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Opinion: Michael Reagan – Bernie’s Army of Freeloaders


Bernie’s Army of Freeloaders

It’s time for Bernie Sanders to step down. His young supporters will be disappointed for the rest of their lives, but it’s time for Bernie to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live.”
He fought hard and if nothing else he showed the America people how to deliver a speech full of stale socialist ideas with a lot of honesty and pizzazz. Hillary and Trump are vying to get Bernie’s enthusiastic army to enlist on their side. Trump is hallucinating. Hillary is only dreaming.

When Bernie’s army is disbanded, whether it’s tomorrow or after the convention, they’re not going to change uniforms and join Hillary, Trump or anyone else — unless Jon Stewart decides to run.

They’re going back to their dorms and parents’ basements to play video games or plan their summer vacation in Europe. Most of them signed up for Bernie’s children’s crusade not because they wanted to put an old socialist in the White House, but because he promised them free stuff.

Stuff like a free college education and free healthcare and free dry-cleaning services. Now that their dream of free grad school is gone, they’re no longer interested in politics. Most of Bernie’s college kids look to me like they don’t understand that there’s this concept people used to call “work.” They’re in that “Gimme, gimme, gimme” mode — the belief that because you breathe you deserve to be given free stuff that your parents or taxpayers have to pay for.

It’s much worse today, but that attitude of entitlement was just getting started back in the 1960s. I admit as a college dropout I even tried to take advantage of it — until my “old-fashioned” parents set me straight. As I write in my new book, “Lessons My Father Taught Me,” after I quit the University of Arizona after a minute and a half, I knocked on my father’s door in L.A. No answer.

I knocked on my mother Jane Wyman’s door. No answer. When I called them on the phone, they answered. “I’m home,” I said. “No you’re not,” they said. “We paid your bills while you were in college, but you dropped out. Now it’s your turn. You need to find a place to live. Get a job. The gravy train is over.”

I moved in with some friends and got a job on a loading dock, thanks to my sister Maureen. I worked at Asbury Transportation Co. from 5 at night to 1:30 in the morning loading oil well freight onto trucks that went to the fields in Bakersfield. That’s exactly where I was the night my father won the election for Governor of California in 1966.
My parents taught me if you want to go anywhere in life, you’re going to need a strong work ethic to get you there. My father was tough, but my mother Jane made him look like Mister Rogers.

When I started my radio talk-show career in the early 1990s, I was driving 262 miles a day roundtrip from L.A. to San Diego. I was not getting paid because we were trying to start a national show. I had two kids and a wife and not enough money. I called my mother and whined, “Can you help me out?” “I have a suggestion for you,” she said before she hung up on me. “Shut up and keep driving. Nobody died and said you didn’t have to pay your dues. You have to pay them like everyone else. That way when you’re a success you’ll appreciate it. If it’s given to you for free, you’ll never learn to appreciate it. So shut up and keep driving.”

I shut up and kept driving. I finally got the lesson about hard work and that show lasted from 1992 to 2009, when I walked away from talk radio. It’s too bad the kids in college today — Bernie’s kids — don’t have parents as tough — and smart — as I did.

Michael Reagan is a political columnist. He is the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, and is heard daily by over 5 million listeners via his nationally syndicated talk radio program.

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