Sunday, February 12, 2017

Where Are the Democrats? - Special Election Edition

I've been wondering, as I often do these days, when the Democratic National Committee is going to get their act together and start helping out in the struggle to save democracy.  Actually, we really should be wondering when they are going to take charge, not just help out.

Look at the republicans.  They had a new chair weeks ago.  When there was a race for a Senate seat in December, both Pence and Trump showed up.  The Democratic Party was nowhere to be found.

They are still fighting among themselves to determine who should chair the damn party.  Progressives are squabbling over who is the more progressive.  They are even fighting over who failed the team by supporting Hillary.  Somewhere in the back of their minds, they must be aware that Trump is attacking the Constitution from one side while congressional republicans are ripping out the throat of our individual rights on the other.

Apparently, the battle for party chair is coming down to two contenders.  Keith Ellison has been in the US House of Representatives since 2007, and is backed by John Lewis, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  He truly is progressive, on the side of minorities, farmers, women, unions... need I go on?  On the other hand, and I really believe this is the elephant in the room (there is always an elephant in the room, striking fear into the hearts of Democrats and causing them to crawl back to the center), Ellison is not just African American but a Muslim.  Oh my gods.

On the other hand, Tom Perez, while also progressive, could be considered a safer minority.  He is also a safer Democrat, having come from the beloved Barack Obama's cabinet as Secretary of Labor.  He, too, checks off all the right boxes when it comes to his stand on issues.  But, again, this is my opinion, he might be less scary, being a Catholic and all.

Part of my frustration, besides Democrats who are afraid to be exposed for supporting a democratic agenda, is that Ellison threw his hat into the ring months before Perez.  We actually may have had a strong consensus candidate. Then, in mid-December, along comes Perez.  Because we couldn't just go with a strong national figure, get the election over with, and then proceed to fight the real war.

This election, that nobody but the Democratic Party gives a damn about, will be happening in two weeks.  But there is another, more important election coming up on April 18.

When Tom Price became the Trump cabinet deplorable running the HHS, he left vacant his seat in the House of Representatives for District 6, an Atlanta suburb.  This district, conservative and traditionally republican, voted for Romney in 2012 with a 24% margin.  But in 2016, the anti-Trump vote brought the lead to one percent:  48-47.

The strategically placed republican running for this seat is African American Trump surrogate Bruce LeVell.

That's right, the republican party chose LeVell hoping that black voters wouldn't notice that he is a Trump-man.  Well, that is the Trump campaign, isn't it?  Assuming African Americans would vote the color and ignore the racist policies behind the candidate.

But on the Democratic side is Jon Ossoff.  Jon has been fighting for justice and civil liberties throughout his professional life.  He has investigated and uncovered corruption and crime, and worked in national security as a senior staffer.  Jon has been protesting the unAmerican policies of the Trump administration...

...and he has the endorsement of Civil Rights leader John Lewis:

“Jon is committed to progress and justice and he knows how to fight the good fight. We should unite behind Jon and send a clear message that Donald Trump doesn’t represent our values.”

– Congressman John Lewis

I know those of us reading this blog care passionately about the travesties that the Trump administration is committing and the republicans in Congress who are aiding and abetting his crimes.  We understand that this election in Atlanta is critical, and not just in moving Congress closer to representing our values.  The turnout in this election will send a message to the rest of the country -- that we are here and we are fighting for them.  It will tell the republicans who are trammeling our democracy with abandon that they are, as Trump likes to put it, "on notice."

The Trump cabal knows this election is important.  I guarantee they will be throwing buckets of money into ads, and they will be showing up.

Our Democratic Party needs to be there.  We need their commitment, their money, their bodies, their voices.

Here in SC, we need US Representative Jim Clyburn to get out and shout with John Lewis.  And we need Jamie Harrison and our state Democratic Party to extend a hand to our partners and friends in Georgia.  This is not a time to be self-absorbed, to be concerned with the party.  America is watching.

And Democrats are marching, are writing, are going to town halls, are shouting.  This is truly the time for the party to stand up and lead, without fear.  Put a good Muslim progressive at the helm on February 23, and send out a real message of fearlessness and belief in our values to the rest of the country.  And then get out and fight like you mean it for Jon Ossoff on April 18.

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