To The Daily Sun,

One of the attacks often lobbed at Bernie Sanders is that while in Washington, he hasn’t accomplished anything. Grouped in with that is the suggestion that he would also fail to accomplish anything as president. As someone who has personally benefited from the work he has done, and is sharply tuned into his strategy for the oval office, I’d just like to take a brief moment to explain why those criticisms can’t hold up to scrutiny.

A few years back, after decades of struggling with chronic health issues, I became disabled and had to start relying on Social Security benefits. The transition to my new life was a huge blow to my self-esteem, only made worse by the constant struggle of trying to get by on so little money while constantly having to depend on my family for support. I still had hope that with proper care and a lot of hard work, I could finally overcome many of my symptoms and re-enter the workforce, but if that was to happen, I would need to rely on the local community health center for treatment.

By most accounts, the Affordable Care Act failed to address the central problems plaguing our health care system (for that, see Bernie’s Medicare for All legislation), but packaged in were great additions like eliminating pre-existing condition clauses and, most importantly for me, dedicating $10 billion in funding for the community health centers like the one I now rely on. Even with Medicaid chipping in, I’m responsible for about one-half of my limited income in the equivalent of a monthly deductible, but with the additional funding that Sen. Sanders secured, I am able to receive the care I need to keep fighting for my future without having to pay that entire sum. Otherwise, I would have to stop treatment, my condition would worsen, and I would simply fade from existence.

Bernie was once known as “The Amendment King” for his habit of taking legislation that might otherwise be mediocre and scoring real, impactful victories within them like he did here. This sort of work often goes unnoticed, but it demonstrates a keen understanding of how to get things accomplished in a broken and corrupt system. Bernie hasn’t stopped there, however. He has consistently reached across the aisle and found the common ground necessary to score big victories like he did with the Sanders-McCain Veterans Bill in 2014, bringing life-saving services to an under-served population that has sacrificed dearly for all of us.

While winning these fights, he was laying the groundwork for the moment we live in now, consistently railing against policies and decisions on behalf of the American people when it was unpopular. Go to YouTube and watch his speeches from the past few decades. You’ll see him warning us about the Iraq War and mass incarceration, desperately trying to stop the rising tide of income and wealth inequality, and presenting policies and ideas that people laughed at. Well, here we are in 2019 and his platform has become that of the Democratic Party, whether they like it or not. Sure, he wasn’t able to get many of these ideas into law, but today, most of them are overwhelmingly supported by the American people, who are demanding that our government finally start representing our needs.

And that’s why Bernie Sanders is the only candidate with an actual plan to successfully realize his vision as president, an office he sees as “Organizer in Chief.” He has shifted popular opinion and our political discourse and understands that any president will need us, the citizens of this nation, to join him in pressuring those who claim to represent us to do their jobs, or else be replaced. As he says, “Not Me. Us.” I have experienced first-hand the impact Bernie can have and he’s the only candidate I trust to succeed as president. Why put your faith in someone who only now claims to support these policies when you can have the champion that has been fighting for them all his life? Why vote for a candidate who sees winning the election as an end point instead of the beginning? Most of us understand the gravity of the challenges we face. We can’t afford not to vote for Bernie, because he is in fact the only candidate who will get the job done.

Daniel O’Meara

Laconia

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