Sunday, January 22, 2017

Voices from the March

Joan Baez was nowhere to be seen. If Bob Dylan was there, he wasn't visible.
But Elizabeth Warren was in Boston and Gloria Steinem was in Washington.
What is clear is that neither Donald Trump nor his liberal opposition thinks the election settled things.
Mitch McConnell famously said, after Barack Obama's election the main thing Republicans had to do was to be sure President Obama was not successful, and was limited to one term; after 2 years, McConnell and the Tea Party now nominally the Republican Party succeeded.

Yesterday Senator Elizabeth Warren, 68,  rattled off a list of goals she hoped the aroused crowd will take action to support: raising the minimum wage, supporting the unions which built the middle class, opposing building "that stupid wall," opposing a Supreme Court which overturns Roe v Wade and effectively outlaws abortion, and so on. I love Ms. Warren, but she is not a young 68. 

I wondered, as President Trump remarked: where were all these people on November eighth?

Notably diminished, if not absent, were non white faces in the crowd. To be sure, there were some, but did crowds turn out in inner city Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Pittsburgh?  Had those people turned out on November 8, we would not have President Trump today.

Gloria Steinem, now 83, referred repeatedly to her long life. She is old now and her voice is an old lady's voice. But she has not lost a single neuron; all synapses were firing and many a ringing phrase sang out. She mentioned a message she got from her "sisters in Berlin" saying, "We, here especially,  have found walls do not work and they do not last." She referred to Bernie Sanders (now 75 years old) as a man who would carry forth the torch.

She noted, as bad as facing Trump as President, a man who has narcissistic features, who harbors delusions of grandeur, who is detached from reality, we have seen worse times in our country and got past them.  She noted she had seen the murders of Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and she said the loss of these men cleared the way for Richard Nixon and extension of the war in Vietnam, the bombing of Cambodia, but in reaction to that progressives rose up and progress was made. She reminded us how we feared Barack Obama would be assassinated, and how grateful we ought to be he was not. 

Disturbingly, President Obama is the youngest leader among liberal Democrats, and he is no longer in the game. Michelle Obama may yet emerge as an energetic, young voice, but are we really ready to risk another former first lady running? Personally, I would be. Of all the speakers during the last election and since, she struck me as the best, clearest and most resounding voice. 

Time will tell. We have less than two years until the election of 2018. 

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