Senator, Socialist

What should we make of the fact that a self-avowed socialist held the floor of the United States Senate chamber for nine hours on Friday? Or, more importantly, that one of the 100 people who comprise that powerful legislative body openly embraces that theory and title?

Is that okay with us as a country? What if a senator or congressman professed to be a communist? Where is the line these days?

Citizens of Vermont have the right to elect whomever they choose to represent them in Washington. And the U.S. Constitution guarantees Bernie Sanders freedom of conscience and speech. It does not, however, grant him freedom from examination. Nor does it grant him exemption from faithfully discharging the duties of his public office in accordance with his sworn Oath. On these pages, an author posited that a legislator who takes the Oath of Office -- as all senators do -- to support and defend the Constitution but openly identifies himself or herself as socialist has sworn a false oath.

It is my opinion that the basic tenets of socialism, including its various strains, are antithetical to America's founding principles. I wonder how Sen. Sanders (I- VT) reconciles the doctrines of socialism with our founding documents, our Charters of Freedom?  Similarly, I wonder how our few Muslim U.S. congressmen reconcile their sworn oaths with the anti-Constitutional character of what Islam calls shariah.

Citizen Sanders' views and the venues he expresses them in are of no concern to me. But as a senator in our massive federal government, Senator Sanders holds significant sway over me and the rest of the nation, not just Vermonters.

Recently I ventured where I don't usually go: political blogs of the New York Times (the comments sections in particular) to see what readers there were saying about Sen. Sanders and his day-long, "pseudo-filibuster" against the proposed tax legislation. Below is a small but representative sampling of what some of your fellow citizens had to say. The comments are quite telling. (The many "Go, Bernie!" and "Sanders for President" posts aren't shown below.)

Stuart, Boston:  Watching the Dems squirm is delightful sport. I say: turn the country into a socialist state, put Bernie Sanders in charge, tax the heck out of everyone, and have Washington take over all the banking institutions.

Brother Wayne, Brooklyn: Bernie Sanders is the conscience of our nation right now...

RLS, Virginia: Bernie Sanders is one of a very few in Washington that has the right priorities...I just wish that liberals/progressives would abandon the new de facto conservative party (Democratic party) and form a new party. And I say Sanders should be one of the leaders, if not the head...

philos88, Greenwood Village: Until listening to Senator Sanders, hearing his lucid description of the ignored consequences of the tax bill, I didn't know I was a Socialist...

David Biedny, New York: Sanders is making what very well be the most important speech in contemporary American history...

WKH, Vermont: Senator Sanders is a national treasure...

democratic socialist Cocoa Beach: Thank god for Bernie Sanders! He is certainly the best Senator we have in this country right now. Too bad we don't have more like him. If we did, this would be a much more egalitarian country, less militaristic and the environment would be on the mend...

Mickey Seattle: ...Maybe we need more independent socialists storming the gates of Congress if we want people representing our interests...

Donny-Don, Colorado: Thank you, Bernie. I finally feel like someone in Washington is speaking for me. (And for a majority of U.S. citizens, according to polls.)

Big Al, Lexington, Kentucky: At last, a political and moral hero! Go, Bernie! Show 'em what real American values are!!

Impressed, Asheville, NC: YAY Bernie Sanders! Someone needs to stand up to absurd Republican hypocrisy and handouts to those who don't need it and won't share it.

Whiting, Madison, WI: Good for you, Senator Sanders, and good for the country. If President Obama would follow your lead, we all might have more reason to hope that America (as we know it) will ride out these dark times.

wozzek, Santa Monica: At least someone with guts to fight against the fascist agenda that is destrying the fabric of American society while killing and bullying the world...

Erika, New York: Finally, a true Democrat speaks ...

Bob, NY: I hope history looks back to today as the day a real Progressive movement took root. You may call me a dreamer...
What should we make of the fact that a self-avowed socialist held the floor of the United States Senate chamber for nine hours on Friday? Or, more importantly, that one of the 100 people who comprise that powerful legislative body openly embraces that theory and title?

Is that okay with us as a country? What if a senator or congressman professed to be a communist? Where is the line these days?

Citizens of Vermont have the right to elect whomever they choose to represent them in Washington. And the U.S. Constitution guarantees Bernie Sanders freedom of conscience and speech. It does not, however, grant him freedom from examination. Nor does it grant him exemption from faithfully discharging the duties of his public office in accordance with his sworn Oath. On these pages, an author posited that a legislator who takes the Oath of Office -- as all senators do -- to support and defend the Constitution but openly identifies himself or herself as socialist has sworn a false oath.

It is my opinion that the basic tenets of socialism, including its various strains, are antithetical to America's founding principles. I wonder how Sen. Sanders (I- VT) reconciles the doctrines of socialism with our founding documents, our Charters of Freedom?  Similarly, I wonder how our few Muslim U.S. congressmen reconcile their sworn oaths with the anti-Constitutional character of what Islam calls shariah.

Citizen Sanders' views and the venues he expresses them in are of no concern to me. But as a senator in our massive federal government, Senator Sanders holds significant sway over me and the rest of the nation, not just Vermonters.

Recently I ventured where I don't usually go: political blogs of the New York Times (the comments sections in particular) to see what readers there were saying about Sen. Sanders and his day-long, "pseudo-filibuster" against the proposed tax legislation. Below is a small but representative sampling of what some of your fellow citizens had to say. The comments are quite telling. (The many "Go, Bernie!" and "Sanders for President" posts aren't shown below.)

Stuart, Boston:  Watching the Dems squirm is delightful sport. I say: turn the country into a socialist state, put Bernie Sanders in charge, tax the heck out of everyone, and have Washington take over all the banking institutions.

Brother Wayne, Brooklyn: Bernie Sanders is the conscience of our nation right now...

RLS, Virginia: Bernie Sanders is one of a very few in Washington that has the right priorities...I just wish that liberals/progressives would abandon the new de facto conservative party (Democratic party) and form a new party. And I say Sanders should be one of the leaders, if not the head...

philos88, Greenwood Village: Until listening to Senator Sanders, hearing his lucid description of the ignored consequences of the tax bill, I didn't know I was a Socialist...

David Biedny, New York: Sanders is making what very well be the most important speech in contemporary American history...

WKH, Vermont: Senator Sanders is a national treasure...

democratic socialist Cocoa Beach: Thank god for Bernie Sanders! He is certainly the best Senator we have in this country right now. Too bad we don't have more like him. If we did, this would be a much more egalitarian country, less militaristic and the environment would be on the mend...

Mickey Seattle: ...Maybe we need more independent socialists storming the gates of Congress if we want people representing our interests...

Donny-Don, Colorado: Thank you, Bernie. I finally feel like someone in Washington is speaking for me. (And for a majority of U.S. citizens, according to polls.)

Big Al, Lexington, Kentucky: At last, a political and moral hero! Go, Bernie! Show 'em what real American values are!!

Impressed, Asheville, NC: YAY Bernie Sanders! Someone needs to stand up to absurd Republican hypocrisy and handouts to those who don't need it and won't share it.

Whiting, Madison, WI: Good for you, Senator Sanders, and good for the country. If President Obama would follow your lead, we all might have more reason to hope that America (as we know it) will ride out these dark times.

wozzek, Santa Monica: At least someone with guts to fight against the fascist agenda that is destrying the fabric of American society while killing and bullying the world...

Erika, New York: Finally, a true Democrat speaks ...

Bob, NY: I hope history looks back to today as the day a real Progressive movement took root. You may call me a dreamer...

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