Tasked with choosing a world leader who has had a global impact on each group member, we easily decided former presidential candidate and longest stand independent Senator Bernie Sanders was just the leader to choose. Ahmed being from the Middle East, Marina from Europe and Marli and Allie from US, we were all in agreement that the world under Bernie Sanders would be better place to live.
Bernie Sanders is innovative in his ability to bring socialist messages to mainstream American politics. Here is his explanation of what it means to be a modern day socialist in the US, “What being a socialist means is that hold out a vision of society where poverty is absolutely unnecessary, where international relations are not based on greed but on cooperation, where human beings can own the means of production and work together rather than having to work as semi-slaves to other people who can hire and fire. Could you imagine life without poverty, world without war, synergy and partnership instead of fight and competition, and that people across the globe grow and rise together. And if you say it is utopia, I️ would say- why not.”
Bernie was born in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish parents who immigrated here from Poland. Motivated by civil rights issues at an early age, he carried out important work in his undergraduates studies at University of Chicago, serving as one of the organizers for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. His political career began in 1981 when he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Authentic in holding the same views and wanting to achieve progress on the same issues since the eighties, Bernie’s has always been a supporter of big reform in progressive taxation, environmental protection, child care in addition to supporting the LGBTQ community, opposing racial discrimination in the criminal justice system and mass surveillance policies.
Bernie’s leadership style may be thought as that of servant leadership, which contributed to his success. In an industry where politicians are often criticized for not voting based on the interests of the people, Bernie made a career and life out of advocating on behalf of people needing basic human rights. His proven experience of leading by example and serving on the frontline of historic civil rights protests made his appeal that much more authentic and pioneering for a straight, white man. People were better able to support his beliefs because of his unwavering commitment to the cause, arguably the most important factor for a leader to establish a following.
As the oldest candidate to run for President of the United States, Bernie visited Arizona several times during the 2016 presidential primary election. While he did not win the primary election in Arizona, here he is speaking at a rally in Phoenix:
Bernie was hugely instrumental in driving a people’s movement that called for more transparency and authenticity as it relates to politics. Unwavering in his belief system, Bernie’s staunch stand on the issues most important to millennials, before millennials we’re even alive to care about these issues, contributed significantly to his following and support base. In an era where both young and old voters can agree on their jaded feelings toward the American civic engagement process today, all were able to connect and agree on the power Bernie had to change the impact and intentions of the government and ensure that the interests of the people, especially those belonging to marganilzed groups, was understood and implemented.