The annual civic celebration of the 4th of July is my favorite secular holiday. It is a reminder of our revolutionary origins and the triumph of Enlightenment values over the heavy, dead hand of the feudal values that still governed the British Empire in 1776. As a mass event, it unites the whole community in collective celebration of our shared identity, based on a common civic creed. Anglos and Latinos, young and old, rich and poor alike enjoy the annual 4th of July holiday. Just because I’m a democratic socialist doesn’t mean that I don’t love America and the 4th of July with all the wild parades and booming fireworks!Regional politics were, as usual, far more wholesome than national politics, for the most part. My candidate for County Sheriff, John Mutz, won a surprising second place finish, decisively defeating long-term local politician Ernesto Olivares. John and I did a radio interview on KSVY 91.3 FM Sonoma show ‘Hey Neighbor’ with host Ken Brown and co-host Wally Briteman on June 20th. John laid out his views on 21stcentury law enforcement and we both congratulated Mark Essick for his victory and extended our support for his success in a very challenging job as the new Sheriff.
More good news: my other political project for 2018, Dan Monte for 10th Assembly District, has made it through to the general election. I am volunteering with Dan’s campaign to write and edit letters to the editor and op-ed pieces. Mark my words; we will win the air war! We may have 1/10th the amount of money that the incumbent, Marc Levine, has in his war chest, but we have a dedicated core group of movement progressives who will make sure that by November, Dan’s excellent progressive agenda will be well known throughout the district.
The news of the week for my progressive Democrat political allies was the surprising win for AOC (Alexandria Octavio-Cortez) in a NYC district that had been in the hands of a ten-term Democratic congressman, Joe Crowley. To his credit, he was gracious in defeat in a win that shocked both candidates. AOC is a 28-year-old progressive running as a Democrat who is a member of DSA and was fully backed by the Bernie Sanders post-election organization, Our Revolution, as well as the TYT-affiliated progressive PAC Justice Democrats. AOC is the answer to Bernie Sander’s secular prayers. She is our new political rock star.
One of the reasons that Bernie Sanders, like his British counter-part Labor leader Jeremy Corbin, are so deeply and viscerally loved by millions of their voters is that they are both remarkably free of a kind of personal ego and ambition that is standard for most politicians. It is really not about them; it’s about the issues that they have been dedicated to for their entire careers. They are delighted to see fresh young talent on the scene picking up the progressive torch that they carried for all these years.
CNN interviewed Bernie shortly after the announcement of AOC’s stunner win in NYC, and I could not keep from laughing with joy watching the 1,000 watt 180’ smile on Bernie’s face at the opening shot of the segment. He looked like a proud Jewish grandpa announcing the Bat Mitzvah of one of his granddaughters! It was the one spot of light in an otherwise grim week that struck deep dread in our hearts.
The impending retirement of Justice Kennedy was a thunderclap that I believe is the prelude to a long-brewing constitutional crisis. Mitch McConnell will be recorded in history as a soulless, conniving villain who finally broke the back of our constitutional republic by refusing to even discuss seating President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. I do believe in God and I would like to petition Him to commence some smiting!
When the Democrats take over Congress in 2018, God willing, the first order of business is to stop the presses and address McConnell’s judicial coup. No further Supreme Court justices should be approved for the duration of Trump’s term. You want a compromise? Merrick Garland or go pound sand!
If we want to restore regular order, it should start with a formal censure of McConnell in the Senate and prosecution and impeachment of the vile Devin Nunes for his contempt for the rule of law in his role as head of the House Intelligence Committee. Scott Pruitt cannot be allowed to finish his demolition of the EPA. We have some serious scores to settle here.
We can’t just hit the reset button, as Obama attempted.
We need to restore rule of law with some teeth. The culture of cruelty in the authoritarian Right has emboldened guys like Stephen Miller and legions of alt-right Breitbart Pepe trolls to cheerfully feast on liberal tears, like nectar for their shriveled souls.
We need to end the social culture of political impunity. That’s our response to the demolition of civic norms by the Republican Party, going back years to the Gingrich Congress of 1994. The basic maxim for activists: “It’s not over until we win!”