On MSNBC today, Sen. Bernie Sanders made an intelligent and passionate argument for putting the middle class first while also dealing with the Syria issue.
Sen. Sanders said:
The calls that are coming into my office are overwhelming against getting involved in a bloody complicated civil war in Syria. The American people are profoundly disgusted with the fact that the United States Congress continues to ignore the enormously serious problems facing the middle class in this country. Real unemployment close to 14%. Youth unemployment even higher than that. Poverty at an almost all time high.
What the American people are saying is. We are at war in Afghanistan. We are at war in Iraq. We’ve lost thousands of soldiers, and trillions of dollars. How about coming home, and addressing the crisis facing the American people? Everybody understands that Assad is a horrendous dictator, and the use of chemical weapons is beyond words. It is totally disgusting. What we need is the world community to come together to address that issue. Other issues in the Middle East, but the American people are saying two wars are enough. Let’s come home and address our serious problems.
All that I am saying is chemical weapons and Assad are bad news. Let’s work with the world community, do everything we can to control that situation. But you know what? The middle class of this country is collapsing. Congress has a 15% favorability rating because day after day they find the Congress all over the place, dealing with all kinds of issues except the issues that impact them, their kids, and their parents. I think if you want to deal with a crisis Let’s deal with unemployment. Let’s deal with healthcare. Let’s deal with education. We’ve got enough on our own hands right now.
The position that Sen. Sanders is advocating is one that most of the left should be able to get behind. I think it would be morally wrong to ignore Assad’s use of chemical weapons because any response would be viewed as war, but an effort that is part of the world community would probably be much more heavily supported by the American people.
It would be great if Congress would deal with the important issues at home that Sen. Sanders laid out, but we all know that they won’t. As long as the Republican Party is in control of the House, nothing will be done on jobs and education. The only thing they are going to do on healthcare is to continue trying to repeal Obamacare.
Sen. Sanders fantastically spoke about our collective war weariness, but the truth is that whether we launch strikes against Syria or not is irrelevant because Republicans aren’t going to do anything for the middle class anyway.
It’s nice to think that by rejecting strikes against Syria we will be forcing Congress to focus on middle class issues, but that won’t be the case. To put Sen. Sanders’ argument another way, the biggest enemy of the middle class isn’t Assad in Syria. It’s the Republican control of the House of Representatives.