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New Chance to Change

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary

Another election has come and gone, yet not without controversy.  In the future, I predict, they will be even more controversial.  As long as there are resources to be had, elections, with the reigns of power in sight, will be volatile. I hope that the ferverence that elections are fought with brings progressive and necessary change.

After this election we will witness a new America.  If the incumbent wins, we will continue a course of policy-making that disbands corporate strangleholds on the people’s power.  Worker’s rights will make a comeback.  Legislation like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will come forth like fountains of fresh water; fresh, only because this country has walked back pro-worker legislation for the last 30 years.

After this election we will witness a new America.  If the challenger wins, we will see an accelerated growth in the privatization of services we once second-naturedly thought of as “the way things are supposed to work.”  Everything from policing, to firefighting to school teaching will be administered by private interests…with increasing profits as the underlying motivator to provide those services.

Though we see the race for the presidency in our frontal view, our periphery is rife with congressional and local races that are equally as important.  The focus of a candidate like Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, who is the plainspoken voice of people getting crushed by so many of this nation’s predatory lenders and under-regulated banks, will accelerate if like-minded folks win election.  If her opponent, the incumbent Scott Brown—and those that support him win—the wealth of this country will further concentrate in the hands of those that caused our current fiscal stranglehold.

The “battle for America’s soul” isn’t about a soul at all, it’s about resources.  The people who have traditionally held the lion’s share of the nation’s resources are fighting like gladiators to, not only hold on to it, but to keep it out of the hands of the majority that doesn’t.  The ideology that believes that under-educated or poor people wouldn’t know how to use it or wouldn’t appreciate it if they had it, is what passes for a “battle for America’s soul.”  This battle has been coined “Culture Wars” in days past. There is a defining line drawn in the sand.

That line has proponents on one side that have showed up at the polls today.  They have questioned citizens who stood in voting lines and others who were on their way to vote.  Those proponents have executed unwarranted challenges to people legitimately lodging their vote.  We have witnessed voter I.D. laws that all-of-a-sudden cropped up in the past two years that target specific demographic groups.  The “battle for America’s soul” only demonstrates a soul destined for hell.  Race and racism have been re-generated as the tool of choice to win that battle.

This election actually represents change.  I have said recently that Barack Obama—like our local mayor of Washington, DC, Vincent Gray—didn’t represent change upon his election, but represented “a transition to change.”  For true change to take place, one must eradicate the old—totally—in order for that change to take place.  For Obama, he equivocated, brought in old hands of the game.  Change couldn’t take place with old habits in tow.  For Mayor Gray, he was an old hand.  During his administration it was revealed that old habits were par-for-the-course.  People have been indicted, convicted and sentenced.  As those old hands are excised, a “transition” is taking place. The next round will bring the change.

You see, the people are sick & tired of being sick & tired.  The question is, what are the people going to do?  Some patients would rather not know that they have a cancer.  Other want to be informed—and involved in the treatment. Today is the beginning of a new direction.  This is our chance to change.  Question is, will we?

Mitt Romney is a candidate advocating for greater freedom for business to do what they do.  If you like what businesses have been doing, then that’s the direction we shall go.  Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP have made profits previously unseen in modern-day business.  That’s what businesses are doing.  Employee salaries have remained stagnant. Average wages for working-class Americans are the most stagnant since 2007.  Limited employment and wage prospects together with high gasoline prices are straining household budgets. So what we have here is a battle between corporate profits versus household wages.  This vote will settle that argument.

At the publishing of this editorial, no winner has yet been declared, but I dare say that America would not again vote against its own interests.  I do know from my experiences as a community organizer, that people will indeed do just that.  My hope is that 2012 is not the year we miss the chance to change.


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