Letter: Columnist unfairly dismisses Sanders

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Given Halsey Frank’s partisan credentials, his criticism of Hillary Clinton (“Democrats, your glass house is showing”) is remarkably fair: she has no record to recommend her for president.

But Frank does not accord Bernie Sanders equal treatment in dismissing him as an isolationist. Opposing the unwarranted war on Iraq does not an isolationist make; rather, doing so displayed good sense when criminal deceit was justifying regime change – and consequent disaster.

The “capitalist machine” Frank describes as the object of Sanders’ lifelong “railing” has proved itself a greed machine that has nearly doubled production and shared none of the gain with workers or customers. A greedy handful now horde most of the world’s wealth. No less than Pope Francis has recognized greed’s triumph as behind poverty, lack of health care, inadequate funding of education, crumbling infrastructure and misuse of military power to collect resources we lack and markets we need.

Frank tars Sanders with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee membership. SNCC’s large following was a strong nonviolent instrument in mobilizing young blacks in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. A pacifist, I joined.

After torpedoing Clinton, Frank dismisses Bernie as “”so extreme.” Really? In the 1930s, Sanders would have been unrecognizable as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s pragmatic effort to end the Great Depression and return human dignity to the tens of millions then denied it. Frank reflects the common Republican strategy: push the definitions of liberal and conservative ever rightward so that views well to the right of Nixon and Reagan are now unacceptably “liberal.”

William H. Slavick
Portland 

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