The President's Column: As Real As It Gets

October 23, 2018

by George Gresham

GG_PressRelease_fa.jpgSisters and Brothers, there are only a few days to go before Election Day, when the fate of our families, communities and country will be decided.

For those of you who know the game of poker (I’m not encouraging it), there sometimes comes a point at the end of the evening when someone calls “table stakes.” This means that all the players are betting all their money on the next hand of cards: everyone is all in. That’s where we are in the political life of our country.

Right now, both houses of Congress and the White House are controlled by far-right wing, workerhostile politicians. We have just gone through a shameful power-grab by these same forces to hijack democracy and turn the U.S. Supreme Court into a wholly-owned subsidiary of their interests and corporate America. After denying even a hearing, let alone a vote, to President Obama’s nominee to the Court, the GOP-controlled Senate is allowing President Trump, who lost the popular election by three million votes, to appoint (at least) two justices to the Court. These people will determine what is “constitutional” for the next generation. We are witnessing nothing less than a slow-motion coup d’état.

If it wasn’t clear before, we now know the ruthlessness of these people. Everything is on the line. That is not an overstatement. So, on Tuesday, November 6, it’s table stakes for us.

All of us must vote on November 6. In these days before the election, we’ve got to be talking with our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and the folks who worship where we worship.

President Trump is not on the ballot, but hundreds of his supporters are. And if they win, they are coming after the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and Medicare, and Social Security. They’ll also be coming for our collective bargaining rights, our occupational safety and health, the minimum wage, and family leave. These people aim to destroy immigrant rights, voting rights, reproductive rights, civil rights, LBGTQ rights and to dismantle every progressive initiative of the last century. At risk are our public schools, Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP), the U.S. Postal Service, and basic laws protecting our air and water.

How do we know this? Because they keep saying so. They’ve already made a big head start in just the first two years of the Trump presidency. But at the same time, if we do what we need to do and take care of business, we can finally begin to turn our country around. We can make history, for example, by electing progressive governors like Ben Jealous in Maryland, Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia.

The entire House of Representatives is up for election; so is one third of the Senate. If we take back Congress, we will have built a wall against the Trump presidency and the drive to turn back the clock. For several months, the news media has been talking about the possibility of a Blue Wave and Democrats taking back the House of Representatives, and perhaps the Senate. Public opinion polls back up the talk, but that’s just chatter and polls. Remember what the polls were telling us up to Nov. 6, 2016? We woke up on November 7 with Donald J. Trump as our next president.

So, this isn’t the time for apathy or leaving things for another day or to someone else. Forget the talk and the polls. There will be a Blue Wave only if we make it happen. All of us must vote on November 6. In these days before the election, we’ve got to be talking with our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and the folks who worship where we worship. We’ve got to make time for phone calls and door-knocking. (Your delegate or organizer can give you times and places.) Most important, we’ve got to act like we’re fighting for our lives because that’s exactly what we’re doing. For real.

1199 Magazine | September - October 2018