Bernie Town Hall Tonight: Changing The Narrative Again By Using His Platform To Give People's Stories A Chance to Be Heard Where Corporate Media Utterly Fails

This is gonna be quick. I just remembered that Bernie Sanders is holding another one of his excellent town halls tonight. This one is called "CEO's vs. Workers."

Before the negativity comes in, let me say clearly that this isn't a Bernie is our savior bit or arguing for electoral salvation or whatever. It's simply a recognition of someone with a platform putting in the time to make sure these stories are seen and documented for posterity, despite whatever limitations inherent in the broadcast's reach. I see this as highly commendable - and potent.

The story here that made me turn on the computer and hit "new essay" was from a young woman working for Disneyland in Anaheim, who tells of how brutal it is trying to survive on $12 an hour, having to cram roommates in to barely make the rent.

Then she mentions that some of her co-workers are living in their cars. Many have lost their homes and/or living in motels. There's also a Tent City, which extends to a larger Orange County problem, where more Disney co-workers are living. One of here co-workers was so ashamed of her situation that she told nobody that she was living in her car - and went missing and later found dead in it. She then admits a great fear of losing her home, saying there are no resources to be found if you're in that position. (Her story begins around the 18min mark).

Quite frankly, it's fucking heartbreaking and angering to listen to these people humbly tell their stories to the public without shame.

People in this country are not hearing these stories. And because of it, are easily kept distracted by corporate media manufactured controversy and divide and conquer by partisan ideologues. They're not having their own realities reflected back to them; are instead bred to be in a constant state of fear about things that don't effect their everyday lives and led to believe relatively inconsequential things are more important than fundamental ones that do effect their daily lives.

Every one of these Bernie townhalls (I've seen two others) have been riveting. This guy is single-handedly trying to give a platform to marginalized and dispossessed voices. Nothing like this ever gets on tv. Anytime there's a corporate attempt to do something similar it's a highly controlled, stilted affair. His are the opposite.

To me this is an example of how to change the narrative, which is the linchpin to everything. Why can't we get more people at a quicker pace to align themselves in solidarity to what we think and espouse here? Because there isn't a forum for the downtrodden, the castaways, the ripped off, the overworked and underpaid, the isolated, to tell their stories on a large scale. When people here stories firsthand there is a much better chance of building the kid of empathy and compassion at the heart of forming coalitions and/or support for those outside of one's life's station or class.

Of course it's all relative. And Bernie, despite being the most popular politician by far, doesn't have the reach of CNN. But it is something. And if this could inspire more of these types of panel discussion that dignify the working class it could revolutionize how narratives
get built.

This is the difference between people reading about this stuff and moving on, and having to look into the eyes of the afflicted and being moved to act.

If this can't work on the American public to rile up indignation and compassion we're completely hopeless.

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Mark from Queens's picture

Simply put, firsthand stories are so potent. He's really onto something with these townhalls giving folks the opportunity to speak their truth. No pundits, annoying talking heads, slick stage set.

No matter what you think of him, there's nobody in politics who comes close to what he's done to change the narrative. He continues to impact and expand it to include the real issues of people's lives (lack of healthcare, joblessness, being underpaid and overworked, etc.) that are completely ignored by the MSM.

Change The Narrative. Propaganda. What is the public corralled into talking about next? Almost always something to distract from how bad things really are.

23 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


- Kurt Vonnegut

k9disc's picture

I'm still having problems with Bernie.

I do believe in the personal stories angle. It is powerful stuff.

I'm afraid that anything but heels dug-in pushback on the Russia angle is going to be the death of the Republic.

@Mark from Queens

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

@k9disc but the bottom line is that he freed the American people from the notion that only candidates with boatloads of money from TPTB can win.

That notion has had a stranglehold on politics for decades.

Now we all know that a candidate can be funded by smaller donations.

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k9disc's picture

look at Bernie's actions through that lens for a bit. See if he looks any different.

Had he not bought into the Russia thing, I would completely feel differently, but he allowed the Establishment to roll him and then use him and Putin to recover.

What we have not entertained as an idea is what happens when he gets in? How easy will it be for the media and the spooks to Drumpf him? I also would expect the banksters and businesses to slag the economy to harm him.

I expected this during the primaries, and was worried about it, but I trusted his guts and instincts and his resistance to toeing the Establishment Line. I mean, look what he did in the Primaries...

But then he flipped and let them cheat him then bought into Russia, when he knows damn well it was our political Establishment who cheated HIM out of the election.


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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

@k9disc he deserves super-duper huge credit for cracking that fundraising nut.

We now know that small money is ready for the right candidates, and it will be enough to take on the big money candidates.

(As to Bernie's future as an elected candidate, who knows. I am glad he continues to energetically promote his ideas)

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Pricknick's picture

But Burnme is not.
Once again he refuses to broadcast the spectacle of american political corruption while laying the blame on russia.

Rather than make clear that interference in our elections is unacceptable, Trump instead accepted Putin’s denials and cast doubt on the conclusions of our intelligence community. This is not normal.

I will never link anything on twitter so read if you must.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick is the phrase "This is not normal." We are a fascist state, and it IS normal, just as the kidnapping and torturing small children by Trump's Gestapo is normal. (We might want to do something about it?)

Ditto Trump's obsequious ass kissing of Putin in Helsinki, proving he is a Russian asset the same way Frank Burns (on MASH) was a North Korean asset.

Bernie, however, points out the obvious (or what would be obvious if anyone cared to look), that even "blue states" hide an economic hellscape. Obama's bailout of the banks and reinflation of the housing bubble enriched the One Percent but left everyone else behind. Those who can't afford $750,000 crap shacks either end up homeless or get stuck with hours-long commutes to reach their jobs. Here in Portland we have so many tent cities you would think you stepped back into the 1930s.

Welcome to Hell. Maybe Bernie and others can show us the way out. If only we listen this time.

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And PLEASE don't misunderstand me, I'm NOT dismissing their plight. I'm glad that someone is showing the desperation of people whose problems are NOT from their life choices i.e. prison, drugs, dropping out of High School.

Move to the Midwest. Housing is expensive here too, but $750,000 is a mansion. In my Chicago Suburb there are still houses under $150,000, usually small (1200-1500 sq ft) 1950's tract houses. There are 20 houses right now for sale between $250,000 and $300,000, quite nice houses built in the last thirty years. There are even 14 houses between $400,000 and $500,000 that look so upscale I can only dream about them (and dream of affording them). Illinois minimum wage is only $8.25 but even McDonald's is paying $12.
Taxes are regressive and horrendous. And the Weather sucks big time. But it's better than trying to live on $12 an hour in California.

The coasts are now only for the elite and their servants.

The weather is better in the South, but society and politics are extremely conservative.

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@SancheLlewellyn I'm sorry but come on now. As for this being normal you'd be correct but it surely wasn't only Trump that normalized this, it's been normalized for a long damned time but most simply don't look at it, especially when it's a "Democrat" at the helm with a pretty smiling face assuring us that everything will be fine as long as we play along with them.

Hell is already here but buying into that Russia crapola is a cop out - Russia didn't cut high end taxes repeatedly while the rest of the country went to shit. Russia didn't bail out the banks at taxpayer expense and tell the taxpayers to pound sand and STFU. Russia is not fighting wars for global domination all over the planet and it does not have almost 1000 foreign bases all over the world.

Can Bernie save us? He'd best get off that Russia crap as even he knows good and damned well that our continued "defense" budgets cannot continue alongside Medicare for All, etc, etc, etc. THAT is the elephant in the room that apparently even Bernie is simply not willing to address.

8 users have voted.

That part is disputable but the rest is absolutely correct.

Remember, in politics, whether local or global, there doesn't have to be a good guy and a bad guy. Most often there are two (or more) bad guys.

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@lizzyh7 After all, as with everything, the truth lies in the middle--in this case, between "Russia caused everything!" and "Putin is pure as driven snow." (If you can't trust a former KGB agent, whom can you trust?)

Now, counting on establishment Democrats to save us makes as much sense as counting on the Vorlons to save us from the Shadows (Babylon 5) or the Andalites to save us from the Yeerks (Animorphs). Oh me of little faith. But Putin ("How tragic; another of my opponents accidentally stepped off a forty story building") runs the world's largest Mafia and I fail to see how speaking Russian makes him a kinder, gentler billionaire thug.

From Mike Malloy's site today:

After today’s obscene taxpayer-funded Helsinki debacle there can be no doubt that Donald Trump is a Russian asset. Whether he is conscious of that fact will likely be revealed in coming weeks, but regardless, he is acting against his Constitutional duty to protect our nation from a foreign enemy who has attacked us.

What the hell more do you need? Do we have to wait until Putin marches troops into Seattle before we take action? Russian hacking and cyber attacks were as real an attack on our nation as the attack on Pearl Harbor. Putin now has everything he ever wanted thanks to this orange con artist. He sowed doubt in our most sacred institutions – our system of justice, our national defense, our electoral process – and he has the US President calling the European Union our “foe” and insulting our NATO allies.

And God only knows what they talked about in their latest secret 2+ hour private chat. They came out spouting identical talking points so they had enough time to rehearse, that was clear. With that Dominant/Submissive body language and Trump’s effusive praise and subservient head nodding, Putin might as well been shirtless and wielding a riding crop. Trump is his bitch all right. Best spanking since Stormy Daniels.

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@SancheLlewellyn torturing?


This comment is just another example of the trump hysteria that has taken over.

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@dfarrah As if he and his fascist minions didn't openly brag about snatching children from their parents?

Got your torture right here.

And here.

And the results here. And here.

ICE didn't start under Trump. It grew out of the Patriot Act and the Hitlerian-named "Department of Homeland Security." ICE has a history of sexual abuse of detainees on plenty of occasions, but it has reached a boil under Trump.

So, yea. Gestapo--short for "Secret State Police" in German. Except now they don't bother with secrecy. All of this prompted George Takei to say, "'At least during the internment' are words I thought I'd never utter."

Are we winning yet?

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smiley7's picture

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Raggedy Ann's picture

expressing what I also believe is Bernie’s intent. The deep state might be able to keep him from being president, but they have not yet silenced him. They ensure the msm doesn’t cover his town halls, but they are found and spread far and wide anyway.

When I was a manager, I would tell my employees that if I didn’t know something was broken, I couldn’t fix it. Bernie continues to publicize what is broken.

It is up to we, the people, to fix it through revolution. It’s the only way. Pleasantry

12 users have voted.

Women are human beings, not prey.
(I forgot where I read it although it might have been in The Intercept)

karl pearson's picture

I'm glad you posted this. Bernie is one of a handful of D.C. politicians that addresses the plight of the working poor. Most Democrats talk about the difficulties of the middle class since that's a "safe" topic.

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@karl pearson
Most of the working poor think they are lower middle class and not at all like welfare people. Often, they are the most conservative. It's easy to have that outlook when things are always going against you. Most haven't caught on that the Democrats are no longer their friends and haven't been for around half a century. Some realize that the Republicans never have been. Others think if one side (D) has a black hat the other (R) must have a white hat. They actually think that Trump is their friend. "If he's Hillary's enemy, he must be my friend."

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divineorder's picture

2 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

mhagle's picture

I agree that this is a great service that Bernie is doing for us! I wish he would speak against the Russia bullshit, but I know that in life you have to pick your battles. You just do.

He is fighting the good fight.

3 users have voted.


"Make dirt, not war." eyo