As featured on the Good Men Project.
To the generation who grew up mesmerized and transfixed by the magical, mystical world of Harry Potter, and who now flood the webosphere with incantations, clearly under an intoxicating revolutionary spell, I unfortunately need to let you in on a secret… Bernie Sanders is a Muggle.
Even with the glowing white locks of Professor Dumbledore and the sage pontifications of a wizened wizard as old as time, he possesses no potions or mandrake root to end all the ills and vices brought on by the Dark Lord (aka Lloyd Blankfein) and his evil corporate followers at Goldman Sachs. He cannot just wave his wand of phoenix feathers and make the middle class rise and the “1%” fall.
He’s just like you and me, an ordinary person living in a world where 24/7 newsfeed fears frighten us. And while as a president, he can propose how to spend trillions of dollars on what he desires for the American people – free healthcare, free public college – Fort Knox is not Gringotts. College debt cannot be replaced with governmental insolvency. We cannot overtax and over promise to leave our country under water.
Enthusiasm is exhilarating and just like Hogwarts’ students standing eagerly at King’s Cross Station, we should all be excited about a future that waits beyond the wall. We should all want to break down the walls of racism and xenophobia, greed and middle-aged complacency. But just like a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, with the sweet can also come the bitter… the bitter taste of disappointment from unrealized legislation or budgetary shortfalls.
It’s easy to hate bumbling bureaucrats and authoritative technocrats that stagnate and stall progress. Umbridges and Fudges who feed off the status quo. Who restrict and constrict in an effort to maintain established power. Regular people with regulatory power.
But I have tell you… Bernie Sanders is one of those bureaucrats. Most of his career has been spent in the deathly hallowed halls of governmental edifices and sitting on committee after committee. He is part and parcel of the governmental juggernaut he continues to rail against.
To foster innovation, promote learning and protect our freedoms, it will take more than revolutionary recriminations and a cave inimicum spell to keep enemies from our shores. It will take real leadership and global experience.
I would like to believe hipsters in skinny jeans fueled by shouts of “Incendio!” will set a fire under Middle America orthodoxy… but what will rise from the ashes of a ruined, bloated economy? Not sure “feeling the bern” will feel all that good for tens of millions of Americans working good corporate jobs and sending their children off to college, public and private.
No invisibility cloak will protect us from the realities of downsizing and outsourcing. It will take collective, practical solutions to address this global problem. Slaying political dragons is one thing… decimating the Affordable Care Act is another. For a generation used to downloading free music and apps, the best things in life aren’t always free. Everyone has to pay in the end.
So I leave you with this… it’s okay that Bernie is a Muggle like you and me. Ordinary citizens can do extraordinary things. A boy scarred by life’s injustices and circumstance can change the world. Good can triumph over evil polluters and foreign despots. There is always magic in the making.
But we don’t need magical thinking to make magic happen. Flowery rhetoric is not the same as results. To make things grow, to identify concrete paths to solve everyday problems, to keep those death-panel eaters from taking the White House, we may just need a Muggle with the brains, tenacity and common-sense answers we’ve been looking for.
And as any Harry Potter fan knows, that’s Hermione. Need I say more?