Elections 2018: Our lives and the planet are in the balance!

On the first anniversary of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., January 2018, women and families marched in cities across the country encouraging people to vote for alternatives in the 2018 mid-term elections. Cindy Garcia, whose husband Jorge Garcia had just been deported to Mexico after living in the U.S. for nearly 30 years, spoke to the Lansing, MI rally, with her children by her side. Cindy Garcia is a member of United Auto Workers Local 600.
PHOTO/JIMWESTPHOTO.COM

 

“We’re suffering. We’re dying. Our kids aren’t being properly educated. Our water is poisoned. Our air is sickening. You deserve better.”

This cry from the heart was uttered by Kerri Evelyn Harris while she was a candidate for the U.S. Senate during a primary debate in Wilmington, Delaware. Although Harris ultimately did not win the nomination she sought, the fervent plea of this 38-year-old Air Force veteran and community activist brilliantly summarized what’s at stake in the mid-term elections.

With Election Day approaching fast, the lesson of the primary season is clear: Voters are NOT inspired by candidates who are millionaire milquetoast moderates!

In recent months, there has been a change in public opinion—a dramatic increase in support for universal health care, free public education, and a $15 minimum wage. Many of the candidates who champion those proposals are gaining support. The voters want candidates they feel will stand up for them.

This can be seen in cities like Detroit where former state legislator Rashida Tlaib won a congressional nomination. She is now poised to enter the U.S. House of Representatives after fighting for years to clean up environmental dangers in her district. (She fought to remove mounds of petroleum processing waste piled up along the Detroit River by a company owned by the billionaire Koch brothers.) It can be seen in the stunning victory of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Democratic primary for governor in Florida. (Gillum, a vocal critic of the Trump EPA, has called climate change a “crisis” facing Florida and is committed to fighting for health care for all.)

The mid-term election is shaping up to be a referendum on what kind of country people want America to be—and what kind of planet we’ll leave to our descendants. On one side will be candidates who support universal health care and want to protect the environment. On the other side will be those who want to give free rein to corporate polluters and health industry profiteers —so they can gouge the sick and scar the earth.

The defenders of the one percent have shown that they will do anything to win—including using the worst kind of racialized scare-mongering and hatred of women for having the audacity to take leadership. This year, we have a chance to stand up to all that ugly fascist demagoguery. We are in the midst of a tremendous upsurge manifesting itself at the ballot box. Today, those taking the fight for justice into the voting booth are part of a growing social movement to demand that the government be our government and provide for people’s basic needs. The battle underway is ultimately a fight to take this country away from the billionaire class and reorganize society, creating an entirely new system. It is class warfare—a fight for power.

This Election Day—and beyond—let’s continue to build the power to end corporate rule, the rule of the billionaires who are destroying our health, our lives, and our planet!

 

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