12 December 2010
What words can one possibly add to Senator Bernie Sanders' epic not-really-a-filibuster this past Friday? Since it went on for eight and a half hours, not much. No doubt that it was a terrific piece of political theater, unlikely to shape any substantive policy (but for the purest example of political theater imaginable, see Bill Clinton's appearance in the White House briefing room at approximately the same time). I am however, utterly disappointed in the lack of media coverage the speech attracted after the fact. For one rare moment, Senator Sanders managed to break through the corporate PR-speak talking points that have become the stock in trade of both political parties, and spoke the truth to power about the miserable inequality and injustice in the American political and economic system. If you missed the speech (broadcast live and in its entirety on CSPAN, which practically guarantees that everyone missed it), and gathered your news from the 24-hour cable networks and a couple of prominent national newspapers the next day, you would hardly have been able to detect any trace that someone had given a speech that lasted almost the entire workday of most Americans. Where was the thoughtful analysis of Sanders' bold claims? Where was the counter-evidence? Is the system really as bad as he says it is? Or is he just some old crank rattling off a bunch of misleading and meaningless figures? As with all stories that don't quite fit with the media's preferred simple left-and-right narrative, or which discomfits the corporate overlords, it is best that such things are simply forgotten, now and forever.