Why I'm Encouraged
"They gone and done it. They messed with a lot of women and what they hold dear." That's what my Uncle Thurman would say, ..."and somebody's gonna pay." Yep, and I'm thinking the first good days of reckoning will start with November's mid-term elections..
There won't be many clear winners, because we've all lost in the governmental chaos of the past nineteen months. No matter our political ideology. Candidates and their constituents have learned that campaigning is far easier than governance. That we let our guard down, ignored real societal challenges, and angry demands for "change" brought us our current crop of wannabe "leaders" in Washington and many state capitols. Texas included. But most of us are experiencing the backlash of governmental neglect from We The People, and we know many of the corrective measures we have to take. Starting with VOTING, and becoming engaged citizens. And, it's happening!
The Dramatic Increase in Activism
WOMEN...The Women's March (Texas version in this photo) was the genesis of a major rebirth of energy for women's issue advocacy, and a growing number of female political candidates is the concrete response to this heightened awareness and commitment. The #Me2 movement and the separation of children and mothers in the botched immigration efforts are two of many catalysts to prompt increased advocacy and action from women...of all ages. They're also angry that too many old white men are daring to make education and healthcare decisions that serve no one's best interest.
MINORITIES...The Trump team has managed to alienate almost all minority groups...racial, ethnic and gender. Activist groups are tapping into this well of discontent to create campaign support organizations nationwide. Education efforts are widespread to show constituent groups why current policies, or lack thereof, in public education, healthcare and economic opportunity are not in their interest. The "tax cut" sham is one high/low light in these efforts.
STUDENTS...Frequent campus shootings have been the main catalyst for student activism, but other influences are sparking this political enthusiasm. The increase in student suicides can often be directly tied to a sense of hopelessness prompted by inferior education and discouraging job opportunities. High stress is taking the fun and creative potential out of too many student experiences. Student leaders are taking heed and raising their games to promote more responsive government. And civics classes are now seeing a resurgence as students and teachers realize that they can't expect better government if they don't know what it is and how it works.
JOURNALISTS/THE MEDIA...An active free press is critical for an engaged citizenry and for government accountability. And, in spite of (or perhaps because of) Trump's efforts to denigrate the journalists as "enemies of the people," responsible journalism is on the rebound. And we're all the better for it.
SOME ENCOURAGING MOSEY TIDBITS
---The Mueller Investigation is taking longer than we'd like, but several shots across the bow remind us that he's well-staffed, deadly serious, undeterred by political rhetoric or threats, and will have a report worthy of his efforts and our need for the truth.
---The Koch Brothers are among a growing cadre of former Trump supporters and Republican stalwarts who are saying, "Enough's enough. You can no longer count on us to blindly support candidates and policies that are not serving anyone's best interest." I heard today that they've already pulled out of at least three key Republican Congressional races.
---Most citizens and an increasing number of Trump's "base" are realizing that the Trump team performance is a big charade. Lots of noise and bluff and bluster, but little accomplishment. No foreign diplomacy coups in North Korea or Russia, botched border security efforts, alienation of our allies, ill-conceived tariff and trade policies, and a "tax-cut" scam that prompts some short-term stock market gains while masking a huge deficit bill that will come due later. Unemployment gains conceal the truth of multiple jobs with low salaries and no benefits. But, an increasing number of us are now paying attention. And, won't be fooled again.
THE BLESSING OF SETBACKS
I'm sorry for the setbacks and inequities that have prompted the greater awareness and renewed commitment to civic activism. But, I'm also excited to see it. We old white guys had a pretty good run, but the needs of a dynamic, diverse society require a diversity of opinions and collaborative solutions. It's great to see the rise of new and seasoned leadership. With Women, Minorities and Students. We need to build and rebuild communities that work for all of us. And I'm optimistic that we still have the character, creative thinking and resources to do it. We really have no other choice. Let's do this. TOGETHER!