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Having compassion is not enough: Cincinnati feels the ‘Berne’

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Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at Walnut Hills High School. Photo by Celeste Kearney

Written by Celeste Kearney

Almost 1,000 people filled the Walnut Hills High School auditorium last Tuesday, August 29, to hear Senator Bernie Sanders talk about his most recent book, Bernie Sanders’ Guide to Political Revolution. Sanders said his book is aimed at the “younger generation” to inspire them “to stand up and fight.” The event was through a sponsorship with Joseph-Beth Booksellers.

Sanders received plenty of applause and several standing ovations as he discussed violence at political rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month. Sanders said, “Put yourself in the place of an African American family” who is being threatened by “white supremacists.” He said that the Black experience in America includes “racism and all forms of bigotry.”

Another hot topic was wealth distribution. Sanders said that the six richest families, such as the Walmart family of the Waltons, and the politically conservative Koch Brothers, have as much wealth as the poorest 3.7 billion people. Compared to 40 years ago, he said, the average American is working more hours but making less money. There is a possibility that the current generation will have a lower standard of living than their parents. Sanders spoke about the dire need to save the middle class in the United States.

When Sanders asked the audience what is the only industrialized country in the world that does not guarantee health care, the audience shouted, “We are!” Health care is a “human right regardless of income,” Sanders said. In November, the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act will be on the Ohio ballot. It attempts to lower the price that state agencies pay for prescription drugs. One in 10 Americans under the age of 65 cannot afford the medicine that doctors prescribe, yet drug companies are spent $130 million in Michigan to stop a similar bill. Sanders says this money would be better spent lowering the price of prescription drugs instead of on campaigning.

Sanders is an advocate of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. He also talked about what he called “a non-sexy topic”: the “crumbling infrastructure” across the country. Sanders believes in fixing these infrastructures in order to create more jobs.

Sanders ended with “real change never takes place from the top down,” it always occurs “from the bottom up.”

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