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Time for Sanders to “Feel the Bern” After Debate Misstep

Alex Thomas
Staff Writer

Throughout the race to the White House, we have had controversy. Whether it has been Hilary Clinton and her email scandal or Donald Trump and his antics, the news cycle simply hasn’t stopped with most of these candidates. To this point, Bernie Sanders hasn’t had any scandal surrounding him. That’s not a really surprising point to me because even though I don’t agree with his views, he seems like a respectable person who believes what he says and isn’t corrupt. That being said, what he said on Sunday night struck me the wrong way and I’m astounded it isn’t being talked about more.

Seriously, what was said and the lack of media coverage surrounding it is one of the most stunning things I have seen in this race as of late. When Donald Trump says something absurd, which seems like a weekly thing, he gets the gears from the media and just about everyone on Facebook. Bernie makes comments about white people and the ghetto and mental illness and it’s all quiet. Quite hypocritical if you ask me.

What exactly was said? Let’s take a look back at the Democratic Debate which took place on Sunday night in the reeling community of Flint, Michigan. “You know, we are, if elected President, going to invest a lot of money into mental health. And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in that.” Wait a second here, hold on, did he just essentially imply that the Republican candidates are going at each other because of mental illness? That’s kind of a bold statement, is it not? From this angle, and I’m not the only that thinks this, Senator Sanders is using mental illness as a joke against the Republican candidates. He is implying they have mental disabilities that force them to bicker and fight when debating with each other.

I don’t care who you support in this election, what he said was wrong and it should be met with the same kind of backlash that Donald Trump’s situation regarding mental illness was met with. Remember, earlier in his campaign, Trump openly mocked a reporter with a disability. He was, and rightfully so, bashed for the gesture and still has not lived that down. Bernie Sanders should be bashed for this statement as well, just because he appears to be a nicer guy does NOT mean he should be let off the hook for this comparison. It was wrong and it needs to be addressed. Mental illness is not a punchline, but unfortunately multiple candidates have used it during this campaign.

That wasn’t the only thing Sanders misspoke on and got away with. Later on in the debate, he uttered the following statement, which read: “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” Well, here we have another poorly communicated statement that, on the surface, is implying something. Are we saying all African Americans are poor and live in ghettos and that white people don’t experience that at all? If so, we know that that is an incorrect assumption.

Yes, African Americans do experience a higher poverty rate and that is an issue that needs to be fixed in this country. In no way am I saying that things are equal, we know they unfortunately are not, but not all African Americans live in ghettos, in fact a majority do not. On top of that, we know that all white people are not rich and that there are poor white people and whites who live in ghettos. This was an inaccurate statement that riled a lot of people up and, quite frankly, looks bad on the Senator from Vermont. This quote shows a shallow knowledge of the topic (not surprising considering he governed a state which African Americans make up 1.2% of the population as per the Washington Post) and can come off as offensive to both sides being talked about here.

For the last few months, we have seen the media, and at times rightfully so, crush the Republican candidates for things that they said in debates. On Sunday night, Bernie Sanders had a few big time missteps and yet those same exact people, those same media outlets, were dead silent. Let’s not kid ourselves people, what was said here was wrong and Sanders should fall under the exact microscope that Clinton, Trump, Rubio and Cruz fall under when they speak. Sanders should be feeling some sort of Bern for these comments.

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