Loomis Chaffee Campus News: Michelle Bernard Talks Politics
Michelle Bernard, political and legal analyst, author, and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy, captivated the LC community Friday afternoon with her perspective on the upcoming election and state of politics in the U.S. She spoke to students and faculty about the game of politics and how it has evolved over the last four years. “Politics is getting nastier and nastier,” she cautioned. Constant fighting between the democrats and the republicans has shifted the focus of elected officials to the destruction of the rival party and away from helping people and communities in real need.
Bernard spent time discussing one such community, Berry Farms, in Washington D.C. The community is populated primarily by women – the great majority of whom live below the poverty line, have no access to grocery stores, and no modes of transportation. She told listeners how a resident once said, “I’ve heard stories of women who kill their babies – and I can understand why they do it.” Bernard warned the audience that while the presidential candidates fight for the middle class, there are groups of underprivileged citizens, like the residents of Berry Farms, in desperate need of help.
In response to one student’s question, Bernard explained that the bipartisan political system works in name only. She argued that we need elected officials to do what is best for the country and not what is best for their respective parties. Bernard believes that strict term limits are one way to accomplish this. She proposes one-term restrictions, with no option for reelection. Under this model the president would serve one eight-year term, a senator would serve one six-year term, and a congressman would serve one two-year term. This format would allow elected officials to make decisions and do their job without worrying about reelection and fundraising.
Bernard’s advice to the students: Be informed. She encouraged students to read and watch everything. Understanding all sides of an issue and argument is essential to informed citizenship and good decision-making.
Ms. Bernard will be featured as one of the headliners for the CT Forum’s State of Women 2012 event tonight at 8 p.m. in the Bushnell Auditorium, www.ctforum.org.