Blog #31- 6/11/20
American protestors have forced the world to examine racism and the issues that contribute to it. It is a monumental milestone in American history but these protests, fueled by the death of George Floyd, will hopefully be the opening round of the battle for systemic social reform that has been needed in this country for too many decades.
The length and breadth of the protests show that there are significant numbers of Americans who are willing to use their voices to promote short and long-term change. The big question hanging over all of this is whether or not politicians and policymakers will listen thoughtfully and work to implement meaningful systemic change.
So far, mayors and city councilors from a number of cities, as well as some Washington politicians are willing to give varying degrees of lip service to changing the way business has been done during most of the history of this country. They are slowly beginning to realize that we may be at a breaking point and that we have an historic opportunity to move forward for the good of all Americans instead of protecting the privileged few who have benefited most from the institutionalized inequality that has become the foundation of the American form of government.
What’s next? As the voices of those demanding change continue to speak loudly we must focus our efforts on the November election. We have to get rid of Trump and we have to turn the Senate over to Democrats. The election of a majority of Democrats in Washington will not instantly create change, but it needs to happen in order for the door to be open to change.
If that kind of electoral change happens then the work that all of us have to do will begin in earnest. But in order to see that change we have to vote in large numbers. Trump and his people will try to sabotage any efforts to implement vote by mail, but unless we create mechanisms for people to vote without having to physically go to the polls the American people will lose a significant amount of control over the outcome of the election.
As the protests continue those people who are putting their bodies on the line, as well as the rest of us, need to start to preach the mantra that “every vote counts”. If the efforts of the protestors are to have any meaning then we have to make every effort to vote, no matter what kind of obstacles are thrown in front of us.
Our society has reached a tipping point and that means that apathy about the political process must not be an option. There have been too many Americans who have given up their vote because they have felt helpless to make change. The people marching in the streets have taken away that excuse. This November’s election can be a turning point in American history.
Voters in states such as Kentucky, Arizona, Maine, Colorado, Tennessee, and Iowa, as well as many other states, have a chance to unseat incumbent Senate Republicans. Those who understand how important change is simply need to vote. If only a few Senate seats flip from Republican to Democrat the power base in Washington will be transformed. Once that happens the real work of the people will begin.