U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders delivered a speech at Georgetown University Thursday afternoon in which he described for the nation his interpretation of "democratic socialism" and the importance of its bedrock principles when it comes to improving the economy, the lives of people, and the health of communities.
"Sen. Sanders is going to outline a vision for America which calls upon the country to really implement what Franklin D. Roosevelt talked about, the second Bill of Rights," said campaign spokesperson Symone Sanders ahead of the speech. "So, that’s what he’s going to talk about. He’s going to talk about what democratic socialism means to him. You know, we’ve got a rigged economy kept in place by a system of corrupt campaign finance. … Bernie doesn’t believe that the billionaires are the only people who should be the quote-unquote 'beneficiaries' of the American dream."
In the speech itself, Sanders delivered on those key ideas by declaring,
The bottom line is that today in America we not only have massive wealth and income inequality, but a power structure which protects that inequality. A handful of super-wealthy campaign contributors have enormous influence over the political process, while their lobbyists determine much of what goes on in Congress.
In 1944, in his State of the Union speech, President Roosevelt outlined what he called a second Bill of Rights. This is one of the most important speeches ever made by a president but, unfortunately, it has not gotten the attention that it deserves.
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In that remarkable speech this is what Roosevelt stated, and I quote: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men.” End of quote. In other words, real freedom must include economic security. That was Roosevelt’s vision 70 years ago. It is my vision today. It is a vision that we have not yet achieved. It is time that we did.
Watch the speech here:
The Sanders campaign was encouraging people to use the social media hashtag #BernieAtGU to respond to the speech or explain what "economic and social justice" means to them: