Mark Figley: Bernie’s strange socialist journey

By Mark Figley - Guest Columnist

Despite the endorsement of such luminaries as AOC, Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has still lagged in comparison with his 2016 effort. This has led him to make outlandish pronouncements commending the election of San Francisco’s pro-criminal district attorney, referring to Elizabeth Warren as a “capitalist,” supporting a 97.5% tax rate on billionaires, calling for the abolishment of ICE and giving welfare to illegal aliens.

All the while, the rickety Vermont senator continues to steadfastly tout the virtues of socialism by proclaiming that any problem can be solved by throwing piles of “free” government money at it.

Bernie came to espouse socialism in 1960 while a student at the University of Chicago. During that time, he joined the Young People’s Socialist League and proudly maintained his socialist brand on the way to serving eight years as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

Today on the campaign trail, Sanders literally shouts his message, railing against Trump, the wealthy, climate change deniers and the NRA, while supporting a universal $15 minimum wage, open borders, free college tuition and unlimited abortion. The issue closest to his heart remains the financial boondoggle known as Medicare For All.

So how did Bernie become the goofy democratic socialist he is today? Well, perhaps a return to the year 1988 is in order, when he took Jane O’Meara Driscoll as his bride. Then, the man who today incessantly criticizes Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, took his beloved wife on a “very strange” 10-day honeymoon visit to Moscow as part of an official delegation in his capacity as mayor.

According to the Washington Post, Sanders had a simply wonderful time meeting “ordinary people” on the street. He visited Red Square, saw Lenin’s Tomb and traveled to Leningrad. Bernie also went to Burlington’s sister city, Yaroslavl, where he received a selected government-tailored tour of schools, factories and hospitals.

The Heritage Foundation’s Lee Edwards has also written about how Sanders fell in love with cheap, affordable Russian-controlled government housing, as opposed to that of the United States. In addition, Bernie took the opportunity to condemn America for intervening in other countries’ affairs, while mentioning nothing of the Berlin Wall or Soviet domination of Eastern Europe at the time.

Not surprisingly, the Russians kept Sanders away from Chernobyl, where just three years earlier the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred. After all, why burden he and Jane during their special time together with the plight of thousands of Soviet citizens who were sick and dying from radiation poisoning?

Thankfully too, Bernie didn’t have to waste time observing ordinary Moscovites standing in line to buy food from poorly-supplied government “grocery” stores or scarcely-stocked department stores searching for winter clothing to protect them from the elements.

Finally, upon his return to Burlington, the Washington Post would again report on Sanders’ praise of Soviet socialism, while criticizing the United States. Interestingly, he would mention nothing about Russian human rights violations or the great freedoms offered by his own country.

Then, to add insult to injury, Bernie made a visit to Cuba the very next year to see yet another socialist mecca. Although it’s unclear whether he was accompanied by his wife, Sanders returned home with even greater praise of the Cubans than he paid the Russians.

While admitting that Cuba had “enormous deficiencies” in human rights, Sanders claimed he never saw a starving child or homeless person, but was witness to “a far deeper and more profound revolution” than he ever expected. Maybe Bernie could return there to provide us an update on the vast benefits socialism has since bestowed on Cuban society.

These are just some of the personal experiences that helped prepare Sanders for the presidency of the United States. With the keen intellect and insight that Bernie displayed while collecting these tidbits of socialist/communist genius, it’s a shame he won’t be able to dazzle us even further with romantic memories of Moscow and Havana from the White House.

By Mark Figley

Guest Columnist

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News. Reach him a

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News. Reach him a

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