Why I Support Bernie Sanders Part II: Equal Rights and Ending Discrimination

I feel very strongly that the United States of America is, and should always be, a place for people of all colors and creeds, and that all people deserve to have the same rights. Our diversity is a major part of what makes this country great. The government should be ensuring that all people have equal opportunity and that no one person or group of people are denied any of their rights.

The reason for making sure everyone truly has equal rights is simple — and somewhat selfish. If being denied rights can happen to one group of people, it can happen to you.

The truth is that right now (and in the past) in our country you cannot be more privileged than to be born white, male, and Christian. You will not be pulled over for “driving while white.” You will not be paid less for your work than equally qualified peers because you are a woman. And you will certainly not fear for the safety of your family because of your religious beliefs due to the fearful, hateful, and divisional rhetoric from many of our nation’s leaders.

Unfortunately, still today we have many people and politicians who try to make and keep discriminatory laws. There are leading presidential candidates that have called for banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., even those who are already citizens but are temporarily out of the country. There has even been a suggestion that a national registry be created of all Muslims in America, which sounds eerily close to Nazi Germany.

There are many people who have tried to force their religious definition of marriage on everyone else in the country. Either denying the fact that homosexuality exists naturally in this world or not caring that a loving, devoted gay couple might be denied being together in a hospital room to make end of life decisions if one partner is ill.

And despite the civil rights movement, the black community in America is still feeling the legacy of slavery in our country. While outright racism and jim crow laws may no longer be the norm, the black community have had to start from behind on a social, economic and educational level.


The reasons I feel that Bernie Sanders is the best candidate to fight for equal rights among all citizens is because his entire life he has consistently fought for the rights of those who are discriminated against, even when it wasn’t politically correct to do so.

  • Bernie was there during the civil rights movement and marched alongside Dr. King.
  • Bernie was for gay rights, decades before marriage for same-sex couples was allowed. As mayor of Burlington, VT he signed a city ordinance banning housing discrimination and in 1983 supported the city’s first Pride Parade.
  • He advocates for election day to be a national holiday to make voting easier for poor and working Americans who would otherwise have a difficult time making it to the polls while working.
  • He supports measures to end the gender pay gap and has stood up for women’s rights.
  • He has a lifetime perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign.
  • His supporters are a diverse group of people, of all ages, races and religions.

As president, I believe he will work harder than any other candidate to guarantee every single American is granted equal rights, and that is a major reason why I support Bernie Sanders for president.

Why I Support Bernie Sanders: Part 1 – Health Care


Bernie Sanders speaking in Cedar Rapids, IA on 01/08/16 (Photo by Daniel Dorman)

I have always found it strange that health insurance was tied to a job. I understand how it came about back during WW2, but I’m not sure why it’s still that way today. Many Presidents, politicians, citizens, and unions have called for change to a more universal system. The ACA (Obamacare) might seem like something new, but in fact similar things had been proposed all the way back to Nixon, and then again with Clinton. Some may be happy with the provisions in Obamacare, I however feel the most important part was left out — the public option.

There could be many benefits from having health insurance separated from employment. In the time I’ve been married, just over five years, I’ve switched health insurance seven times. I would have much preferred not to, but unfortunately that wasn’t a choice.

I would like to walk you through these changes to help explain why I feel like universal health coverage from a public option is important.

  • Before I was married, I had insurance purchased privately (1). I was working multiple part-time jobs as well as freelancing while trying to start a business, so I had no full-time work benefits.
  • Soon after I was married, my wife got a full-time job teaching. We took the opportunity to have insurance through her work (2). The coverage was good, but also very expensive.
  • The next year, we switched to a HSA plan (3). It was more affordable, but I was expecting to get information about steps to set up a savings account, but never did. I have no idea where the money that was deducted from my wife’s checks actually went to.
  • I got a new full-time job with a company that paid for a significant portion of the health insurance costs, so we switched to that (4).
  • Six months later, my position was eliminated, so we were forced to switch back to insurance from my wife’s job (5).
  • Then we had a baby. Adding him to our policy would have made the premium significantly higher. We switched to a private insurer (6) and paid roughly the same for two adults and one child as we had been for just two adults with similar coverage.

This brings us to now, beginning of 2016 when — you guessed it — we had to switch plans. Our insurance company was no longer offering health insurance in 2016. We would have stayed on this plan, if it were still offered. Luckily, insurance plans at my current job were more reasonable due to the company starting to pay for a portion of it (7).

This is a mess! The world has changed a lot since the 1940’s. People can barely depend on a company for a job, much less a life long career. Many positions are kept as part-time and contracted out to avoid having to give workers the benefits that were once used to lure workers in! The reality is, people can’t just walk down the street from their high school graduation and into the front door of a factory and take an entry level job, work to move up to better paying positions, earn a pension and retire comfortably anymore. You can’t even walk out of a college graduation and do that. The system set in place no longer works for our current economy. I believe it’s marginally better with Obamacare — it’s more convenient for self-employed people to shop for and compare insurance plans, but costs are still too high and rising, and it still doesn’t solve the problem of health insurance being tied to jobs.

Another problem with health insurance coming and going with a job is that people aren’t always able to take the jobs they want to do or are good at, because the company they would work for doesn’t offer affordable insurance. I’m sure we’ve all heard people who have stayed in jobs they didn’t like because they needed to keep their health insurance for their families.

Just imagine, if health care was an American citizen’s right, we would no longer have to worry about leaving our jobs to start our own businesses or join a start up because we would loose our health insurance.

Imagine being able to freelance and work from home without being stuck finding your own health insurance and paying higher rates because you’re not part of a larger pool.

Imagine not having to worry each year about plan changes and figuring out which plan is going to best suit your unknown future needs.

That seems incredibly liberating and freeing to me. It removes a major barrier to entrepreneurship. It takes a burden off of businesses and allows them to compete for employees by offering good paying jobs, offering exciting environments, or fulfilling work.

Bernie Sanders speaking in Cedar Rapids, IA on 01/08/16 (Photo by Daniel Dorman)

Bernie Sanders is the candidate who I believe has the best chance of helping usher in a new, better system for American health care. He has long advocated for such a system and has plans for how to implement and pay for it. He has been consistent on this subject since before he started his presidential campaign, not just after polls came back suggesting people support it. I believe he will fight harder for this than anyone else.

This is just one reason why I support Bernie Sanders for president.

For more information on Bernie’s health care plans, visit www.feelthebern.org.