I’ve said before that I’m a political animal at heart. I’ve engaged with parties and politicians since before I was old enough to vote, and have walked to the polling station for every single opportunity since turning 18. Local, National and European elections – I didn’t miss a single one, and I don’t intend to miss any in the future.
What this has created in me, through those years of interest, research, watching, listening, and reading, is – rather unsurprisingly – someone who now sits firmly in the centre of things.
That means that if you’re successful, hard working, and amass a huge personal fortune – good for you. Being rich isn’t a crime – although being poor shouldn’t be treated like one.
Somehow, it is….
I hate seeing people who, whether by their own decisions or not, suffer through lack of health, housing, or opportunity. What I hate even more, however, is seeing people who look at that community and either don’t care or don’t want to care.
So here’s a story for you, hot off the press.
In the Democratic Primary for New York’s 14th Congessional District, a candidate called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a twenty-eight year old woman with no prior political experience in office at any level, just defeated her opponent Joseph Crowley, a nineteen-year representative who was tipped to become the next House Minority Leader. Outspent 18-1 in campaign funding, she stood on some pretty clear policies, which resonated with voters, and which have elicited a fairly unusual response from Republicans.
What were these policies?
- Universal, single-payer healthcare for all as a right.
- Housing as a right.
- Higher Education for all.
- Women’s rights.
- Support for Senior Citizens.
- Mobilization against Climate Change.
- Financial controls and the restoration of the Glass Steagall Act, which was put in place to prevent bankers gambling with funds after the 2007 crash.
- Criminal Justice reform
- Clean campaign finance
- Immigration justice and the abolition of ICE
- Gun control, and an assault weapons ban
- Solidarity with Puerto Rico
Now, I don’t see anything there that I’d disagree with.
However – as evidenced by the reaction of the right-wing media and people such as Sean Hannity on Fox News, these are (and I quote) “scary policies”…
What he is saying, is that there are people in this world who would look at a homeless person, and actively appreciate that they are not paying anything in taxes to provide shelter. Who would hear of a neighbour who died because they couldn’t afford to fill prescriptions or go to the doctor, and be actively happy that they weren’t contributing to anybody’s healthcare needs but their own. Who would picket and protest outside clinics providing medical care for pregnant women who might be seeking abortions, and then actively campaign for these children to be denied the opportunity of education, food, welfare, healthcare, housing, or even the chance to feel safe at school. Who see events like the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, where five journalists were murdered after the President called them ‘the enemy of the people’ (by the way, the 195th mass shooting in America – this year) and then go merrily home to oil their AR-15. And who see the faces of children forcibly removed from their parents, held in cages, sedated and assaulted, and happily ignore this abhorrent state-sponsored abuse because, after all, it’s not like these are our children…
This is what happens when a party values having power more than they value the responsibility of wielding power. When they think they are the masters, when in reality they are the servants. When they care more about the people paying them donations and kick-backs than the people whose votes put them in office, and can so easily kick them out. And that is where the real future of power lies.
I truly believe that this US administration have unwittingly shown people that it’s time they took back power – power against corporations and corporate greed, power against the corrupt and the corrupted, power against those who misuse power for personal gain and to further hateful agendas.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ victory in the Primary is one big step in the right direction – one of many steps being taken as the US heads towards their November mid-term elections, which with a voter backlash against the incumbent republicans could see much-needed change and long-overdue humanity coming back to society.