What do Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis have in common?

The answer: Dorothy Day, the Catholic social activist and anathema of the Right.

The pope mentioned her as an extraordinary American along with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King (no, not Martin Luther, Martin Luther King) and Thomas Merton.

Bernie Sanders was thrilled that the pontiff mentioned Ms. Day:

“The name Dorothy Day has not been used in the United States Congress terribly often,” said Sanders in a short interview. “She was a valiant fighter for workers, was very strong in her belief for social justice, and I think it was extraordinary that he cited her as one of the most important people in recent American history. This would be one of the very, very few times that somebody as radical as Dorothy Day was mentioned.”…

Whoa! When Bernie Sanders calls you a radical, even though he means it in a good way, watch out!

By the way, when I saw the Reuters picture on the page linked above, I once again had that disconnect I have every time I see Al Franken — I immediately think this must be an SNL spoof, not the actual U.S. Congress. Sitting there in his suit, he looks like he’s mocking Senators, not being one.

But maybe that’s just me…


8 thoughts on “What do Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis have in common?

  1. Doug ross

    After looking at that photo, I can’t understand why young people are not interested in politics. Oh wait, yes I can. At first I thought it was a promo shot for The Walking Dead.

  2. bud

    Whoa! When Bernie Sanders calls you a radical, even though he means it in a good way, watch out!

    Only in today’s ultra conservative America could a self-professed swing voter imply someone as sensible as Bernie Sanders is radical. What is radical about this man? He’s simply pointing out many things that are painfully and tragically obvious. Do we have the most expensive health care system in the world? Are we the only nation in the developed world that has a significant numbers of it’s citizens not covered by health insurance? Is income inequality among the highest in the world and rising toward gilded age levels? Is it now conventional wisdom that the war in Iraq was a huge mistake? Don’t most climate scientists recognize the existence and dangers of global warming and the need to address it? Has the minimum wage failed to keep up with inflation? Is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment?
    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And Yes. Would the Pope answer yes to all of these questions? Dang right he would. And so would Bernie Sanders.

    1. Barry

      Bernie’s a radical.

      He nails some of the problems – those are fairly obvious. His prescription for some of those problems is what makes Bernie a radical- a well deserved title.

      and of course he won’t win.

  3. Pam Wilkins

    A few thoughts:

    Like Bernie Sanders, I was thrilled at the mention of Dorothy Day (and, for that matter, of Thomas Merton). Thomas Merton was probably one of my favorite authors ever–you should see the tattered cover of my copy of Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander! And like her or not, Dorothy Day was one of the toughest and fiercest advocates for the poor that this country has ever known.

    But I have to confess I don’t really think Bernie Sanders is really all that “out there.” He’s opposed to Citizens United. He wants a big public/private partnership to rebuild the nation’s worn-out infrastructure. He’s in favor of a single-payer healthcare system. He believes corporations shouldn’t be able to avoid taxes. And so forth. These proposals are certainly left of center in the United States, but they wouldn’t raise eyebrows in Canada or most countries in Europe. Yes, he calls himself a socialist. So what? In my view, that’s way better than being, say, an Ayn Rand devotee. Egads.

  4. Barry

    Bernie won’t win and that’s a good thing.

    His “plan” isn’t really a plan. It’s a list of things he’d like to do. More specifically, it’s a list of things he’d like to spend money on. He leaves out how much things would cost (like free college tuition for some 12.2 million college students under the age of 25 – and another 8 million over the age of 25).

    Few serious proposals recommend such an approach. Proposals more serious (and detailed) than Bernie’s have been out there for years – ones that would give grants to students that want to major in engineering, math, science, and some health professions. Some of these are actually in place now in many states.

    He’s been silent on how much he wants to raise taxes- but has promised to do so – and do it in a fairly big way.

    Even left of center economic policy centers like the Center for Economic Policy and Research has said Bernie’s tax ideas may not work like he intends.

    He wants to implement protectionist trade policies and talks openly about it – and again- many smart folks don’t think that’s necessarily a good idea in practice.

    “any kind of protectionism would end up costing the entire country a lot more,” said Robert Shapiro, a senior fellow at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.

    “The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher

  5. Karen Pearson

    I think the Pope’s mention of Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day was great! Merton gave me the first insights into what it meant to lead a contemplative religious life. Dorothy Day was a shining example of someone willing to work hard for the people Jesus called for us to care for, despite the insults and humiliations she faced in her day. She was a fighter!

    1. Barry

      Day was very unique. I have really never known much about her – but she was a true servant for sure.

      “The answer: Dorothy Day, the Catholic social activist and anathema of the Right.”

      maybe on some issues- but her call for morality- especially her extreme disgust at the sexual immorality around her would certainly endear her to some on the right that take such issues seriously as part of their faith (as opposed to some of the politicians that just talk about it to win votes).

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