeted these words as Sanders embraced Abdelgader from behind his podium.
Opinion: Good Not Great
There has certainly been a fair amount of racially inappropriate rhetoric taking place as this election thunders towards the primaries.
Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments have been expressed and have been primarily expressed by one side of the ticket. Sanders stance against such offensive attitudes is certainly commendable, but, unfortunately his response consisted of nothing but more rhetoric.
Nothing concrete was said and no one specifically was called out. Sanders had an open field to attack Trump, or to discuss the specific ways in which this nation could improve under his leadership.
What he did instead was reduce his response to a sound bite. It was a very good sound bite and is certainly better than most of the sound bites coming from his opponents. But it was still a reductive piece of political maneuvering, not a concrete plan for change.
One can only hope that all candidates start getting a bit more specific as the elections draw nearer.
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