Opinion | Politics

Brandon Ecoffey: Let's shake things up with our votes for president

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses supporters on the Navajo Nation on March 17, 2016. Courtesy photo

LCT Backs Bernie
A note from the editor’s desk
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor

During each election cycle those of us who have managed to land ourselves in the editor's chair at local newspapers across the country are required by tradition to endorse a candidate for the position of President of the United States of America. In what has turned out to be one of the strangest presidential races of my lifetime, choosing a candidate to endorse has turned out to be a really simple decision.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, believed that a person could best be described as the sum of the five people they spend the most time with. I think in this era post Citizen's United that same line of logic can be applied to politicians and their top donors. If you want understand where a politician stands on the important issues one only needs to look at the list of a candidate's top financial contributors.

In all fairness to Hillary Clinton I admire the fact that she had included several longtime proven Native American policy makers to her team of advisors but I cannot overlook the fact that the powers that are financially backing her campaign are large corporate entities. Hilary's list of top donors is who's who list of Wall Street Banks including: Citigroup ($883,547), Goldman Sachs ($821,032), JP Morgan Chase ($771,111), Morgan Stanley ($754,538) and others. The list goes on and on and includes the lobbying firm Akin Gump who does do work on behalf of tribal-nations, but will their contribution of $393,531 hold any water next to the millions that have already been invested in to the Clinton coffer by the world's elite?

I have seen this country elect president after president and I have witnessed each of them lead this country down a path of war. Although George W. Bush beat the drum of war to elicit support for America's current colonial endeavors in the Middle East, it was President Barack Obama and his team of advisors who used the same tactics of fear based governance to continue the policy of widespread electronic surveillance of everyday Americans and to enact a policy of government sponsored drone killings.

Had it not been for Edward Snowden this government would very likely (and may still be) still be listening in and checking up on the correspondence of regular everyday Americans who have no ties to terrorism. The use of drones to carry out state sponsored assassinations is simply wrong. In the Middle East children are afraid of the sky because of their use. In articles appearing on The Intercept these government sponsored drone attacks have been shown to not only be largely inaccurate but have resulted in the deaths of countless civilians. This isn't a model of governance that I want to raise children under. As Secretary of State under the Obama administration Hillary has already endorsed this path of leadership.

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As a member of the millennial generation I, like many others, have witnessed throughout our short lives a rapidly changing world that has reached a tipping point like no other in human history. In my lifetime we will begin to see the horrors associated with climate change come to fruition as ice deposits around the world begin to bleed fresh water in to the ocean at never before seen rates. One of the largest ice shelves in the world is located in Antarctica and scientists believe that is set to break away in what would be a sign that human life as we know it is about to change for the worse. The time to confront climate change is right now and the only logical choice for the presidency is Bernie Sanders.

The status quo in Washington has led to only incremental changes in the lives of Lakota people. It is simply time to shake things up. On June 7, 2016, South Dakota will hold its democratic primary and I implore all of Lakota Country to #Feelthebern .

(Brandon Ecoffey is the editor of LCT and is an award winning journalist who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.)

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