The re-election of President Obama does not rest on any one thing or person. There is much credit to go around, from Obama himself, to Biden when he said Malarkey and galvanized Obama after that first debate, to Bill Clinton and his rousing speech at the DNC, to all the efforts that have been made by our side for the last four years, doing what we can do to turn the tide,
And credit to the Republicans for having a set of amazingly poor candidates, from a clown show primary with Bachman and Perry and Gingrich, and a presidential nominee so tone deaf that he dismissed 47% of the electorate without even noticing that some of the people in the room – the wait staff – might not agree with him. The absolute wretchedness of these candidates is a symptom of their positions, for when you espouse ignorance and selfishness, well, you’re going to get ignorant, selfish candidates.
But we were fighting an uphill battle, folks.
We were fighting a media, which, for the most part, was parroting right wing talking points and lies – and then, with a meta-lie, kept claiming that the media had a liberal bias. (Truth does, but not the media).
We were fighting gerrymandering and voter suppression. We’re still going to have to fight these battles, as witnessed by the actions that are happening these days in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
We were fighting against the ruling of Citizens United, with billionaires trying to buy themselves a president and a portion of Congress.
We were fighting against racism, from the blatant to the insidious to those who are racist without even realizing it.
We could have lost, folks. We have lost in these circumstances before, because so much of what was true in 2012 was also true in 2010, and we lost a lot in the mid-terms.
I remember how frustrated I was before the mid-terms, when the conversation was getting away from us. I remember how Rachel Maddow kept trying to tell the Democrats who were timid going into the 2010 mid terms, who were afraid to pit one class against the other. She kept talking about how the Democrats had a perfect issue - it polled well, and the country needed it to be addressed - but the party would not go there.
What changed? I think we owe a lot to Occupy Wall Street.
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is the name given to a protest movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City's Wall Street financial district.I remember my RW SIL sneering at OWS – and even I, though sympathetic, wondered what exactly it was that they had in mind. If they weren’t interested in being in charge, then how did they plan to effect change?
The main issues raised by Occupy Wall Street are social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and the perceived undue influence of corporations on government—particularly from the financial services sector. The OWS slogan, We are the 99%, refers to income inequality and wealth distribution in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. To achieve their goals, protesters act on consensus-based decisions made in general assemblies which emphasize direct action over petitioning authorities for redress.
They did it by changing the dialogue.
By their protests, they finally got the people noticing that the 1% were ripping off the 99%.
They emboldened our politicians. I believe they also emboldened Obama, who has said, “make me do what you want me to do.”
They made it something that was addressed, seriously, in the 2012 election.
Not all protests make a difference. Many take a long time. Before the Iraq War, there were many protests that were basically ignored. There have been many others where the struggle has taken a long time (Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall). On the other hand, some protests take hold and change the course of history. Occupy Wall Street is one that did.
We still have lots of work to do, and we should not be faint-hearted, because we can make a difference.
My thanks to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Tired of politics? Need to escape? Try my Greek mythology based novels, either the story of Oedipus from the point of view of Jocasta, or a trilogy about Niobe, whose children were murdered by the gods - or were they?