Now that the Democratic Party won back the House of Representatives, we can all take some time off from activism and watch more movies on Netflix right? NO! Without significant pressure from below, our representatives, from both parties, will remain beholden to their donors and seek a political agenda that serves the elite, their "owners". We can't let that happen. As we move towards the 2020 presidential/congressional elections, its so important to be affiliated with various progressive groups to push a peace, green, fair wage, health care for all, and non-discriminatory agenda. The progressive agenda is not esoteric or unreasonable. It is otherwise known as we get to survive on this planet, we get to go to the doctor when sick, we get to pay our rent, we get to send our children to college without having to mortgage our homes, and we get to notice and speak out against shameless acts of greed and ignorance directed towards the voiceless and powerless who cannot protect themselves.
Today, I had a number of activities planned. In addition to working at my job, there is homework to do and rain boots to purchase for my daughter's field trip tomorrow (forecast is not good). Add to this the every day activities of being a wife and mother and I am not a person looking for more to do! This morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee and still reveling in the 2018 election results, I learned of the obstruction of justice by the Trump White House into the Mueller investigation. Though we had been anticipating this offensive response by the Trump politicos for some time in reaction to any loss of power, watching the actual event turned out to be more grotesque than I imagined. Once again, I will reprioritize my life to show up and stand up to this injustice. Once again, I rushed to the basement to look for a poster board that I will color and design on my lunch break at work. Frantically, I will search out information on the internet about where to go and arrange for child care. This is the life I have been living with so many other people of conscience since the 2016 elections. Mad dashes to Michael's Crafts for markers and poster boards. Endless arrangements with relatives and friends to meet up or help one another with childcare so we can show up for our children, our future, and our world. This is my life now and I accept it.
Thinking global but acting local this past month, grannies Lois Durso, Jean Haskell, Reenie Boehm, and Paula Paul met with the legislative representatives of Congressman Dwight Evans to explore ways to further support the No First Strike bill in Congress. They discussed ways to more widely educate people about the No First Strike bill and the dangers of our current nuclear policy.
The group discussed ways to work together in the future to foster awareness of nuclear weapons issues/funding. Pushing for advocacy such as making phone calls and letter writing, we brainstormed ways individual citizens can take action now to prevent catastrophe. As it turned out, Rep Evans' district representative has a strong background in international relations and shares our concern about nuclear weapons and possible nuclear confrontations.
In this same vein, GPBP members initiated a bill with Councilmember Helen Gym in support of a resolution calling on the City of Philadelphia to urge Congress to pass bills in the House and Senate, namely the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. This resolution, which was passed by city council, prohibits the President of the United States from launching a “nuclear first strike” without a declaration of war by Congress. The Resolution was introduced to Council by Councilmember Helen Gym and Councilmember Derek Greek. It was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Cherelle Parker, Blondell Reynolds-Brown, and William Greenlee.
These efforts speak to the now famous quote by Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has". While we may not be able to exert influence on world leaders, we can take action in our own backyard to effect change with likeminded people. While famous leaders grab headlines and "make history" let us not forget the millions of people that no one will ever know about that made their influence possible. We are the thoughtful, committed citizens that will change the world with others of like mind and spirit.
We are still working for health care as a human right rather than a privilege or a commodity to be sold to those who can pay. Denial of basic human rights is the worst type of violence. It can go unnoticed or justified by lawmakers who claim providing universal coverage would be a step towards socialism. The Pew Research Center reports that 60% of Americans now support a single payer system, while only 39% feel that the government should not be involved in health care. This clear majority has stood firm in this belief since January 2017.
The United States now lags behind eleven developed countries, ahead of the U.S. in both economic freedom and the achievement of universal coverage. HealthCare 4 All, a Pennsylvania based citizen movement working to ensure health care for all people, is working to reverse this trend. Activists from across the state will be joining together on Saturday, December 2, 2017, from 5-7 PM, in the Chapel of Arch Street Methodist Church (55 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia), to discuss recent victories and plan future efforts. There are victories happening opponents don't want anyone to know about. Check out this website to learn how other states are leading the way in this effort.
Many obstacles remain, most notably the enormous cost of a medicare for all system. Proposals to tax corporations and the wealthy, or to close tax loopholes are often shut out of the mainstream political discourse. Most states are implementing a payroll tax to pay for the coverage, which will likely erode support from an already strapped middle class.
Finally! Imagine... leaving a job and not having to pay COBRA or worry about doing without healthcare if you lose your job. Imagine NOT having to take a job you hate just to have health insurance. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on March 24, Bernie Sanders, the outreach chair of the Democratic Party, announced that he will re-introduce a single-payer health care bill. “We have got to have the guts to take on the insurance companies and the drug companies and move forward to a Medicare-for-all single-payer program. I will be introducing legislation shortly to do that.” Get ready to call your elected officials as this is going to be a BIG fight!!!!! This is our chance as a progressive movement to finally get health care for all Americans. The CEOs of big pharma and insurance companies are going to fight to the death because its there jobs and fortunes at stake so get ready, get ready, get ready! Please use our elected officials page to find your representatives and start calling now for a single payer system. This is our moment!!!!!
The women's march has come and gone but the work is just beginning. I don't know about you but I feel overwhelmed. Just days after the march, I am inundated with requests to send letters to Congress and call legislators about this or that issue. Every few minutes I see another email or Facebook notification to sign a petition or join a new progressive organization. At one point, I was feeling so overwhelmed, I just sat and stared straight ahead like a deer caught in headlights.
Then it dawned on me. I can just do one thing at a time! I don't have to do it all! Revelation! I began to feel a flood of relief. So I looked at the first of many emails asking me to take action. I picked up the phone and called my senator and left a message. The next day, I typed up two letters, one to each Senator in my state, with a heart felt plea to consider the progressive people's agenda. On my way home from work today, I will make one more call to the Congress. Tomorrow, I will do one more thing, either a phone call to Congress or another letter to my representatives in the house about women's health care. Later in the week, I will join the protests at the Loews Hotel to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the Center for Popular Democracy against the agenda of billionaires.
Its important to remember that each of us has a small but important part to play. We don't have to do it all. There are millions of us in the 99% and we all have a part to play if change is going to come.
As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his New York Times bestseller The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
"In the same way as a virus can spread rapidly through a population, so too can behavior change, particularly within a group. For instance, a small action by one individual within a crowd can influence the actions of other individuals within the crowd, and so on, until the behavior becomes widespread. Thus, small, initial changes have the potential to make significant differences overall."
As we count down the days to inauguration we are witnessing a huge push forward with the progressive movement. This is a historic opportunity to mobilize and come together to push a progressive agenda for peace and human rights for all. Join us this Saturday 1/21/17 at the Women’s March in Philadelphia to plan our initiatives for the new year. Let us know your thoughts and concerns with the movement and how we can use the current climate to motivate women and men alike to take action.