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Friday, June 10, 2016

The Man in the Moon

I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with our country. It can be summed up by today’s Huffington Post headline “Bernie Sanders Gives a Speech Divorced from Reality.” The writer can’t understand why Bernie Sanders is continuing to campaign in the Washington, DC primary after the media and prominent Democrats like President Obama have anointed Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

He glosses over the word “presumptive”. The fact is, there will be no Democratic nominee until one is selected at the party’s convention next month. Neither candidate received enough pledged delegates to win the nomination through primary votes. The winner will be decided by the super delegates at the convention. Since the super delegates are all Establishment politicians, they will likely vote for Clinton. But there’s the rub: “likely” doesn’t mean definitely. Anything can happen between now and then to cause them to change their minds, or something could happen to remove the candidate from the race: Ed Muskie, Thomas Eagleton, and Bobby Kennedy were all expected to be on the Democratic party’s ticket in their respective races. It’s unlikely that the current FBI criminal investigation will come to a head before the Democratic convention, but if it did, super delegates might have to rethink their position.

It’s a long shot. But it’s not impossible. Gerald Ford became president of the United States without anyone voting for him to hold that office. Talk about a long shot. For that to happen, the vice president had to resign due to a tax fraud scandal (the first time a vice president had ever resigned), Ford had to be chosen as the new vice president, and then the president had to resign (an event unprecedented in American history). But it happened.

JFK looked at the stars and promised to put a man on the moon within the decade, something deemed impossible throughout mankind’s history. In 1969, American Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

In the darkest hours of World War II the allies did not accept reality and surrender to the Nazis. They fought on. The tide of battle turned and they won.

The Greatest Generation – individuals who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II – didn’t view the world through a prism of defeatism. They faced tremendous adversity but they did not give up. They weren’t quitters. They personified the word “perseverance” and when the going got tough, they simply got tougher. When told they couldn’t, they tapped into the same energy and enthusiasm that Barack Obama channeled decades later and said “Yes We Can!”

Perseverance and dogged determination against overwhelming odds is what’s led to some of the greatest individual and national achievements and accomplishments in American history. It is the source of American Exceptionalism – America itself was an experiment in democracy the world had never seen and most did not expect to last. These are qualities Bernie Sanders brings with him from his generation. They should not be mocked by the Huffington Post or others; they should be emulated by all Americans because the way to succeed and to get things done is not by giving up – it’s by persevering against the odds until you no longer can. This isn’t a case of Don Quixote tilting at windmills; it’s more like looking up at the man in the moon and realizing, sometimes there really is a man on the moon.

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