Bernie Sanders makes me happy. That isn’t quite accurate. The movement that Sanders has inspired makes me happy. What makes me happy is struggling against oppression. This is not the first time I have discovered this. I don’t know if I can generalize, but I will anyway. Human happiness depends on the struggle against oppression. If one of us is oppressed, we are all oppressed.
And we are all oppressed. The billionaire class that we love to vilify, do you think they’re happy? Those Republican candidates, do you think any of them are happy? But even they are oppressed by this society. They are cut off from 99% of humanity. Which means they are cut off from their humanity. That must hurt. They are hurt people. Hurt people hurt people.
It’s fun to vilify them. I’m as guilty as the next person of sharing Trump jokes. People like Trump are asking for it. But the quieter billionaires: Bernie can claim a couple. Hardly an insignificant class defection. As Bob Dylan taught us, all the money in the world will never buy back your soul.
But it would be better if we spent our time radiating our happiness at finding the workable means to connect with others to challenge our oppression.
Bernie Sanders is putting forward the enormous reforms which we need to make if humanity is to thrive or even if the planet is to survive. That organ of the billionaires, the Wall Street Journal says these necessary reforms will cost $18 trillion. Others say that’s a gross exaggeration, but I don’t care if it isn’t. I don’t care if these reforms do cost $18 trillion. You better hope they don’t cost that much, billionaires and millionaires, because you’re the ones with the money, and we’re coming for it. Bernie may ask for just some of it for now, but the movement, we may ask for all of it. You millionaires had a combined wealth in 2011 of 11.2 trillion, I’m sure it’s over 18 trillion by now. And here’s the good news: that 18 trillion is over 10 years, so all you have to give up is 1.8 trillion of your current wealth. That sounds like a bargain to me.