A Coat of Many Colors: Bashing Bernie Sanders

by Glenn R. Geist

According to a Newsweek headline:

“Socialist Bernie Sanders wears a $700 jacket while complaining about rich people”

I’ll start with this disclaimer – I’m not poor. I can afford a few nice clothes even if I often dress like a beach bum.

In a time and place where everyone seems to be a class chauvinist as a matter of pride, that means I can’t have a legitimate sentiment concerning the welfare of people without much money — unless I first give it all away. Or at least that’s what Newsweek seems to be saying about Bernie Sanders…

“…..he has a nicer coat than you do so he is a hypocrite and can’t represent you…..”

….and here we were told Newsweek was for fake news liberals.  Actually, it seems like Bernie has been complaining about tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy, not about their wealth.  A bit dishonest, don’t you think?

Somehow, the notion that only Jesus or some other wandering mendicant can afford to care about poverty has motivated Newsweek to bash Bernie Sanders for wearing a nice designer snowboarding parka his son gave him while advocating for social justice.

Of course, I’m, a cynic and have to suspect them of a hidden motivation and of using jealousy dressed up in gaudy apparel to pump up the tribalism and class warfare one expects from Fox and the Fake Media, not an objective and liberal magazine.

But here’s the thing: both Socialist Bernie Sanders and I both have expensive coats. His is a Burton Parka that sells for about 700 bucks, mine is a Schott Perfecto motorcycle jacket that sells for about the same.

Both are the USA made; Burton in his home state of Vermont, Schott in New York. In neither case did the manufacture or purchase of either coat contribute to poverty unemployment and homelessness or limit access to health care or educational opportunities. Quite the opposite actually. Perhaps Bernie gave his old coat to someone who needed it. Perhaps I do similar things, but that’s not the point.

The point is dishonesty and motivated arguments and jealousy – the divide and conquer tactics I associate with Sanders’ Conservative and Libertarian enemies, not Newsweek — the kind of hypocrisy that lets one mock Sanders for 700 dollars and not mock Trump for his billions of smelly Rubles.

So where does the righteous indignation, condemnation, and scorn come in? Newsweek wants to pander to those Liberals and socialists and others who don’t lean so much to the left as they just feel jealousy toward anyone who has money – or at least more money than they do.

That, of course, is how Conservatives want them to feel: angry at Bernie, and by extension, all liberals and socialists, while Trump is a man of the people and on their side.

Yes, there are those who can talk all day about Pareto Efficient systems and zero-sum economics where my dollar means one dollar less for someone else but I can’ and I don’t see that such things apply to coats, cold winters, and the real world.

The problem with poor people and coats doesn’t, in my opinion, stem from the rarity of coat materials, but the uneven distribution of opportunities to make money. Yes, Bernie, I was listening.

This is a lot of words to get around to suggesting that what passes for political conviction in many people and many loud and angry people is simply jealousy and ambition and greed; and that a lot of well-dressed rhetoric is a coat intended to keep selfish and deceptive argument warm and safe and out of the rain.

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Posted by on January 8, 2018. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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3 Responses to A Coat of Many Colors: Bashing Bernie Sanders

  1. Bobbie Peel Reply

    January 8, 2018 at 11:24 am

    According to what I read on the internet, so it must be true, Bernie and his wife have a net worth of about $800,000, which would make him one of the poorer senators. That amount of net worth is not an unreasonable amount for a couple at their time of life with a busy work history. Perhaps if he looked disheveled and scruffy like Bannon he might please Newsweek.

  2. Paul Burns Reply

    January 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    I’m not a Bernie fan but I do find Newsweek’s criticism unwarranted. I don’t consider $700 a lot of money for a good coat. Now I guess that makes me a rich guy.

  3. Lyndon Probus Reply

    January 8, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Well studied and begs the question “when is a coat just a coat?”

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