Letter: In defense of Bernie Sanders

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To the Editor:I believe adamantly in a free press and its obligation to impartially report and give air to opposing views on any issue. For this reason, I refrain from personally addressing anyone expressing convictions antithetical to mine. However, the intellectual dishonesty in Don Keelan's article, "All in the Family" (MJ 7/14/17) demands response.For the 21 years I've been in Vermont, reading the Manchester Journal, and appearing in it with some regularity, Don Keelan has regularly expressed his distaste for Bernie Sanders. I understand why: Don is a staunch advocate of "free market" capitalism, and Bernie, the socialist, espouses the diametric opposite. Fine - let the theoretical wars rage. But when Keelan retreats from the theoretical and launches an ad hominem attack on Bernie by concocting a vacuous comparison with him and Donald Trump - as he did in the cited article - the disingenuousness is so appalling as to invite reprimand .Says Don, "the Senator [Sanders] and his family have emulated the Trumps in so many ways" - such as bringing family into their political orbits, and amassing some property - as if Bernie's amassing is in any way comparable to the Trump fortune. Bernie was born in Brooklyn to a family of very modest means. Any assets he has scrapped together since are through his own efforts. Donald Trump inherited a fortune from his father - part of which came from a big Brooklyn housing project closed to Jewish people like Bernie.Bernie, as everyone knows, began his career of serving the people while still in college - and has continued it to this day. Until becoming president, Trump never served anyone other than himself - and it's questionable whether he is even now serving anyone else. While Bernie, as mayor of Burlington, was preserving the Lake Champlain waterfront for the people by preventing its development by and for the wealthy, Trump was cashing in on every bit of upscale real estate and building he could put his name on - including his golf clubs where membership runs into multiple thousands of dollars, thereby excluding the majority of society. Today, Bernie is fighting to bring universal health care to the people, while Trump is determined to end coverage for over 22 million citizens - many of them poor people who depend upon Medicaid. Then there's the unassailable honesty of Bernie and the pathological lying of Donald Trump - so extreme that not even members of his own party believe anything he says.Not to acknowledge the profound differences between Bernie and Trump - the antithetical positions they advocate as well as their antipodal characters - and to tar Bernie with Trump's name by making fraudulent comparisons, is utterly invidious. In quoting the attorney Joseph Welch in addressing right-wing Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1954 Senate McCarthy hearings, I ask Don Keelan, "Have you no sense of decency, Sir?Andrew TorreLondonderry


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