After a day of disbelief followed by a day of depression (and thinking I should fall on my sword like the good Romans did - brother Greg said, “No”), I have been heartened by the stories from news sources and friends across the wires that there is a renewed vitality in standing firm in our beliefs and working harder to make the difference which is needed in this country. One of the stellar characteristics of a democracy is that we have the opportunity to make ourselves and our beliefs known, but we have to unite to do that and we cannot quit. It is so easy to say, “I am tired”. I don’t want to play these games any more, but that is not the way a free people continues the benefits of that freedom.
As usual my impetus for revitalized thinking came from my brother and his lengthy research into the other voices of the campaign and the hope that we can still make a difference. I began to do some research myself and begin to find these signs of hope: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote -- a 70 year old woman with a lot of political baggage, still was the nominee of a major political party and she won the votes of the people. Secondly, there were several strong women elected to the U.S. Congress who show great promise in working for social justice issues like Medicare, women’s rights, and for education and young people. Catherine Masto is the first Latina woman elected to the U.S. Senate. She took over for Harry Reid in Nevada and is the Attorney General for the state of Nevada; Maggie Hassan won a senate seat in New Hampshire. She has been the governor of that state. She expressed hope that issues like infrastructure improvement and helping the middle class may gain bipartisan traction come 2017. (AP)
Minnesota, always leading the nation in some forward thinking, elected a Somali-American woman, Ilhan Omar, to the U.S. House of Representatives. And Tammy Duckworth won the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois, the one previously held by President Obama. She lost both her legs in Iraq where she was serving our country. Duckworth is the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress and has been very active in Veterans’ affairs. Kamala Harris is the first black woman elected from California to serve in the Senate. She has been attorney general in the that state. Her name is already being voiced as a possibility to run for the presidency in 2020. Her heritage is also Indian-American. Her mother immigrated from India. Women who represent all the colors and creeds of our society. This roster of elected officials give me hope.
And there are a host of other women serving in advisory positions in the U.S. Government who bring a flair for leadership and a real concern for our country. It was just 100 years ago Janette Rankin of Montana was the first woman elected to the U.S. Legislature. That is a legacy that is ours and one we cannot give up on.
I think what depressed me the most this week was thinking that once again Washington, D.C. is being taking over by the white, male, fantastically rich, old, domineering micro-segment of our society. For too long these are the individuals in Congress and elsewhere who have run our country, sometimes well, but most often for their own need for power and control. But there are more of us, the multitudes of men and woman who stand for all the values, carry all the integrity, and will work for what is needed. We may have to support ourselves, but look at the Sanders’ campaign. Do we need to rethink our political party structure, is it time for a viable third party? Perhaps. To return basic human values and justice to our lives we need to begin right where we are sitting. In an interview Kamala Harris said this is a turning point in America’s history. This isn’t about money and power. This is about people and that is what matters.