Bernie Sanders and Paid Family and Medical Leave

With all of our attention being paid to the COVID 19 crisis, the Democratic primaries have become an afterthought for many people. Joe Biden has been winning more delegates and he’ll probably get the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for President. Unless Bernie Sanders is able to win over a significant portion of the African American vote in the next few weeks, I don’t think Sanders will win the nomination. Even with that said, though, I still want Bernie Sanders to stay in the primaries until the Democratic convention.

The reason that I want Bernie Sanders to stay in the race is simple: if there’s ever been a perfect time to have a national dialogue on such progressive ideas as universal health care, universal child care, paid sick leave, housing for the poor and the homeless, this COVID 19 crisis is that time. This Coronavirus crisis has shown in stark relief the importance of access to health care, childcare, and housing for the poor and the middle class. Ever since Ted Kennedy died in 2009, there has been no more prominent voice for progressive causes than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Sander from the more radical Left and Warren from the more traditional liberal Democratic side. Joe Biden’s only message to voters is that he is the candidate able to defeat Trump. As long as Sanders is in the race, he can keep progressive issues like universal health care, housing and universal childcare in the national dialogue.

There are many progressive friends who probably think I have a defeatist attitude towards Sanders. My first choice for a candidate was Warren, not Sanders, so I don’t have as much emotionally invested in Sanders. But I don’t necessarily think a progressive candidate has to win in order for progressive ideas to win. If a progressive candidate can push the political center of the U.S. to the Left, that will push moderates to the Left.

Look at how past progressive candidacies have influenced the general public to accept progressive ideas. The Bernie Sanders campaign of 2016. Jesse Jackson’s 1988 and 1984 campaigns. Ted Kennedy’s 1980 campaign. George McGovern’s 1972 campaign. Robert F. Kennedy’s and Eugene McCarthy’s campaigns in 1968. Henry Wallace’s 1948 campaign. Teddy Roosevelt’s and Eugene Debs 1912 campaigns.

Even though these progressive candidates did not win, they were able to persuade the general public to accept progressive ideas that had once been considered radical. The 8 hour work day. Ending child labor. Women’s suffrage. Social Security and Medicare for the elderly. Civil rights for African Americans and for all minorities. Dismantling segregation laws in the South. Opposing unjust wars. The direct election of Senators. Campaign finance laws. LGBTQ equality. Equal pay for equal work for women. Equal opportunties for those with disabilities. Workplace safety laws. The right to collective bargaining.

Here is Vox video essay arguing for the necessity of paid sick leave.

In most developed countries, workers have the right to a certain number of paid sick days. It’s a policy that isn’t rooted in just generosity — during pandemics like the novel coronavirus, it can literally save lives.

When workers have to choose between earning a living and staying home sick, it incentivizes them to come to work when they’re ill, and potentially infect their colleagues and anyone else they come into contact with. That’s why public health officials are concerned that millions of American workers don’t have access to paid sick days. And a disproportionate share of those workers are concentrated in occupations like food service and hospitality, where there’s potential to infect the hundreds of customers many of them interact with every day.

In January 8, 2016 Bernie Sanders gives an in-depth discussion of instituting paid family and medical leave for all Americans. He supported 2016 legislation by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to expand paid family and medical leave.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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2 Responses to Bernie Sanders and Paid Family and Medical Leave

  1. I agree that Bernie Sanders have opened the health care discussion. However,The cost for Sanders’ Medicare for all would break the government bank more than it is now. Also, Sanders hs the word “Socialist” attached to his name. That would scare many people who hear “communism” when they hear “socialism.”

    Take care of yourself. Stay safe.

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