Like most of you, I didn’t know much about former Alaska senator Mike Gravel until his Tweets started popping up in my feed.
The Tweets, many of which call out centrist Dems, were smart, sharp, and funny; and reminded me of the things my honors intellectual history students used to say. In fact, they sounded like they were written by well-read, social media-savvy, super-snarky teenagers because, well, that’s exactly what they are.
Here’s a sampling of some of the more recent ones:
“If you think it’s wasteful and wrong to roll tanks through Washington for the Fourth of July, you should also think it’s wasteful and wrong to have these tanks at all.”
“Joe Biden—a centrist, former segregationist, creep, liar, and fool – would be a disastrous Democratic nominee.”
“We want healthcare for everyone, except John Hickenlooper.”
“Remember when Great Public Intellectual Mayor Pete said “All Lives Matter” after it was revealed that a white cop in his town sold shirts making fun of Eric Garner’s death?”
“Kamala, you’re against locking children up? Seems like a new stance.”
The more Tweets I read, and the more research I did on Mike Gravel, the more I wanted to see him on the debate stage. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all in for Bernie Sanders (many of you reading this have already slammed me for it), but that didn’t stop me from sending money to Gravel. (Anything leftover after his campaign, by the way, will be donated to Flint and other causes.)
Don’t take my word for it, though. Watch Mike’s bold campaign video and you’ll understand why we need him at the next debate.
See how the video cleverly demonstrates how similar the two major parties are when it comes to ignoring what’s best for Americans? Our elected officials are no longer beholden to us. They’re entirely owned by special interests, and that should make us all angry.
Hey, Wyld Stallyns, remember So-crates? His student Plato called him the “gadfly of the state,” arguing that a state is like a “great and noble steed” that needs to be annoyed into remembering what its duties are. I think we can all agree that America isn’t a great and noble steed anymore; it’s an old, fat, deaf donkey put out to pasture by Trump, the GOP, the 1%, and, let’s be honest, plenty of enablers in the Democratic party.
And Mike Gravel is the gadfly America needs.
As committed as I am to Our Revolution, Bernie can’t be that gadfly. He can be a truth teller, but anything that seems even remotely like a personal attack against another candidate will be magnified all out of proportion. The things that Kamala Harris will be able to get away with will be called “grumpy old white male privilege” if Bernie tries them. I mean, look what happened to Eric Swalwell. He came at Biden like an agitated adolescent golden retriever, and now he’s not even in the race.
Remember 2016? Bernie was unfairly smeared for not supporting Hillary, even though there are plenty of examples to prove otherwise.
Irrational anti-Bernie sentiment still runs deep in this country. Look no further than every Politico article that ignores or downplays Bernie’s success; every CNN piece that dismisses him as being too far left for American voters (based on dubious polls that probably only elicit responses from people with landlines who happen to be home during the day); and every idiot on Twitter who has no better reason to dis Bernie than “How are we going to pay for all the free stuff?”, as if they’re suffering from Stockholm Syndrome caused by the Left letting the GOP hijack every political narrative that matters.
As a political outsider, Mike doesn’t have to worry about any of this. He doesn’t have to play nice. He doesn’t have to apologize for imaginary Bernie Bros. He doesn’t have to worry about how the media will unfairly represent his platform.
If you watched the campaign ad above, you saw Mike call out Biden and the rest of the 2008 candidates. Doesn’t it bother you that nothing has changed since then? We’re still at war and perpetually on the brink of a new one; we’re still dependent on the fossil fuels Trump is telling us we need, like junkies hooked on opioids prescribed by corrupt doctors; and hey, guess what? Joe Biden still thinks he deserves to be president.
I don’t know about you, but I want to see Gravel go right down the line at the debates, calling out each candidate, Biden, Booker, Harris, Klobuchar, et al., exposing their voting records and the special interests to whom they’re beholden. Americans deserve nothing less.
As an outsider, Mike also has the luxury of going left of Bernie. In the process, this could make Bernie’s platform seem almost reasonable to the idiots in the middle who apparently still need to be convinced that we can afford to raise the minimum wage or bail out students who have been victimized by predatory lenders. Nothing means anything without context, right? Then let’s give ‘em some freakin’ context.
And when the centrists on stage laugh at Mike again, as they inevitably will, they’ll be on record for the next generation to see. Let’s hope we’re not still waging the Forever War by then.
We’ve all heard Democrats speak reverently about their “big tent.” Let’s find out how big it really is. Is it a big top, or is it a pup tent with room enough for only one old dog named Joe who isn’t learning any new tricks and damn proud of it?