Social media sites are buzzing about Bernie Sanders upcoming appearance at the Vatican, to speak on matters such as economic inequality and climate change.
The media, traditional and social, however, could care less about substance. Instead, the issue du jour is whether the invitation was unsolicited or one Sanders sought out. Pardon me, but in the words of Hillary Clinton: “What difference does it make?” I know one speaking invitation Sanders didn’t seek out: the annual AIPAC conference.
The denigration of Sanders for having perhaps asked to be invited has the Ready for Hillary crowd all giddy. To some extent, that’s just typical campaign bullshit. But there’s a more troublesome aspect to it, in terms of the battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party (a figure of speech one could question here, given the doubt that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has a soul).
Consider this side note from a HRC supporter pushing the “Sanders solicited the invite” meme:
I personally could not care less what a male religious leader who believes women are walking baby machines thinks about our Presidential election but I can understand why either candidate would seek his favor.
Translation: “It’s all about abortion for me.”
I’ve noted numerous times on these pages that the way to spot Democrats who will sell us out on economic justice is it to look for those who wear their support for abortion rights and LGBT rights most prominently on their sleeves. For an Arizona example of this, check out Kyrsten Sinema.
Well, you couldn’t find a better explanation for that phenomenon than the comment I quoted. I’m an atheist. I represented Planned Parenthood for years. The idea that a 15 year-old girl who becomes pregnant by accident should be compelled to take the pregnancy to term is lunacy to me. And religiously motivated, first amendment-violating lunacy at that.
But that doesn’t mean the Pope is a piece of garbage.
Yeah, he’s all wrong, in my mind, about abortion.
But he’s done incredibly good things on other fronts, most notably economic justice and climate change.
When Democrats, HRC supporters or not, are categorically dismissive of the Pope because of his abortion stance, it doesn’t bode well for America’s poor and middle class, or the climate. It is in effect agreeing to a Faustian bargain with an element of the billionaire class: Don’t restrict abortion rights (and fund the campaigns of centrist Democrats) and you can keep all that wealth for yourselves. At the same time, the bible-thumping poor have agreed to a similar Faustian bargain with a (slightly) different element of the billionaire class: Pledge to end abortion rights (and fund Republican campaigns) and you can keep all that wealth for yourselves.
Which guarantees us one thing: Both elements of the billionaire class will get to keep all that wealth for themselves.
While America continues to have the highest level of inequality in the Western world.
While 20 million Americans live in extreme poverty (less than $2 per day).
While we race to the point that climate change becomes irretrievable (if it has not already)
Nonetheless, to many, abortion is what the Democratic primary is all about.
As if Bernie Sanders is a foe of abortion rights.
It’s too bad.