Detroit—Elizabeth Warren says she is not running for president in 2016—despite the enthusiastic “Run, Liz, Run” chanting that erupted when the senator from Massachusetts took the stage at this year’s Netroots Nation conference. But Warren came to Detroit with the platform on which Democrats should be running in 2016.
As Republicans in Congress practiced obstructionism, and as an increasingly activist Supreme Court knocked down historic democratic protections, Republican governors aggressively attacked labor rights, voting rights and women’s rights. Citizens responded with rallies, marches and movements—in state capitals, on Wall Street, across the country. They developed a new progressive vision that is more aggressive and more precisely focused on economic and social justice demands, and on challenging the power of corporations and their political allies.
Warren’s Netroots Nation speech incorporated what has been learned, and what has been demanded. She made a connection between the movements and the political process that has tremendous significance for the coming election cycles.
Warren’s Democratic Party has not fully recognized that connection—not by a long shot—but Warren gets it.
“This is a fight over economics, a fight over privilege, a fight over power,” says Warren. “But deep down it’s a fight over values. These are progressive ideas; these are progressive values. These are America’s values. And these are the values we are willing to fight for.”
They are specific ideas, rooted in recent struggles and using the language of those struggles to form an agenda:
1. “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”
2. “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth. And we will fight for it.”
3. “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality. And we will fight for it.”
4. “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty. That means raising the minimum wage. And we will fight for it. We will fight for it. And let me add to that: We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”
5. “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt. And we are willing to fight for it. We are willing.”
6. “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions. And we will fight for them. We will fight.”
7. “We believe— only I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work. And we’re willing to fight for it.
8. “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America. And we’re willing to fight for it.”
9. “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform. And we are willing to fight for it.”
10. “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it.
The specificity of the agenda matters as much as the promise to fight.
Warren’s focus is on a set of essential issues and on bold responses to them. She says things that need to be said—about the agenda and about the attitude that might get Americans excited about not just a particular campaign (for president in 2016 or for US Senate seats in 2014) but about a political agenda that extends beyond individual elections.
“The game is rigged. And the rich and the powerful have lobbyists and lawyers and plenty of friends in Congress. Everybody else, not so much. So the way I see this is we can whine about it, we can whimper about it or we can fight back. I’m fighting back!”
What PETA seems to miss in their vegan-as-a-bargaining-chip scheme is that it’s not easy for everyone to live on a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables like the kind PETA encourages. Some people — and especially lower-income residents like those in Deroit who are struggling to pay their bills — reside in food deserts where it’s not easy to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables all the time. Or they simply work too many jobs and still don’t have enough money to have the time to prepare fresh, unprocessed foods. In 2012, 18 million families in the U.S. were unable to get a sufficient amount of food to be healthy.
“One of the most durable paradoxes of white supremacy - the idea that those who are closest to an experience of oppression are its least credible witnesses.”—
Walter Johnson, Soul by soul: life inside the antebellum slave market (via drapetomaniakkk)
This is the type of violence—from microaggressions to epistemic violence to emotional/physical violence to enslavement/genocide—that gets justified by asserting that the oppressor is “objective” and “logical” and thereby “credible.” As if there is objectivity in choosing to oppress. As if the emotions of entitlement, indifference, greed or hatred aren’t involved.
I hope the “50 Shades of Grey” film is so bad that it reaches “Rocky Horror Picture Show” levels of overness where people in the future start going to rewatch it in the theatres in bad suits and they yell stuff at the screen and toss things about and it becomes actually fun and entertaining as opposed to the soul-sucking chasm that it is now.
When in doubt, tea. When happy, tea. When cold, tea. When sad, tea. When sick, tea. When no inspiration, tea. When have to leave bed, tea. When supposed to be doing homework, tea. When scheming to take over world, tea. When summoning minor demon, tea. When accidentally starting apocalypse, tea.