I’m traveling between Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, two bitterly divided states as the mid-term elections are upon us. These are states where millions have been spent on slick advertising designed to elicit straight party line votes. Advertisements have been fear baiting and relentless in divide and conquer tactics pitting neighbors against one another. The threat of violence and voter intimidation is on the rise and there are candidates throughout the country declaring they may not accept election results.
There are candidates who would turn back the clock on LGBTQ rights in the same way the clock was turned back on a women’s right to choose her own healthcare. These are people who would be content to see our history whitewashed, immigration sidelined, and workers rights eroded. If Governor Evers loses, Wisconsin could face a MAGA governor who sees himself as an old western sheriff. Movements towards restorative justice and efforts to end racial profiling will be dealt heavy blows.
The question before us cannot be: which side are you on, because it is not that simple. There is another consideration that we have not tried. And it lies in the question; can we choose to be human?
Can we afford more escalation of violence? Can we continue on the ill fated belief that hard work alone is all that is needed for success, as we watch more and more of our people slide into poverty? Being human is not about following doctrines and leaders. It is about compassion and dignity. And government should not be about power; it is about caring for all of us.
I will always believe the violent are the minority of people, but I am equally certain it is the silence of those who know better that allow the violent to win.
This is not a moment for silence.
Enjoy Which Side Are You On, a labor movement classic sung by Natalie Merchant.
And then there is this: Power to the People by Patti Smith.
Regardless of the outcome, our effort continues.