If you look back on the last five years instead of watching the news, you can see the positive changes and remain hopeful for the future
If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get discouraged every time you turn on the news to see what’s happening in America. Every time I go on social media, I read the posts of my conservative friends and family and for a moment I consider eliminating them from my group because of their outrageous and bigoted beliefs. Every time I read the headlines there is some group trying to keep people from voting, deny women their rights over their own bodies or championing the cause for inequality based on sexual orientation.
Frankly, the news can be overwhelmingly depressing. Sometimes I wonder openly “With so much fear, hate and ignorance in America is the battle for progressive ideas even worth the effort.” I wonder if there is still hope in America.
Time and time again, the answer is a resounding “YES!”
When I voted in 2008 I had faith that this time things would be different. This time we would grow a green economy and get off of oil. This time we would see equality win over bigotry. This time we would become a nation of peace. This time we would adhere to our founding principles that all men were created equal with the rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and equal treatment under the law. We would finally step out of the darkness of superstition and embrace the light of education. No longer would we be a nation living in fear of the unknown and we would once again become that shining beacon to the entire world as a people showing what it meant to be free.
I was filled with hope and the dream of change. Then in 2010 I got kicked in the groin fifty-six times. I thought the fight over the Affordable Care Act was bad. Then, once I saw the newly controlled House in action, I realized that the next few years would make the ACA battle look like a six-year-old child’s birthday party.
It’s been ugly folks, there’s no denying it. What we can’t lose sight of and what we can’t forget is that we have made great strides forward toward building the nation and society we want to leave to our children.
First and foremost we have made unimaginable progress towards true equality in this country. We have taken great steps toward equality for women; we now have more women in government than at any time in our history, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act is now law and we are, as a nation, fully capable of embracing a woman as President of the United States. Granted, that last one has a few people worried, but the vast majority of Americans no longer believe your qualifications to hold government office requires that you pee standing up.
A person’s sexual orientation no longer excludes them from serving their country. That is something which was unimaginable just a decade ago. Let that sink in for a moment then congratulate yourselves on that achievement alone. But wait; there’s more. Groups like Equality New Mexico have emerged in every state and as a result fifteen states now allow same sex marriage. Again, this issue started taking firm hold in 2003 and now a full third of Americans can marry the person they love and receive legal recognition. Better yet, we can fully see more states embracing same sex marriage. Because of progressives, soon the idea of “same sex marriage” will no longer exist; it will just be called “marriage”. There’s a burning light of hope in that.
The greatest proof of this fundamental change in the way we view gender and sexuality can be seen in our children. When I was in school, there were the knuckle-draggers that went out of their way to make life hell for any boy or girl that might have the slightest possibility of being homosexual. According to my grand- daughter who is a senior this year “If someone’s gay, it’s no big deal and if someone has an issue with that they have to deal with me and all my friends.”
Sadly there are still quite a few “kids” out there who make life hell for anyone who is different. However, more and more are finding out that they are not picking on one single child; they’re facing the majority of the school that won’t tolerate it. It’s not so much the teachers or the faculty that’s taking a stand against bullies, it’s the students. It’s the next generation that is proving they are better than we were. There’s a light of hope burning there.
Yes, Guantanamo is still open. No, we haven’t gotten off of oil. But the new Mayor of New York announced that he’s going to drop the city’s appeal to the stop and frisk ruling thus ending the practice in the city. That’s another step in a progressive direction. Another step is the open opposition to the Keystone pipeline.
The inescapable fact is that we have a long way to go and the battles are far from over; but if you step back and take a deep breath then look at what has changed in the past five years there is no denying that we are making progress. We are winning.
The best part of it all is that the Tea Party, Libertarians and Republicans are actually helping our cause. Yes, I can hear you gasp in disbelief, but if you think about it you will come to the same conclusion.
The number one lesson I learned from the Mitt Romney campaign is this: If you want to win a public debate, let the idiot keep talking. I need only reference the second presidential debate in 2012 and my favorite quote of President Obama: “Please proceed governor.”
Thankfully the idiots are talking their lips off! Be thankful for the Republicans, the Libertarians and the Tea Party folks. With America divided at forty-six percent conservative and forty-six percent progressive, that means that conservatives are going to have to share their votes three ways. So let them carry their guns down the street like they’re some sort of “well organized militia”. Let them scream and holler and throw tantrums like spoiled children that know less of how the world works than your average house cat.
Be thankful, because thanks to them and all of their guano-delusional conspiracy theories; progressives are the only adults left in the room and the American people are recognizing it. House Democrats got a million votes more than Republicans in 2012. With the government shut down, how many more votes do you think Democrats will get in 2014? Thank the Tea Party and Republicans for that.
The war for America’s soul is far from over, but if we stand together, support each other and educate ourselves and others with honest facts we will leave a better nation than we have now. Thankfully, we have people to look to for inspiration. Specifically, a twelve-year-old girl named Madison Kimrey comes to mind. She is proof that we are doing our part and the next generation is willing to take up the fight with us. We just need to keep our head’s up, link arms and keep walking forward.
Hope still burns in America.