Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
To the editor:
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump share something fundamental in their remarkable popularity. They have glaring differences, but the people who support them hear one thing in common: an authentic voice.
They hear someone who stays true to his own values, who is not beholden to powerful interest groups, not scripted or packaged by anyone but the candidate himself, not afraid to say exactly what he thinks.
Their popularity says something about us as voters, about our hunger for candidates in whom we can sense a deep, "unbought" authenticity. We want to trust that our candidates will be fearless in their expression of the truth as they see it.
But once we acknowledge this similarity, the next step is the important one. Sheer authenticity is not enough. We need to ask what our candidates are being authentic about.
Both Trump and Sanders are angry. But while Trump is angry about America's weakness, as if it were a personal affront, Sanders is angry that forces of systemic greed have prevented us from dealing equitably with our own people.
Because Trump sees threats everywhere, he believes in expressions of power and control. He will build a gigantic wall on our south, prevent all Muslims from entering our county, and bulk up our military so that we can project the intimidating force he thinks we need to keep ourselves on top.
Sanders looks instead through the eyes of compassion. He sees that the quality of life has declined for too many Americans, as they struggle with low pay, limited opportunities, and the high expense of health care and education ? while massive profits continue, out of all proportion, to roll up to institutions and individuals at the very top. He sees that we are the only major nation that has not yet admitted that health care for all citizens is a basic right.
Both men feel disdain. Trump has disdain for anyone who is different or disagrees with him. He throws even silent protestors out of his rallies. He has maligned minorities and women. Sanders' disdain is reserved for the "billionaire class" and the politicians and big banks who serve it, for nearly destroying our economy eight years ago, and rigging the system against the interests of ordinary working people.
Support for either of these front runners must not be based just on how strong or authentic they sound. It must be based on the particular issues and values that they are authentically, passionately concerned about. The Iowa Caucus is our chance to stand up and tell the nation which set of values we share.
? Thom Krystofiak, Fairfield