Pope Francis is feeling the Bern. He has invited Senator Sanders to the Vatican for a conference on social, economic and environmental issues.
I’m totally surprised by this story, in many different ways. First, I’m surprised that nobody seems surprised. I’ve been watching CNN for the last two hours (CNN Europe, admittedly, but still), not a peep. So much so, that I started to wonder. Was this some joke site spreading misinformation on facebook? It did seem a little bit hard to believe.
So, I went to Google, saw the story was up on the BBC and the Guardian, and watched a clip of the actual announcement on Morning Joe. There was my second surprise. I’d generally classed Joe Scarborough in with O’Reilly and Limbaugh and Beck and all those other raving hatemongers, but he actually listened respectfully and let Bernie talk. Weird.
The next thing I wondered about was the timing. He’s taking time off during the New York primary for a trip to Rome? Politically, it’s a trade off. The publicity he’ll get from this visit will be tremendous and, since he’ll be speaking at a conference on issues close to his agenda, he has a rare opportunity. He and the Pope have similar views on reaching out to the poor and building a better world so he can transform the direction, not just of American politics, but of the future of mankind.
What I find perhaps the most amazing about this, however, is just the man’s flat out, crazy stamina. April 13th, he’ll have a massive rally in Washington Square Park. Then, on April 14th, the debate. Plenty of stress and pressure there. Then he flies to Rome on the 15th, attends the conference, gives a speech, and flies back to the U.S. on the 16th.
Not bad for an old man. Not bad at all.