Letter to the editor: Sanders challenges right-wing Democrat


To the editor:

The President of the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives and 49 members of the U.S. Senate are prepared to pass enormously consequential legislation that stands up to powerful special interests and finally delivers for the working families of our country.

With almost every Democrat in the House and Senate on board, there is one member of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate who stands in the way: Senator Joe Manchin.

In America today, the very rich are becoming richer while millions of working families are struggling to put food on the table or pay their bills. We now have the absurd situation in which two multi-billionaires own more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans, the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92% and the gap between rich and poor is wider than at any time in the last 100 years.

The Build Back Better bill, supported by President Biden, the vast majority of Americans and almost every Democrat in Congress, is an unprecedented effort to finally address the long-neglected crises facing working families and demand that the wealthiest people and largest corporations in the country start paying their fair share of taxes.

Here are just a few of the things we are trying to do:

We are going to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and lower the cost of prescription drugs in America. Last year, while nearly one out of four Americans could not afford to fill the prescriptions their doctors wrote, six of the largest drug companies made tens of billions in profits.

We are going to expand Medicare to cover hearing aids, dental care and eyeglasses. Today, in the wealthiest nation on earth, millions of seniors cannot chew their food or see and hear their loved ones.

We are going to help seniors and people with disabilities get the home health care they need. Across the U.S., and in places like West Virginia and Vermont in particular, seniors should be able to be around their loved ones as they age as opposed to being forced into expensive nursing homes.

We are going to expand the Child Tax Credit that has reduced childhood poverty by 50% in the U.S.

We are going to end the dysfunction of a childcare system that forces working families to spend up to one-third of their limited income on childcare and keeps millions of women out of the workforce.

We are going to make sure pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds is universal and free, giving our young children the best chance at success regardless of where they are from or how much money their parents make.

And oh, yes, there is the not-so-small matter of the existential threat of climate change. With the planet getting warmer and warmer, producing unprecedented drought, fires, floods and extreme weather, we are going to finally begin the process of cutting carbon emissions and transforming our energy systems to save this planet for future generations.

This morning, Sen, Manchin announced he would not support the Build Back Better Act.

And if that is the case, he should be prepared to vote No before the working families of West Virginia and America and explain why.

We should give Joe Manchin the opportunity to explain to West Virginia and the American people why he opposes taking on the greed of the drug companies and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

We should give Joe Manchin the opportunity to explain to West Virginia seniors why he opposes helping them secure hearing aids, dental care and the eyeglasses they need.

We should give Joe Manchin the opportunity to explain to families why their loved ones should age in expensive nursing homes instead of around those who care about them most.

We should give Joe Manchin the opportunity to explain why only the children of the wealthy from certain zip codes should have the opportunity to attend pre-K.

And we should give Joe Manchin the opportunity to explain why he sides with those who profit from climate change and the destruction of the planet for future generations.

Now I know Joe Manchin continues to talk about his concerns over the national debt, but I find it amusing that I didn’t hear his concerns after voting, just this week, for a military budget of $778 billion, four times greater than the Build Back Better Act over 10 years and $25 billion more than the president suggested.

Forgive me thinking that maybe, just maybe, something else is at play here.

Joe Manchin should have the chance to explain what it is.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders
Burlington, Vermont


  1. Comrade Chiri, the MAGA Party resembles the party of Hitler much more than the Democrats do that of Marx. Not one person in the Democratic Party is advocating state control over all production. The Democrats are reformers and not revolutionaries. Indeed, between Sanders and The Squad, there are scant few liberals on Capitol Hill. Just like the Clintons, Biden and Harris, they’re all center-right. They’d be considered conservatives in most of Western Europe as well as they would have in the Reagan era. Anyway, if you don’t like the politicians in power right now, why don’t you leave, and take all your fascist friends with you? We’re not going anywhere.

    • If the “MAGA” party is so much like the Nazis, they would have already started lining you up against a wall and shooting you or sending you off to camps like the mindless sheep you are.

      • Actually, they tried to do that on the 6th of January but failed. Of course, I know they’re going to try again, with or without the orange excuse for a human. Anyway, thanks for revealing yourself for what you are. To be sure, I knew things would come to this twenty years ago. I don’t know what God has in store for me personally, but I don’t think He likes the plans a lot of folks may have for me. Perhaps it’s just as well I have no progeny. I grieve for the young ones who will need to pass through the fire to possibly make it to the other side. God doesn’t like his older kids being killed any more than He does the unborn. Be careful what you wish for. You might very well get it.

        • Oh, please. I wasn’t sure about Trump but I sure as hell wasn’t voting for Hillary. And as it turned out, Trump was a million times better than that clown Biden will ever be. Enjoy your $3 gas and going up and highest inflation in 31 years, and thank the Lord Manchin stopped the BBB bill that would further put our kids and grandkids in debt. And don’t you find it a little odd that the security at Congress was told to stand down and actually let people in? And also members of Antifa and BLM were identified in videos among the crowd. The real enemies of this country right now are the liberal, radical socialists that are tearing this country down one step and one civil right at a time. And I am an independent voter, so don’t try to label me as a Republican or Democrat. I was a registered Dem for over 40 years until ’06. I don’t know how old you are, sir, but I can tell you that the Democratic Party is 180 degrees different than the party was under Kennedy and others.

  2. As I’ve stated several times about you and many others, I am appalled by the depth of your indoctrination and quite disappointed by your gullibility as evidenced by the propaganda you parrot and the political phantoms that exist only in MAGA rhetoric. Please, don’t take anything here personally, but I see you as one of thousands of twisted Don Quixotes who succeed only in wearing out horses, shattering lances and demolishing windmills.

    I’m 67 now and was 5 when JFK was elected. I was in the second grade during the Cuban Missile Crisis and recall my stepfather admonishing me to not get out of earshot while playing outdoors during what could have been a nuclear Apocalypse. I was in the third grade when JFK was shot. I also remember LBJ and the debacle of Vietnam, beginning with his TV presentation concerning the Gulf of Tonkin circus. I saw the choppers and the body bags on the evening news. I heard Johnson’s “I do not seek and will not accept” speech a few years later. I watched the Chicago police riot during the Democratic Convention of ’68. Even as a 13-year-old kid, I couldn’t help but see the strife and division inside the convention hall. I was old enough to read about the many race riots of that decade. I remember when MLK and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. I remember the Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers, Malcom X, the Chicago 7, the Yippies, the Weathermen and the Simbionese Liberation Army. I remember Mohammed Ali back when he was Cassius Clay. I gained a more mature understanding of all these people, events and movements when in high school in the early ’70s. My understanding of these things of the ’60s became even more focused after a semester of political science in college in 1976. The first time I voted was the general election of 1976. In 1980 I participated in my first Iowa Caucus with other local Democrats where it was formerly held in the Perry Methodist Church fellowship hall.

    I was a steward for the AFSCME at the mental institution north of Woodward. I was also a representative for AFSCME at an AFL-CIO convention across Fleur Drive from the airport back when the air traffic controllers were on strike. I was the one who put the motion on the floor to support our PATCO brothers by joining them on the picket line and to render whatever assistance we could. I marched up and down the line with the controllers as well as many of the others attending the convention across the street. It was sub-zero weather with ice on the pavement there and then. Unions? My grandfather was a UAW member at the Ottumwa John Deere plant. My father belonged to the local at the old Frito-Lay plant in Ottumwa. An uncle worked at the old Morrell plant in town, and he was in the union there.

    Over the years I’ve met and talked with Ted Kennedy, Alan Cranston, Walter Mondale, Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean and Michelle Obama. Not long before the Iowa Caucuses of 2004, John Kerry requested a private audience with me in the basement of the Pattee, where I conversed with him, his wife and one of his campaign assistants. Anyway, I don’t know where you were or what you were doing half a century ago but if you’re talking about the Democratic Party, it must have been one on another planet. Certainly not the one I’ve been part of more than 40 years.

    You obviously assumed I was youthful and ignorant judging by your words towards the end of your last comment. I assure you I am neither.

    $3 gas? Wasn’t gas very near $5 a gallon about 20 years ago during Dubya’s administration? So what’s the big deal? We went through much worse economic hardships in 2008. Worst inflation in 31 years? Big deal. We went through worse when Nixon took us off the gold standard. Truth be known, elected officials have always had far less control of the economy than they’ve been given credit for. I don’t think Biden or Trump either one can be blamed for higher gas prices.
    Yes, I’ve went on and on trying to reason with someone who depends upon emotional appeals rather than facts and logic. It might have been a waste of time, but your suggestion I was young and naive irked me. Comrade Chiri, you’re messing with the wrong old long hair. I won’t put up with it.

  3. Thou art the pot calling the kettle black. My folks and I watched that riot as it went down. The cops beat up even the press. All judgements against the Chicago 7 were overturned including most of the contempt charges. Also, I keep telling you, I’m not backing down or going away. I’m not hiding anywhere. I’m not going anywhere. I will never yield to you and your twisted and conceited form of ignorance. Me and my kind will never let it go. You’re the ones that must be returned to the primordial ooze. As I said at the beginning, your ignorance and gullibility are appalling.

    • Yes, I’m done with him for now. I’ll likely pick it up again another time, but I’m done here. He may not think so but I’ve made my point. I will not put up with his arrogance and presumptuous demeanor. We’re not leaving. We’re not hiding. We will never concede.

    • I believe that I am neither pathetic nor a waste of space because I am loved by my wonderful wife, and that brings her joy. It is all that I will ever need and far more than I could ever dream for. Bless you, Greg. I sincerely and truly apologize to you for my hostility and harsh words. Let us work towards friendship and understanding in this coming year. Neither of us have that many years left, and our time is precious. Let us not waste another moment of this blessed gift.

      Peace and Love,


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