Bernie Represents a Clear Break From the Centrist Orthodoxy

I will be writing for The Bern Report to provide a variety of insights for citizens that I obtained over the past decade as an elected official, Democratic Party official and former Chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

The election of 2016 is far from over; however the media and the establishment pundits will be sounding a drumbeat after Super Tuesday that the primary is over.

They will try to convince the rest of America that after a few caucuses and primaries, ironically held in a number of states that will not even be in play this fall for the blue team, that there is no need to consider any alternative to Secretary Clinton as the standard bearer for the party this fall.

The drumbeat will likely depress voter turnout in future Democratic Primaries as certain elements in the media and punditocracy incessantly clamor for a potential fall battle between Clinton and Trump.

I say enough is enough.

Bernie’s campaign is about exposing how Citizens United and the subsequent McCutcheon decision have undermined democracy in our country and why we must press the Move to Amend.

His campaign is about highlighting the growing wealth and income inequality in our country and educating the people on how Neo-liberal economic policies begun under President Reagan and solidified under President Clinton have effectively created a society of the 0.1% the 1% and the rest of us.

It is about tapping into the second bill of rights that FDR presented to the American people on January 11, 1944 and remembering that we are the party of the New Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society.

We need to attend Democratic party precinct meetings in our own communities, flood the Democratic Party county conventions where we live, and attend the Party’s State Conventions in our own states to ensure that attendees hear Bernie’s message and understand its meaning.

Simply put, the values of the Sanders campaign are not a one off proposition.

We must be prepared to win the battle of ideas in our communities followed up by consistent turn out for every single election.

This means that we must constructively engage our neighbors and local leaders and vote in local, state, and federal elections.

Senator Sanders is presenting a new vision for America that is built upon the durable values and foundation of what we consider to be quintessentially American: justice, opportunity, equality, community, and fairness.

While it is laudable for Secretary Clinton to attempt to become the first woman elected as the President of the United States, it more important to consider the values and modus operandi of her present campaign, her past leadership, and the successes and failures of the Clinton Administration.

In the 21st Century we now have the luxury to step away from from simply endorsing bold identity politics and ask for a candidate to account for their values, their votes and their actions as well.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his letter from the Birmingham jail in April of 1963 to answer the critiques of clergy leaders in the south who called his activities “unwise and untimely”. King’s letter was in part a repudiation of complacency and negotiated incrementalism regarding Civil Rights and desegregation.  Dr. King had a vision and he clearly understood that social justice and change required consistent community engagement focused toward periodic leaps forward such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Today in the Democratic Presidential primary we are confronted with a choice between one candidate, Secretary Clinton, who has made her case in part based upon negotiated incremental improvements to the status quo, while we have another candidate who is willing to speak truth to power and advocate for a vision that is a real leap forward for America.

The chattering class and their associates who benefit from the status quo are no different from the eight high placed clergy members who chastised Dr. King for being “unwise and untimely” in his efforts to advance civil rights.

The issues may be different, but the stakes cannot be higher.

Senator Sanders is the right choice at the right time and like Dr. King he recognizes that complacency in the face of economic and democratic injustice is effectively an endorsement of the status quo of America today.

We are fighting for the soul of America of today and tomorrow and in essence that is the Revolution that Senator Sanders has invoked.

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Randolph Voller

Randolph “Randy” Voller is the former Chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party and the Chatham County Democratic Party as well as a four-term mayor of Pittsboro, NC. Randy has provided leadership on several local, regional, and state boards including as chairman of the Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization, and membership on the boards of the NC Housing Finance Agency, Advanced Energy Corporation, the North Carolina Juvenile Justice Grants Committee, the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation , the Chatham County Affordable Housing Task Force and Solid Waste Advisory Board, among others. Randy is a Leadership Triangle Goodmon Fellow, a 2010 Marshall Memorial Fellow (GMF) and a 1991 graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington with a degree in History, a minor in East Asian Studies and a member of the honors program. He also participated in the Latino Initiative with the UNC Center for International Understanding in 2010 and was twice named a "Home Town Hero" by WCHL. In 2009 Voller received the Carl E. Thompson distinguished service award from the Chatham County Human Relations Commission, and in 2013 the West Chatham NAACP awarded Voller their Humanitarian Service Award along with Chatham County’s School Superintendent, Robert Logan. Voller grew up in Northwest Indiana with his father Lot, his mother Viktoria, sisters Meredith and Cynthia and maternal grandfather Harry Danning. He is a graduate of Andrean High School and has resided in North Carolina since 1991. He lives in Pittsboro with his wife Lesley Landis and their chocolate labrador Karma.

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