There were several memorable moments during the GOP debate, mostly at the expense of the media. I don’t usually agree with the Republicans, but I do think they have a point on all the gotcha questions they faced in the first and third debates. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed them, and even personally think the candidates deserved what they got. But I do agree we would all be better served if we had debates on the issues.
There is a case to be made that if the candidates are running negative campaigns, like most Republicans are, they deserve to be called out. Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson … had memorable moments calling out the media during the 3rd Republican debate, but the candidate for president who had the best moment of the night was Bernie Sanders.
No, it wasn’t on Twitter, where he shined during the first two debates of the clown car. This time it was on stage at George Mason University. Bernie was holding a national student town hall meeting. A question came from an American Muslim student who said she wants to change the world. Bernie called her up on stage and gave her a hug and then gave a very personal response.
George Mason University senior Remaz Abdelgader asked Senator Sanders how he would deal with the rising tide of Islamophobia in the country she loves.
“With the growing Islamophobia in this country if you look at the Republican candidates feeding into their constituents and constantly bashing Muslims in the media, Ben Carson and Donald Trump, the biggest bigots. As an American Muslim student who aspires to change the world — (Applause) (Hug from Bernie)
“Thank you. As an American Muslim student who aspires to change the world, currently majoring in international conflict resolution, and I hope to be a human rights attorney. Hearing the rhetoric that’s going on in the media makes me sick. I as an individual am constantly trying to raise awareness and make sure that everyone is treated equally in this country. As our next president of the United States, what do you think about that?” (Bernie took Remaz’s hand and walked backed to the podium with her.)
Bernie then responded:
“I’m Jewish. My father’s parents were killed in concentration camps. I will do everything I can to rid this country of the ugly stain of racism, which has existed far too many years. Let me tell you something: what racism is about is many things, it is pent up hatred that is lashing out at people in uncontrollable stupid ways, but it is something very different than that. For many years in this country you have had politicians, and I’m old enough to know this, who played black off against white, so they told white workers who were earning pennies an hour, they said hey, you think you’re in trouble, but you’re better off than the blacks, who can’t drink at a water fountain or go to your school, and they told straight people, well you think you’ve got problems, but you’re better off than those gay people, right? And they played men against women. We played one group off against another. The rich got richer and everybody else is fighting with each other.
“Our job is to build a nation in which we all stand together as one people. [Applause] And you are right, there is a lot of anger being generated and hatred being generated against Muslims and immigrants in this country, and if we stand for anything we have got to stand together and end all forms of racism, and I will lead that effort as President of the United States.”
Bernie then gave Remaz another hug as thousands of students gave a standing ovation.
If you watch the mainstream media today, you will see Jeb Bush attack Marco Rubio for not showing up for enough votes in the Senate. You will see Chris Christie tell the moderator that his interruptions are rude even by New Jersey standards. You will see Ted Cruz slam the moderators for asking gotcha questions instead of questions with substance, you will see Jeb bush offering a big warm kiss to any Democrat who will cut spending, and the best line of the debate, you’ll see Chris Christie listing the important issues facing the country, and asking why they were talking about fantasy football.
Nothing in the two hour Republican debate was as important as the moment at the Bernie Sanders student town hall. But I’m guessing you won’t see it on CNN.
The whole Sanders town hall can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up46s_gb7PY
Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.