“Excuse me, I’m talking.”
To say Bernie Sanders held his own in Sunday night’s debate in Flint, MI would be an understatement. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are skilled debaters, but Bernie was the clear victor Sunday night. Bernie likely convinced a fair number of Michiganders to “feel the bern” after the discussion on the “disastrous trade policies” such as the NAFTA and TPP agreements which lead to the massive outsourcing of jobs, leaving tens of thousands of Michiganders jobless. Bernie opposed these trade policies from the very beginning, while Clinton supported them. That fact will not be lost on Michigan voters.
One moment during the debate that has gained a massive amount of attention was when he stood up to Clinton while she attempted to talk during his time. The powerful and somewhat shocking “Excuse me, I’m talking” proclamation by Sanders has been all over the media with many sources attacking him over it. An article by CNN and several others even claimed it was sexist. These claims are absolutely ludicrous and in my opinion, sexist in and of themselves. Hillary Clinton is a strong, successful, and intelligent woman who can more than hold her own in a debate. Clinton talked over Sanders during his speaking time at various points during the debate, and Sanders eventually responded in a simple, but forceful manner, as he would against any candidate. How is a presidential candidate expected to deal with the many stresses of the presidency if they can’t handle being asked to wait her turn to speak. I personally found Sanders’ assertiveness against Clinton to be extremely refreshing and indicative of strong leadership qualities.
Another moment that was especially notable for Sanders in the debate, especially to me, was when questioned over whether he was “keeping his Jewish faith in the background during his campaign.” He responded passionately stating:
“I am very proud of being Jewish, and that is an essential part of who I am as a human being. My father’s family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust. I know about what crazy and radical, and extremist politics mean. I learned that lesson as a tiny, tiny child when my mother would take me shopping, and we would see people working in stores who had numbers on their arms because they were in Hitler’s concentration camp.”
While I have a very strong distaste for when people attempt to bring religion into politics, I was extremely pleased with Bernie’s answer as a Jew myself and as a citizen who also worries about crazy and extremist politics. While I found the question to be in poor taste, especially considering how much of being Jewish is about culture and the impact it has on who you are as a person, I found his answer to only further display his raw emotion, passion, and proclivity towards sharing his true thoughts and opinions, whereas Hillary’s answers often displayed calculation rather than sincerity. Several times during the debate, I found myself watching Clinton and felt I could quite literally see the gears in her head turning, attempting to recall what her campaign team prepped her to say in order to best appeal to voters. Conversely, Sanders seems to share his true stances on the issues which he has been advocating for the past 26 years. Not to say Sanders isn’t prepped by his teams as well, but his quick response time made his answers seem more authentic and authenticity is an important trait to have as a president.