Salt, in moderation, improves the flavor of most foods. So too with politics. The victory of President Obama and many other progressive and anti-right-wing campaigns was decisive, and satisfying in high degree, because of some salt. A broad section of the American working class shrugged its mighty shoulders in unity at the class, racial, ethnic, gender and anti-democratic stink coming from the Republican Party.
Outrage at the voter suppression efforts of the Koch Brothers and other reactionary forces fueled an upsurge that exceeded all that the organized campaign, union, and other mobilization centers hoped for. As the campaign reached a conclusion, I witnessed many anecdotal examples of good calls turning into volunteer organizers energetic about reaching out to their neighbors and community.
Not to mention the critical social networking arenas: Michelle Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s speeches at the Democratic Party convention. In addition, the web exposures of Romney’s disdainful donor “chat” reached truly vast circulation.
Clinton boosters give Bill Clinton a lot of credit as proxy for Obama. I give him credit too-he did a great job in this campaign. But the truth is, Obama had a million proxies!
The emerging America is a deeply multi-national, multi-racial culture. It is a living testimony that the defeat of segregation has indeed yielded a promise of a more perfect union. It is a union where the full participation of women will not be denied. It is a union of many peoples, and lifestyles, music and art, sport and game, craft, food, and dress. The post-war millionaires’ country club culture, and all its baggage, will rule no more as long as that unity holds. The beauty, diversity, talent, creativity, of this new culture will exceed all that have preceded it in greatness.
I am savoring the mass rejection of the racist messages of the Romney campaign; Austerity Economics – at least its worst advocates (“solve unemployment with more layoffs”); extremist positions on women’s health, and the never-ending drug wars and criminalization.
Relished too are the I’m-not-buying-it-this-time” attitude toward right-wing distortions of Obamacare and assassinations of the president’s character. Ditto on the electorate’s affirmation of same sex marriage.
Now we face the fiscal cliff. Positions are still in play. For the working class, the defense of Social Security and Medicare benefits, unemployment compensation, education, infrastructure and health care investments are key. This is important not only for working families but for everyone.
If workers lose income, there will be no sustainable economic recovery. How can there be? Who hires if customers are not coming in the store? Our unity will be tested. But we know now a piece of the feeling of winning, of surviving the savage counterattack of finance and right-wing capital against the mandate of the original Obama administration to put JOBS first. We know the feeling. And like any good feeling – let’s do it again!
Flavorful indeed was the 2012 election. With a little more salt, a perfect dish might be achieved!
Photo: Election victory celebration. AP