June 19, 2016

Bernie Sanders’ Cupcake Revolution & Why it’s Just Not Enough.

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*Editor’s Note: the below is opinion, and should be enjoyed in the spirit of communication, dialogue, listening and constructive criticism. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.


I love Bernie Sanders for many reasons, but primarily for his rallying cry for a revolution.

In history books, revolutions are depicted as vicious and bloody. The one Mr. Sanders has been suggesting is nicer. It doesn’t involve war, guns or psychotic leaders.

It would be a gentle coup, involving evening our monetary game board and presenting cupcakes to every man, woman, and child.

Turning our American enterprise into Monopoly for Socialists.

When I heard the Bernie Sanders message, I got my tin car game piece lined up at the start line and ready to play. But while waiting for more details from Mr. Sanders, beyond asking for more financial equality, my car rusted in the silence.

Cupcake agendas can be a welcome respite from tasteless meat and potatoes politics, but unfortunately some of Mr. Sander’s delicacies are the store bought, super-sweet kind without an accompanying list of ingredients. I hate when that happens. One bite in and I’m wondering if I’m eating whipped petroleum jelly.

Asking for more monetary equality is conscious and polite. That’s a nice beginning. But the cupcake has to taste as good as it looks. The real world is complicated. It takes ideas, agendas, planning—hours to sift the flour and allow the butter and eggs to come to room temperature.

Every concept must go through debate, research, then more debate and more research, then add in polling the populace, walking back on issues that won’t generate enough support, even more debate and research—until the idea is either a go or a bust. In this example it could be a family discussion about where to go on vacation or Congress wrestling with funding for free college tuition.

Congress is a family negotiation on steroids. No one is related by blood or oath and for most of the interactions people don’t even respect or like each other very much. This means every idea must have its recipe clear, defined, and a crystal ball attached.

We, the constituents, want to know what free tuition would taste like in two years, 10, 20. We want to know how an idea would change our country and the populace, and whether it would make things better or worse.

Defining ideas takes work. Outlining steps in a recipe isn’t easy. It’s why most people use the Joy of Cooking or the Food Network instead of creating something new on their own.

The voters deserve concepts that have been taken through the recipe steps, the cupcake batter tasted and revised, batches discarded because of dryness or saltiness, and frequent trips to the store for missing ingredients.

I love Bernie’s idea of free college for anyone who wants it. I want free college that doesn’t involve mortgaging the future if one of us goes for a Ph.D. But we need a plan.

Americans need to know how we go from outrageous college costs foisted on the individual, to affordable for the taxpayer. This is essential in a democracy. It means taking Mr. Sanders’ approach of free tuition and putting a recipe together.

We need a plan and planners—numbers people, college board members, state representatives, congressmen and women, college debt administrators, investors, tax payers, college students, and parents, to form a think tank. I’m sure that sounds time consuming, boring, and is likely a long, arduous process. It is. That’s why not nearly enough voters believe Bernie can deliver cupcakes with substance.

Anyone who’s tried to get a book chosen for book club knows it’s hard to get a consensus on anything. It takes communication, hand wringing, hand holding, compromise, stubbornness, and tenacity. Asking for a raise in our allowance is the first necessary step. The second is asking in concert with our brothers and sisters. And then we devise the how.

In this age of instant recipe results on Google, creating a new version of something sounds impossible, especially when the same process needs to happen for every single cupcake. By looking at our past we know that nothing is impossible.

We’re a smart country, we invented the constitution out of nothing.

Bernie Sanders has several great cupcake ideas. He opened the door to possibility, a worthy and difficult enterprise when most Americans stopped believing in possibility back during the Nixon administration. Now we need someone to take those great ideas and put them in the mixing bowl of possibility.

Then we need a Congress that will be a part of the process.

Anyone who’s made cupcakes for a school fundraiser knows that it takes more than one person to make enough to feed a nation.

What a voter can do to support a cupcake revolution is to elect congressional members who can bake cupcakes from scratch. We need people who know how an oven works and the difference between sugar and flour—men and women who are dedicated to the democratic process, who believe in possibility, and who are determined to brainstorm opportunity for all Americans.

In this 2016 election for President of the United States, the person elected will be faced with a large segment of our populace who likes many of the cupcakes that have been presented—they’re already drooling over the thought of the first bite. The individual who wins the election needs to keep in mind that we don’t want a mouthful of sweetened whipped petroleum jelly.

Cupcakes have to taste as good as they look.

Let’s start creating America. As voters, we can toss the cupcakes around and do some research and demand that our government bake and think without a box. We can add in prep cooks and a pastry chef by voting in congressional members who are ready to design revolutionary recipes for making our country better than it is—for all our people.



Author: Deb Lecos

Image: Ginny/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman; Katarina Tavčar


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