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March 4, 2017

What Bernie “Really” Thought about Trump’s Speech before Congress.

When I was 40-something, which was a very long time ago, I went to college.

One day, another student came up to me after class.

“I see you’re taking notes,” he said.

“Yeah,” I responded. “I love taking notes. It helps me remember.”

“I’m terrible at it and I really need a good grade in this class. Would you mind sharing your notes with me?”

Of course I didn’t mind sharing my notes.

What did I know?

Next week, practically every student in that class had copies of my notes.

All these years later, I guess I still like taking notes.

I flashed back to this college memory while watching a recent speech given by Bernie Sanders.

I have to say that more than that, however, I liked certain elements in particular about this particular speech

I liked how he respectfully disagreed with Trump, how he pointed out the ways in which he disagreed, and the subjects on which he disagreed in a more or less calm and rational way. I like how he told us that he thought the things Trump had left out of the speech should have been included and that the things that Trump put in the speech were veneered and required deeper analysis.

Above all, I appreciated and admired Sanders for the tone of his speech, its civility, and its lack of name-calling, finger-pointing, vitriolic accusations, and personal attacks.

He said a lot in his rebuttal, and he did it in a way that made it easy to listen to him and his perspective.

He did it respectfully.

For those of you who either didn’t have a chance to see Senator Bernie Sanders’ “Brilliant YouTube Response to President Donald Trump’s Speech before Congress,” you can see the whole thing here or you can read below.

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Bernie Sanders’ Response to Donald Trump’s Speech Before Congress:

Sanders begins by telling us that, “Sometimes what people don’t talk about is more important than what they do [talk about].”

Here is what Sanders says Trump didn’t talk about in his speech:

>> His campaign promise to not cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

>> “Incoming wealth inequality” or the fact that “we now have the widest gap between the very rich and everyone else, since the 1920s.”

>> The Citizens United Supreme Court decision that has created “a corrupt campaign finance system that [allows] billionaires to buy elections.”

>> The issue of voter suppression and how Republican governors all over the country are making it harder for “young people, low income people, senior citizens and people of color to [vote].”

>> The need to combat climate change, “the greatest environmental threat facing our planet.”

>> “At a time when we have more people in jail than in any other country on earth, disproportionately African-American, Latino, Native American,” Trump didn’t mention “the broken criminal justice system.”

>> The need to “lower the cost of college and make public colleges and universities tuition-free.”

>> The “crisis of student debt.”

>> His campaign promise to “reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act.”

>> His campaign promise to “clear the swamp.”

According to Sanders, “Some of what President Trump said sounded good on the surface. But it didn’t sound so good if you dug just a little deeper beneath the surface.”

>> Trump said we need to invest a trillion dollars in our crumbling infrastructure to create millions of new jobs. But Sanders says that, “We cannot rebuild our infrastructure by providing billions of dollars in tax breaks to Wall Street and large corporations.”

>> Trump said we need to promote clean air and clean water. But Sanders says that, “On this very day, [Trump] signed an Executive Order rolling back Clean Water Rules, appointed the most anti-environmental EPA Administrator in our nation’s history” and pledged to increase our dependency on fossil fuel.

>> Trump said he wants to increase funding for the Pentagon by $84 billion. But Sanders says that “[Trump] will do this by slashing programs that benefit working people…the elderly…children, the sick, and the poor.”

>> Trump said American corporations pay the highest tax rates in the world and those taxes need to be substantially lowered. But Sanders says that according to the Government Accountability Office, 1 out of 5 large profitable corporations paid nothing in Federal Income Tax” and we are losing $100 billion in revenue every year because corporations are stashing their cash in off-shore tax havens.

>> Trump said that he plans on working with Republicans in Congress who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But, Sanders says that “repeal would throw 20 million Americans off of health insurance, privatize Medicare, make massive cuts in Medicaid, raise the cost of prescription drugs for seniors, and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.”

>> Trump said that he would “bring down the cost of prescription drugs.” But Sanders says that Trump hasn’t asked the House and Senate to pass legislation allowing Americans to import safe, low cost, medicine from Canada.

Sanders’ Summary:

“Defeating attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act and transfer even more of our nation’s wealth to Donald Trump and his billionaire friends is going to take all of us coming together and making our voices heard. Keep showing up. Keep calling Congress and continue the fight. The Republicans are now on the defensive. Only…when millions of people stand up and fight for economic…social….racial and…environmental justice…can we create the political revolution that will turn this country around.” 

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Author: Carmelene Siani

Image: Flickr/DonkeyHotey

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

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