Senator Bernie Sanders spoke yesterday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., a conservative Christian college founded by the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority movement.
Liberty University deserves credit for inviting Sanders, whose views on abortion, gay marriage and other subjects are opposed to what virtually call conservative Christians believe.
Sanders deserves credit for the respectful but unapologetic manner in which he addressed the students. Often when politicians go before a potentially hostile audience, they either talk down to its members or insult them, but don’t make an effort to convince.
Judging by the look of the audience, I don’t think Sanders changed many minds. Attendance at the student convocation was compulsory. A few students cheered him loudly, but most listened in polite silence.
Rod Dreher, a writer and blogger for The American Conservative, said he wished the Republicans had a candidate like Sanders who was on the side of the common people, but socially conservative.
I would vote for such a candidate rather than a socially liberal candidate who is aligned with Wall Street, the energy industry and the military-industrial-surveillance complex.
Bernie Sanders at Liberty University on C-SPAN. This version has the questions and answer period, which starts at about the 45-minute mark.
Bernie Sanders’ Liberty University speech, annotated, by Chris Cillizza for the Washington Post.
Liberty University students react to Bernie Sanders by Jessie Pounds for the News and Advance of Lynchburg.
Bernie Sanders @ Liberty by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.
I agree with Bernie Sanders, but if I were a convinced conservative, I would not have been persuaded by his speech.
The moderator said: All these goals are good, but are they feasible and who is going to pay for them?
I think there are answers to these questions, Sanders didn’t give them and probably it wasn’t possible to give them in the time allotted.
I don’t criticize Sanders for not being able to change settled convictions in an hour. His basic message was that he and the Liberty University conservatives are not enemies, but merely fellow Americans who disagree. To the extent that he conveyed that to the students (and to his supporters), he did well.
Also – how could I have failed to notice this? – Sanders had nothing to say about working for peace, a subject which should be of interest to Christians.
Click on What Bernie Sanders Talks About When He Talks About War by Sam Husseini for Counterpunch for a comment about this.