Financial equality, gun control and health care were among the topics discussed recently by Senator Bernie Sanders during a rally held for Lubbock residents.
On March 10, Sanders spoke at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center to encourage the Democratic population of Lubbock to vote and help change the political ideologies that impact most of the state.
Sanders, the United States senator from Vermont, was a candidate during the 2016 presidential election. As a Progressive, Sanders has acted on many issues, such as global warming, income equality and universal health care.
In August 2016, Sanders founded Our Revolution, an organization aimed toward educating people about the Democratic platform and the changes they intend to initiate. Through many OR chapters across the nation, Sanders has spread his Progressive ideologies and supported candidates with similar ideals.
The event was hosted by Our Revolution Texas (ORT), the local OR chapter, whose aim is to end societal issues by fighting for a minimum wage of $15, Medicare for all and equality for everyone within the United States.
During the rally, which began with musical performances by Andy Wilkinson and Bob Livingston, T.G. Caraway, candidate for Lubbock County Commissioner Precinct 4, promoted ORT and introduced other speakers, such as OR President Nina Turner, Jim Hightower, former Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture, and Michael Lighty, Director of Public Policy for National Nurses.
Throughout the majority of the speakers’ discussions, many issues, such as the inequality among social classes, the criminal justice system and the costs of being a United States citizen, were acknowledged countless times. But the need for Texans to vote, especially the liberal population of the state, was also discussed.
Encouraging people to vote and to take a stance on political issues are a few things that Hightower said that ORT is helping to achieve.
“ORT is bringing us mutts and rebels into the political sphere,” said Hightower. “ORT is not organizing to protest government. We are organizing to become the government.”
Through ORT and its sponsored events, Hightower said people will be able to come together and impact political decisions.
“ORT is a people’s revolution against the corporate elites,” said Hightower.
Fighting against the corporate elites was one thing that Sanders said will help relieve many problems. One major topic Sanders acknowledged was the difference in hardships between the wealthy and the working class.
“Since the Wall Street crash of 2008, 50 percent of income goes to the top 1 percent,” said Sanders. “I have a feeling in Texas you got people with two jobs and low wages to pay the bills.”
The need for affordable tuition and child care are among the many reasons why Sanders said he believes wages need to be higher for all people.
“People understand that $7.25 wage an hour is a starvation wage,” said Sanders. “We need to raise that to 15 bucks an hour. If senators can vote for a tax break for the wealthy, they can vote for free colleges.”
With the Democratic Party’s desire for a prosperous lifestyle and the wealthy not paying enough taxes, Sanders said people need to fight for legislation such as universal health care.
There are many disadvantages that result from not expanding Medicare to everyone. Due to unaffordable prescription drugs and the high cost of doctor appointments, he said he believes many Americans are suffering.
“All over this country, thousands and thousands die because they don’t go to the doctor,” said Sanders. “The USA is the only major country to not guarantee health care as a right. Together, we will change that. Expand Medicare for all.”
Considering recent events, such as the mass shootings and hurricanes, Sanders also regarded the need for a ban on assault weapons to reduce the risk of violence and the need for awareness of climate change and its detrimental consequences.
“The Democratic Party has not stood up like it should for the American people,” said Sanders. “Our job is to come up with a Progressive agenda that speaks to the needs of the working people. Take that agenda to friends, families who don’t vote.”
Through this event, ORT can continue to push this Progressive agenda and incorporate people across the nation. Turner, a former Ohio state senator, constantly addressed the need for unity within the small Democratic population in Texas during the Lubbock event.
This conference is something that Turner said brings people together to start a conversation and encourage people to act.
“Progressives have policies to lift this country,” said Turner. “Other folks may have money. But we have people power.”
Division within the Democratic Party is something Turner mentioned to be an obstacle that hinders the Progressive movement.
“We cannot be divided,” said Turner. “What we cannot do is lose sight of each other’s humanity.”
The consequences of climate change, lack of gun control, financial inequality and the need for health care are things that are said to be resolved through the unity of people throughout the nation. These matters are things that Sanders said that can be settled with solidarity.
“When we stand together, there is nothing stopping us,” said Sanders. “Let us stand together.”