I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lessons Learned

No, I don't have a vote in US elections.  I'm a political junkie. And American elections matter to Canadians -  their political decisions affect us.    Bigtime, actually.    When Barack Obama won in 2008, I cried and wrote poetry because I was so relieved Mr. Bush was gone.  Yes, yes,  that euphoria has worn off - for me - and for progressive Americans.  But still, like most Canadians, I'm glad the president was re-elected.   And yes, there are  lessons to be learned from the events of the past week and a bit.  Here they are  - in no particular order:
  • Women matter.  Making pig ignorant comments about "legitimate rape" and "rape pregnancy is a gift from god"  terrifies most women.  Having someone run for the Republican nomination  who complains about public access to contraception is off putting, to put it mildly.    Yes, I mean you, Mr. Santorum.  Women vote.   And don't really want to live under a regime that resembles an Atwood dystopia. (BTW,  sorry, pigs!)
  • Spewing porkies about gay marriage harming straight marriage is less effective than it was - if that campaign is countered with time, money, and energy. Being out and proud matters:  it's harder  for folks to believe mindless fear laden drivel when they know people in the LGBT community.  Hurrah to Washington, Maryland, Maine, and Minnesota!   Date for first gay marriages in Washington is December 9th - if you get your marriage license December 6th. 
In any election campaign, point out the bigoted and hateful things candidates say.  Make sure the electorate knows the horrible truth .  Write letters to the editor, tweet, Facebook, and blog if you don't have the money to advertise/
  • Young folks voted.   Perhaps not with the same euphoria they had in 2008 - but they voted.  Maybe Canadian progressive activists should be working on getting the youth vote out.  Hell, maybe we should be working on getting any vote out!  "Only 38.8 per cent of Canadian youth (eligible voters aged 18-24) cast a vote in May, in contrast with only 37.4 per cent in 2008." http://www.ipolitics.ca/2011/11/24/canadas-youth-vote-edges-up-in-2011-but-still-a-drag-on-the-total-turnout/       "Young people cast ballots , about 50-per-cent voter turnout in that demographic. " (Page A 9, Globe and Mail, Thursday, November 7, 2012.)   Look at that difference!  If young Canadian voters turned out in the same numbers as Americans did,  the Right Honorable Mr. Harper might not be re-elected.
  • The zeitgeist has shifted regarding taxes. Proposition 30 passed in California.  Even  many high income earners voted yes. (  Page A13, Globe and Mail, Thursday, November 7, 2012.) Voted yes to tax increases, that is.   
  • Climate change matters.     "The long term picture offers less scope for confidence.  There have been three extraordinary weather events in the past two years in the Northeast.  As storms become more severe and the limitations of the country's antiquated infrastructure become more apparent, power will gain ground as a political issue.  Voters will favour officials who promise to regulate unresponsive monopolies.  "  ( Page B20, Globe and Mail, Thursday, November 7, 2012.)  Wow - the business pages of a conservative newspaper are mentioning extraordinary weather.
The last lesson:  working on any social justice or environmental issue is working on them all.  We each can only do what one person can do  but we can do something.    We're all in this together - each of us matters.  Our efforts matter - especially now - always have - but now that the zeitgeist is shifting and climate change denial is almost impossible to sustain - they matter more than ever.

As Martin Luther King said, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.                                                                                                                                               

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