Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Obama's impending victory

First of all, I want to congratulate many of you on your hard work. 

I still hold hope and as critical as I've been, I'm relieved that the election results for this one day seem about as good as they can get for a single election's results. But we need far more--long, life-shaking civic engagement that can really change the landscape of a society.

I hold serious hope that everyone who has assured me that we just needed to come together and ensure Obama's re-election so that we could subsequently switch into accountability mode was not just saying what needed to be said, but really honestly believes that's the next step.

Because with all that hope, I also know one harsh reality: starting tomorrow, all of the corporate influences that sidetracked Hope and Change throughout the first-term will have already had their first second-term conversations with the administration and we will have not.

The other thing that worried me about this cycle was the constant refrain of how bad Romney would make it and that there'd be nothing we could do about it. This assumes that we are at the mercy of people in power and their agenda. If this is the case, we might as well just give up now. We cannot vote our way to the free society we deserve, and there are going to be moments where we have to get mad and active and use civil disobedience to push those in power to act justly. If we do that effectively, we can win over the unjust rule of law.

We will likely need to do that under this administration as well. We must stand for what just and we should expect this administration to oppose us in many areas:

1. We need to bring people together now and resolve that we will not vote for any candidate that enters the current debate pact to exclude third-party voices. We need to act quickly and decisively to throw corporate money out of politics and grab grassroots control of policymaking in as many areas as possible. Those with power should offer resources to execute our plans, not demand that we accept the plans they impose on us.
2. We need to draw a line on due process. No President from any party should have license to employ killer robot planes to execute 16 year-old American citizens who have neither committed, nor been accused of any crime. Gibbs' comments on this case--blaming the victim for essentially having a bad dad are crazy and he should have been fired on the spot. 
3. We need serious immigration reform and it should fully acknowledge the vast contributions of immigrants--both documented and undocumented--to the country. It should seek to decriminalize immigrant populations and provide expedient pathways to citizenship rather than the fragmenting of families.
4. The final margin in the Superintendent race in Indiana and several other Congressional races suggests that Corporate Education Reform dollars only go so far in certainly contexts. They are often beating us soundly in the policy arena, but the general public is neither asking for these policies nor particularly resolute in following this corporate narrative. We need to call out the current administration's disastrous direction on privatizing education and testing the crap out of our kids for what it is: junk science that will pour over a hundred billion dollars into making our students' educations worse.
5. We need to look at making public education all the way through college free, accessible and equitably outstanding for all young people. Education should be a right, not a privilege, and we should be able to pursue it regardless of our background without being criminalized or put into veritable debt slavery for large portions of our lives.

That's just a start, but we need to nail down these commitments today and stay engaged. It is impossible for us to build the free and fair country we envision through a single election day, but we can achieve that lofty goal by applying increased organizing energy to the struggle between these elections.

Much love.