Feb 10th, 2020, 12:20 AM

Larry Sanders Takes on Paris

By Caitlin Kelly
Larry Sanders
Larry Sanders. Image Credit: Celi Folch
Politician and brother of Bernie Sanders, Larry Sanders spoke to Parisians and expats earlier this month.

On February 6, I had the pleasure of joining the France for Bernie 2020 Campaign and Democrats Abroad in seeing Bernie Sanders’ brother, Larry Sanders, speak about various political issues at Patrick's Le Ballon Vert. The small Irish pub in the 11th arrondissement of Paris was packed with over 100 Bernie and Larry supporters. The event began with a heartfelt video endorsing Bernie, followed by another showcasing Larry Sanders voicing his support for his brother, both of them shedding tears. It quickly became clear how passionate the two were in their roles.

Onlookers at Larry Sanders' talk. Image Credit: Celi Folch 

An alumnus of both Harvard Law School and the University of Oxford, Larry Sanders is now a social worker, politician, academic, and Health Spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales. His focus is of course on the climate, however, he voiced his opinion on several other issues that supporters in the audience asked. 

Most questions were politically charged. One supporter of the Sanders brothers mentioned that many people ask how Bernie Sanders is going to pay for his plan to enact Medicare for All. He replied, to paraphrase, that first of all, that is not the most pressing matter when considering the American people are dying because they cannot afford to pay for needed aid. Secondly, America spends copious amounts of money on various other things, including military spending, and that money can be more evenly distributed to help the American people. 

Larry Sanders poses for a photograph. Image Credit: Celi Folch 

Other questions, however, were constructed with Larry's relationship with Bernie in mind. One supporter asked if there were any signs throughout Bernie's childhood that pointed towards him running for president in his future. Larry at first answered very simply: no. However, he then went on to elaborate that Bernie was always a very honest kid. He recounted a story of Bernie, or Bernard, as he calls him, telling Larry that he thought there were aliens in New Jersey, simply because his friend had told him so. When Larry asked Bernie why he would believe that, he recalled Bernie saying his friend would never lie. Larry went on to explain he was not sure if honesty is a good trait in a politician, but he thought this story showed Bernie's faith in people, which may have been an indicator of his future in politics. 

The audience of Larry Sanders' talk. Image Credit: Celi Folch 

Perhaps this refreshing characteristic is what has resonated with Bernie's followers, who represent 40 percent of U.S. voters under the age of 30. When Larry Sanders was asked what he thought of the youth being in such strong support of Bernie, he replied, "there's absolutely no doubt that the support and engagement of young people are determining characteristic in this campaign. Young America is a Bernie America. American politics have been fought for a long time, and hopefully, now they will be fought with lots of hope. The way that young people deal with this, to Bernard, is going to determine the history of America." 

Bernie Sanders supporters at Larry Sanders' talk. Image Credit: Celi Folch 

The event was charged with passion and emotion and brought to mind an important message: in such a tumultuous time in political history, voting has never been more important. As Bernie has said himself, "change will not take place without political participation." Even from abroad, you can do your part in ensuring a better America by registering to vote and making your voice heard.