Politicians historically have paid attention to voting classes that might help get them elected, and ignored marginalized voters. They fought for the local vote — whatever their version of local might have been. Maybe they fought for your vote, too, in election seasons if you were part of “their” constituency.
A great many people got thwacked up the side of the head HARD recently. Please don’t dump this blog en masse, but I’d like to say maybe that’s NOT such a terrible thing. Maybe we needed this election. Democrats needed to realize they were losing large chunks of the union vote — and for good reason I’d say. If these guys are the unions’ friends, I’d hate to see our enemies. Right now my Facebook feed is full of posts from desperate teachers who are hoping to receive their pensions, pensions they paid for year by year, paycheck by paycheck.
I was not nearly as surprised as many friends when election returns rolled in. I’d thought the election would not follow the numbers expected. Did the democrats honestly expect people in Flint, Michigan, and other nearby Heartland areas would stay in their corner? Why? The sitting government systematically poisoned their children. For that matter, when Donald Trump asked the inner city African-Americans to vote for him and said, “What do you have to lose?” I thought he had a point. I live less than an hour from South Chicago. A few years ago, I served on a jury that convicted a man of murder for a gang action down there. That gang action had been revenge for a previous killing a few days before. Lately, papers have been pointing out that Chicago’s murder rate is not as bad as implied because other cities also have high murder rates. Ummm…no. The fact that we are shooting each other all over the place does not diminish the problem in Chicago. For one thing, we need to focus on who is getting shot. Chicago’s problem is mostly a south-side problem located in gang territories, and those kids getting shot tend to be African-American kids because of the de facto segregation in that city.
Who will help those neighborhoods? So far, no one has. That’s unacceptable.
Eduhonesty: I have been trying to write happy posts and this post took an unexpected turn. But I did intend to point out a positive and I do see one. More and more focus is falling on South Chicago. And a great number of stunned coastal democrats have realized that the Heartland has been suffering, losing jobs and hope, blow by blow, until those voters decided to try to take the whole system down and blow up the status quo.
When that many people become so desperately unhappy, the time for soul-searching has arrived. Now that the election is over, I talk to many people involved in that soul-searching. What happened? Why did it happen? How can we fix this mess? Millions of people suddenly came awake.
For South Chicago and the world, that newfound awareness may turn out to be exactly what people needed. The oh-it’s-sad-but-I-have-to-get-to-my-pilates-class mentality has shifted. People are taking trains to protests instead of cars to coffee shops. We are energized and motivated. Now we have to learn to talk to each other and LISTEN. But I believe that can happen. That’s part of being a teacher. You don’t give up. You communicate. And communicate. And communicate. You keep going until you get somewhere. You fix what you can.
My positive for the day: I have friends who have gone out for rallies this last year, many of whom had never spent a day inside the political scene before. Activism is rising. New voices are demanding that government respond to their needs.
Democracy will be the better for these startled, new voices.