Here we are. And, though disappointed, I’m not necessarily surprised. Why, you ask? Well, it’s not altogether different from 2016. And in some ways similar to other elections as far back as 2000.
We keep fighting for what we want and get promptly slapped down like small children reaching for grown-up stuff, forbidden to us “till we’re older.” In the immediate aftermath, we even feel like the toddler who just got his hand slapped; stung by the blow, upset about being deflected from the shiny object or tasty treat kept seemingly out of reach for no good reason.
What one needs to remember is the difference between then and now. When we were children our parents’ job was to protect us because that shiny object might actually have been a sharp steak knife, the tasty treat a temporarily unattended detergent pod or something equally poisonous.
Now we are adults. We know right from wrong and the difference between a toy and a knife. But the system in place now still regards us as children who need to be kept in line. Imagine, if you will:
“Stay away from that #MedicareForAll!!! It’s socialist!!!! You don’t want to be a Commie pinko when you grow up, DO YOU?”
“Nuh-uh. Keep your hands off that free public education. If you’re a good girl, Santa MIGHT get it for you this Christmas. [Whispers to Dad, “if we can afford it”]
Yeah. It is that patently and utterly ridiculous. Though tasked with protecting and enriching the welfare of the People, the Government is not a parent that we’re stuck with. WE elect people to represent US in office, to do the tasks we send them to do and achieve the goals we the People deem vital to US. And knowing how our Operational Reality works, through the lens of MMT, we can call bullshit when they say it can’t be done, or only “if we can afford it.”
So then you ask, ‘OK, what do we do now?’ We help each other up. We dust off the debris. We count the casualties, supplies, and ammo. We briefly mourn the dead. Then we keep fighting like hell for each other.
We keep fighting to make our dreams of justice for all, of equality and equity for all, a reality.
We push onward for a Federal Job Guarantee; #MedicareForAll; free, quality K-16 public education, be it college or trade school. And more.
We keep giving voice and podium to the Marginalized, and prioritizing the health of the planet over profit (by the way, we have 12 years, if we’re lucky, to mitigate or maybe reverse the damage done. And there is no Planet B.)
We keep moving forward.
Have we gotten all of these things right all the time? Most certainly not. If we had, for example, #BlackLivesMatter wouldn’t even be a concept, let alone a hashtag, because institutional racism would no longer be an issue and the gap between whites and PoC would have narrowed if not entirely vanished. However, it’s 2018, and we still have work to do.
The activists who came before us got things wrong or didn’t do enough of the right things, just the same as we who are fighting for change today. So, even though we fail, we must remember the lessons from those failures as we move forward, instead of getting mired in the muck of could-have-been. But one major difference between us Progressives and the Establishment? As my friend Ginger said after the midterm, “My opinion only — but putting up a fight is a litmus test of a true progressive. The neolibs/corporate-bought-and-paid-fors roll over and play dead.”
You hear that? WE DON’T QUIT. We don’t let defeats, delays, and deferrals keep us down. We don’t compromise our ideas and dreams for a better world tomorrow, for a perceived shortcut or supposed “easier solution” today.
Gillum made that mistake and it cost him — and us, in a sense — victory over politics as usual. If Gillum and others like him can or will learn anything from their mistakes, THIS is the most crucial lesson: Just because you fuck up does not mean it’s okay to give up. We must keep fighting like our lives, our country, and our world depend on it.
Because they do.