Election Day: It’s All About the People
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Election Day: It’s All About the People
By Bob Gatty
Go to a political rally and you’ll hear impassioned speeches, promises, plans for the future, and warnings of disaster if change isn’t made. But when election day comes, it’s all about the people.
Jennifer Miculski, a veteran, showed up at a rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders on Feb. 26 with her therapy dog, Bubbles, to support the senator because she believes “he is the future of America.”
But there is much more to her story and why she attended the rally at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center with what looked like a couple thousand other supporters – or potential supporters.
Miculski, who immigrated from Vietnam in 1975, suffers from PTSD resulting from her military service, which is why Bubbles was with her. But that’s only part of her story, too.
Here are her words:
“I like him (Sanders) for a whole bunch of reasons, but primarily for health care. My husband and I lost everything we had three years ago. He had a heart attack and a year later had another heart attack and a stroke. We lost everything. We couldn’t get him Medicaid. Of course, he wasn’t approved for Medicare. We fought for almost two years to get him Medicare. We went through our savings because we are proud.”
Ultimately, Miculski went to local community organizations for help, including low income housing. “Because we were homeless.”
So now, Miculski supports Sanders, with his Medicare for All promise, and hopes that promise will become a reality in time to help her and her husband.
Another important promise from Sanders is his pledge to provide free college tuition because, as he maintains, nobody should be denied a higher education because they don’t have the money to pay for it.
Tiffany Fortier, of Myrtle Beach, is a young woman who currently works at Walmart, but who hopes for a better, more secure life. Bernie Sanders, she said, wants to help people “be able to go to school and not have to worry about money,” and because of his health care plans.
“I’ve never even thought about going to school,” she said. “What’s the point of thinking about going to school if you can’t afford it?”
Fortier said she will vote for the first time in the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary Saturday, Feb. 29, and it’s because of Bernie Sanders. “He’s the very first political person that I’ve ever actually understood what they were talking about that could possibly affect me personally on a daily basis.”
Would she actually take advantage of tuition free education?
“Yes, yes most definitely,” Fortier responded. “It would really, really brighten my future, more than likely.”
She pointed to her boyfriend, Tony Carusso, who she said had to drop out of school for lack of tuition money. Caruso said he wanted to “check out what Bernie Sanders is like,” but was attracted to his candidacy because of “the free tuition and the healthcare.”
In the audience, in a wheelchair holding a blue Bernie sign, was Sharon Black, of Conway, who explained, “I want to see Bernie win.”
“The health plan and all that kind of stuff.”
With Black was Ron Lord, of Myrtle Beach, who said he worked hard for Sanders in 2016 and is happy that many of his ideas and proposals have gained traction and are more “mainstream” today.
“I like the way Bernie is explaining what his positions are. I think it is very easy in politics these days for people to be misinformed, and think he’s trying to give them the straight scoop on where he stands and where our political system stands. It’s important.”
Another woman said she came to the rally because “Bernie is an amazing person. He’s spent his whole life making the world a better place. He seems like the best choice for future generations, and I want to see a good world for my kids and my grandson.”
Then, Sanders took the stage to wild applause and began to present that message; the one about the American people being tired of being ripped off by the drug companies, the health care industry and insurance companies, the need for Medicare for All and a war on climate change, a $15 per hour minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and protection of Medicare and Medicaid from Republican attacks.
He called for an end to “the war on drugs” and for legalization of marijuana, which he said he would do on his first day in office, while making it possible for minority companies to benefit from that legalization.
When it was over, Rita Cauthen, of Myrtle Beach, commented that President Trump must be defeated.
“The man is an idiot,” declared Cauthen. “He’s a total loser,” who she said wants to be a dictator. “We don’t need a dictator. We need somebody who’s going to bring our party together. We need a president who’s going to stand for the United States – the people of the United States and help us get insurance and not to be in poverty all the time, not the richest people, but the poor and the middle class.
“I think that Bernie has a good message to that.