Bernie’s “establishment” quote

On Rachel Maddow’s show, Bernie Sanders referred to several organizations that had just endorsed Hillary Clinton as “the establishment”, thereby triggering a severe episode of hyperventilation. I am no mind reader, but I think that what was meant was that these organizations are “big players”. In a game of chess, they would be kings and queens rather than pawns. This does not in any way devalue the causes they support. On women’s reproductive rights and women’s health in general, we trust Planned Parenthood. On LGBT issues, many follow Human Rights Campaign. Sierra Club is one of the go-to environmental organizations. These organizations have become household names. In that sense, yes, they are the establishment. The word itself does not necessarily have to be pejorative or mean “stodgy pudding”.

We must guard against twisting the words we use in political discourse. We have allowed “liberal” to be used as a club against us by some in the Republican party. In the same way, the word “elite” is now used mostly as a synonym to “snooty”. I want my president, as well as any elected official to belong to the intellectual elite, the compassion elite, the “mensch” elite. Take that, dictionary-phobes!


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