The Democratic establishment, and the media for that matter, have described the policy positions of Sen. Bernie Sanders as “radical” and out of step with the American people. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I truly hope this perspective is reconsidered, and quickly. A few examples:
It is clear that our fragmented, for-profit health care system is not designed to address public health crises. Our neighbor to the north, which has national health care, as well as countries like South Korea and China, have done a much better job of containing the virus because test kits and medical care are made available free of charge.
And then there is the matter of paid sick leave, to ensure that those who are ill can stay home instead of weighing the pros and cons of infecting others or paying the bills. And what about universal child care? We need medical personnel, and other essential employees, at their stations in times like this, not scrambling to find someone to care for their children when schools are closed to mitigate disease spread.
The list could go on. Sanders’ program of shared, social benefits would allow our nation the peace of mind we need in a crisis situation. While some malign these policies as socialist, a majority of Americans support them. The individualistic, don’t tax me to pay for someone else’s plight mentality might feel attractive when times are good. But in times of crisis, the unintended outcomes of such a system reveal that it doesn’t work for any of us.
That is why I hope the Democratic establishment and Biden, should he become the nominee, seriously consider the positions that Sanders is espousing out on the campaign trail. The delegate count might not be in his favor, but the wisdom of creating a strong social safety net becomes more apparent with each passing day.