Whenever I talk about the presidential election in the United States in my home country I get asked the same question: “Why do you care so much? We don’t have a dog in this fight.” But the truth is that we do. Everyone does. The US has been the most influential country in modern history, not only because of it’s hobby of bringing freedom to other countries (read: imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism) through military force. It’s economy is one of the largest in the world. The USA’s sheer size and technological advancement make it a dominant global player by default. In 1949 NATO was created by the United States, Canada and several European Nations. Why? Because Europe was in shambles, economies needed to be built up again and the countries required safety assurances against a potentially rising Germany and a threatening Russia. It was followed up by a Marshall Plan with economic aid for Europe. The Soviet’s, unsurprisingly, refused to join this Marshall Plan. They also refused to allow foreign aid to be given to their satellite states in Eastern Europe. Maybe this was when the USA decided to start calling their Presidents the “Leader of the Free World”. But after a President Bush, who lied to the United Nations about Iraq, a President Obama, who was the embodiment of hope and change but never delivered on it, and most certainly after the Great Orange Sultan that by now has not only forfeited any claim to western leadership but changed the United States of America in the eyes of the so called Free World forever. They are no longer even remotely resembling a land of the free and the brave. Even attempting to list all of his administrations cruelties without counting the thousands of lies, distortions and straight up demented sentences coming out of the White House would take up weeks of anyones time. As a German, I know a little bit about tearing families apart, demonizing minorities and putting children in cages. It was easier to hide when nobody could live-tweet about it.
So why do I insist that we do have a dog in this fight?
Because when it comes to international leadership, there is nobody to fill that vacancy. My own country, Germany, has not exactly stood for any big or bold ideas in the past decades and aside from profiting massively from the European Union we really haven’t done much in terms of leadership. Plus, given our history, any attempt at it would probably require at least a little shred of political charisma and vision — neither of which we currently have. France has it’s own problems and we won’t even begin to talk about the clown fiesta that is the United Kingdom. Who else is left, really? China, with it’s one party communist regime whose President for life is currently trying to forcefully turn Hong Kong into a proper slave state? Or Russia with it’s President for life who is probably the most dangerously effective politican at being everything Trump wishes he’d be? You get where I’m going with this. In my view, the only country who can reclaim hold of that, at the very least moral, leadership are the United States of America themselves. And in times like these all of us need them to. The climate crisis is threatening our very own existence and it won’t be “bold ideas” that save humanity. We need to change the entire world within the span of only a few decades, if we even have that long. Nobody can do it alone, sure, but for the many to come together and pressure the rest to help turn things around we need someone to unite us. Someone that goes ahead. Someone that others will follow and, sadly, we don’t have other options. The US are already leading many Western Countries in countless other aspects. Where did we get that format for our new reality tv show? The new hitsingle of your countries artist sounds a lot like a Pharrel Williams song? What company is making our phones, computers? Where do I stream movies, music or go christmas shopping? The only thing we don’t take inspiration from is probably American cars and, while cars is a touchy subject for us too nowadays, for good reason. Funnily enough, many of the things I just listed are at the very core of what’s wrong with America. And even if in at least some countries the corruption isn’t running as wild as in the United States, it exists everywhere. Big corporations own all of us, some of us are just more valuable cogs in their machines. Maybe the billionaires don’t care about the future. Most of them are old and should the planet get too hot for their grandchildren, they’ll always be the last ones to suffer from the consequences. Maybe Elon Musk has nuked Mars into a liveable billionaire refuge by then. Who knows, because the rest of us will probably be dead and/or replaced by robots that only serve those who can pay for their production.
We all have a dog in this fight. And his name is Bernie Sanders.
You can agree or disagree with him on any given issue. But there is one single thing that makes him stand out in a sea of politicans: consistency. You can go back 30 or even 40 years. While other candidates were writing the devastating “tough on crime” bill, he was marching with Martin Luther King (and I know, I am off by like 30 years here but that’s how far ahead of history he was). There is footage of him railing against inequality and injustice that dates 40 years back. That is the definition consistency. While his policies may have adapted to the times we live in now, at their very core they have not changed at all. He has been fighting for everyday people from the very beginning. It was his audacity to oppose the chosen one, Hillary Clinton in 2016, with a message against corruption and for a better world that made him the world’s least electable politician in the eyes of the corporate elite. I’m old enough to know that politicans lie all the time and will change their positions on whatever is popular like nobody’s business. But when America’s most popular and most watched “news anchors” go on prime time TV and lie, distort and misrepresent the facts it makes you wonder if that is even allowed. It makes me wonder if “reporting on the facts” shouldn’t be somewhere in the job description of someone reporting the news. If anything it shows fear and desperation of the candidate that by far has the most supporters in the whole country, if you go count only individual donors. Don’t let the polls mislead you. The people are with Bernie. I have seen polls with Sanders coming in 2nd and the media reports about the first and third place candidate. Their dishonest coverage and framing of his healthcare proposal are often just casually leaving out the parts that make it so good for working and poor people, which in this day and age is usually one and the same. Or when they keep pushing an old and beloved, but clearly aging live on national TV, figure like Joe Biden. In half a year since the start of his campaign he has said more ridiculous, offensive and straight up false things than anyone else with maybe the exception of Trump himself. Imagine if only one of these “gaffes” came from Bernie Sanders. Not even Elizabeth Warren, the only other progressive candidate in the race, is treated nearly as bad. By now I am fairly sure that once Biden tanks in the polls (which they can not keep in his favor forever), she will be the one pushed by the rich and powerful. She is a woman (historic), she is progressive (popular) and maybe she will bring the change that Obama promised but never delivered. But without threatening the Status Quo. Without changing the ownership of the country back to the people. People like you. People like Bernie Sanders.
There is only so much we, from the outside, can do. But I encourage, no, I am pleading with you, America. Go out there, register to vote, donate and volunteer to help elect Bernie Sanders President. It is in your hands to bring change to not just the United States of America, but to the whole world. It is in your hands to give us a Leader of the Free World that will go forward with the same stubbornness and purposefulness he has displayed for his whole career. If you want to keep calling America the “Greatest Country in the World”, perhaps this time you can do something to earn that moniker. And maybe this platitude soaked text written by a random, concerned human being is not enough to convince you. Maybe you are still sitting there, eyeing other candidates, listening to that one time Beto and Pete said something of substance while Kamala was trying to hold the same position for more than an hour and think: Bernie Sanders is a good guy but he is just not for me. But if anything, this election isn’t about you. It’s not about “me”. It’s about us.
All of us.