Bernie Sanders visits Magic City
January 23, 2016
Southern Torch (3790 articles)
1 comment

Bernie Sanders visits Magic City

By Karah Wilson

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— Democratic presidential candidate and U.S Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, made a stop to rally in Birmingham on Jan. 18. Despite Alabama being a predominantly red state, over 7,000 Sanders supporters showed up to show their love and support for the candidate. The historic Boutwell Auditorium held its maximum capacity at 5,700 people and outside stood 1,400 more. “There must be a mistake,” Sanders said. “Someone told me Alabama is a conservative state.” Sanders was accompanied by Kim Meadows Clark, the day program coordinator for the emergency shelter at Firehouse Shelters in Birmingham; Dr. Cornel West, an American philosopher and member of the Democratic Socialists of America; and Ohio State Senator Nina Turner.

While the rally drew thousands of people to the city, it was just one of the major events happening in Birmingham that day. Monday was also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Sanders made several historic stops that day to honor the late minister. “The vision he had for the future in many ways remains unfulfilled,” Sanders said. “If we are serious about remembering his legacy, we will continue the fight for racial justice, economic justice and for a nation in which all people live with dignity. We still have a long way to go.” In August of 1963, Sanders, who was a college student at the time, marched with Dr. King. “To truly honor Dr. King we must fight to carry out his radical and bold vision for America. He saw the relationship between racism and economics and war. This was his courage.”

Sanders describes himself as a Democratic Socialist. The word ‘socialist’ is something that many fear and is what turns most people away from voting for Sanders. However, Democratic Socialism and Socialism are two different ideas. Washington Post describes a socialist as this: Socialists believe the government should provide a wide range of basic services to its citizens free of charge or at a discount, typically including university education and health care, as well as child care, housing, telecommunications, energy, and more in some countries. They believe that these services should be available to everyone, not just the neediest. They think that public or worker ownerships can provide these services more cheaply and more equitably than the free market. They think everyone should have a truly equal chance at success in life, regardless of advantages at birth. The Post describes Socialism as a moral view and an idea that people share something and that we have to help each other out. According to the Washington Post, Sanders has not talked about using government to take over large sections of the economy. He has not talked about ending the stock market or giving workers control over their companies. Sanders wants the government to pay for health care and college tuition but those services would still be provided by a combination of public agencies and private organizations. He does not believe in doing away with U.S. System of Representative government.

During the rally in Birmingham, Sanders touched many topics. He began the rally by pointing out that nine months ago he was 50 points behind in most polls, but now he is closing the gap in Iowa. “The last poll just came out yesterday and it had us 15 points ahead of our very good friend Donald Trump,” Sanders said. Sanders also stated that so far he has raised $2.5 million total in individual contributions. “That is more than individual contributions than any campaign in the history of the United States of America up until this point,” Sanders pointed out. Sanders addressed a number of issues, including the middle class and the minimum wage. “In the last 40 years, the middle class has been disappearing. Males work for $700 less than 41 years ago and females work for $1,000 less than in 2007. We need to create an economy that works for the middle class, not just the billionaire class.” Sanders also mentioned the Walton family of Wal Mart. “Many of their workers are paid wages so low they have to get Medicaid, they have to get food stamps, and they subsidized housing. In other words, the middle class of this country is providing welfare for to wealthiest family in this country. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Sanders said. “Get off of welfare and pay your workers a living wage.” Sanders went on to talk about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and equal pay for women. “I want all of the men in this room to stand with the women for equal pay.” In terms of unemployment, Sanders hit hard on high school and college graduates. According to Sanders, 33 percent of caucasian high school graduates from 17-20 years old are unemployed. Sanders also stated that 36 percent of latinos and 51 percent of African Americans in the same category are also unemployed. “How about the federal government investing in education and jobs, not jails and incarceration.” In regards to health care, Sanders stated that “We have got the end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave.” Sanders went on to say that he will make sure all U.S. employees have three months of paid family and medical leave.

Sanders hit on the topic of education and its cost as well. “We should be hiring teachers, not firing teachers,” Sanders said. “We need the best educated workforce in the world.” Other topics Sanders touched on in terms of education was student debts and free tuition.

As Sanders ended his speech, he said the U.S. needs to end the disgrace of the highest incarceration rates in the world, including China. “I will also work to get marijuana off of the Schedule 1 drug list,” Sanders said. “Turns out that whites and blacks do marijuana at about equal rates. But it also turns out that African Americans are arrested four times more than whites,” Sanders said.

The Iowa Caucus is on Feb. 1, 2016. All of the candidates are preparing to face this big day. Sanders might be closing in on his opponent, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but it is no guarantee of who will walk away with Democratic nomination for U.S. President. The upcoming weeks are huge for all of the candidates as it will help voters in Iowa decide who they will vote for. The Alabama primaries will be held on March 1, 2016.

Tags $15 an hour, 2.5 million, 2016, African Americans, African Americans arrested four times more than whites, alabama, Alabama primaries, American Philosopher, Bernie Sanders, big day, Birmingham, Boutwell Auditorium, caucasian high school graduates, chance at success, child care, college, college tuition, conservative, courage, debts, DeKalb County, Democratic, Democratic nomination, Democratic Socialist, Democratic Socialists of America, does not guarantee paid family and medical leave, Dr. Cornel West, economic justice, educated workforce, Education, embarrassment of the United States, energy, equal pay for women, February 1, Firehouse Shelters, food stamps, free tuition, graduates, health care, high school, highest incarceration rates in the world, hiring teachers, honor Dr. King, Housing, incarceration, individual contributions, Iowa, Iowa Caucus, jails, Jobs, Jr. Day, Karah Wilson, Kim Meadows Clark, latinos, March 1, marijuana off the schedule 1 drug list, Martin Luther King, maximum capacity, mexicans, middle class, minimum wage, moral view, more than any campaign, Nina Turner, Ohio State Senator, people share something, private organizations, public agencies, racial justice, Socialism, socialist, subsidized housing, supporters, telecommunications, the wealthiest family, three months of paid family and medical leave, U.S. President, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator, U.S. System of Representative Government, unemployment, university healthcare, Vermont, wages so low they have to get Medicaid, Wal-Mart, Washington Post
Southern Torch

Southern Torch


  1. Jim Porter
    Jim Porter January 24, 23:51
    I noticed the writer stated Sanders had received $2.5 million dollars in contributions...that is incorrect. He has received over 2.5 million individual contributions totaling somewhere over $50 million dollars, I believe. There are some other errors in the article, but I don't want to pick at you. I'm just grateful that the press is finally noticing Sen. Sanders! #Benie2016

Write comment

Your data will be safe! Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person. Required fields marked as *