While I am horrified by the current political situation, I am proud that my participation in Occupy Wall Street, alongside the participation of tens of thousands of other people across the country, has led the emergence of Democratic candidates at all levels of government willing to fight this.
The moments being singled out as highlights of the first two Democratic debates for president were entirely unthinkable less than ten years ago. Supporting abolishing private health insurance entirely was considered a “no-go” during the Obama administration, but in the last two nights has emerged as a basic prerequisite to be considered seriously as a Democratic presidential candidate.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren deserve all the support we can give them and then some. That said, the groundwork that primed the general public to realize they don’t need to tolerate being treated like shit by the self-appointed masters of the universe happened in Zuccotti and dozens (hundreds?) of other Occupy Wall Street groups who, like myself, sacrificed their time, their sleep, and frequently their future employment prospects to guide the US away from the precipice of oligarchic fascism.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez would not be the trailblazing progressive celebrity she is now if we all hadn’t spent months living in public/mixed-use parks educating the public that the rich and their sycophants were in the process of eating us all alive. She has used the platform she’s been given to tremendous effect and she refuses to back down when the truth is threatened. The migrant detention facilities ARE concentration camps.
Meanwhile, the old guard of the Democrats are promising a substanceless “return to the past” not that far from what Trump was selling. If we get a Biden presidency where Biden decides to ignore GOP obstruction/fascism tactics to play to optics about us all “getting along”, then Mitch McConnell is still effectively the POTUS.
Obama did this repeatedly, rolling over whenever McConnell whined enough, first on single-payer in the ACA negotiations and then by deciding not to inform the public about Russian election interference until it was too late. Governance by “When they go low, we roll over.”
The result? Obama is now watching his political legacy burn to the ground. The Dem party constituents no longer buy the idea that we need to make constant concessions to the GOP just because they’re there and have the backing of racist rich people and corporations. The ACA will probably get mangled. His protections for National Parks were unilaterally thrown out the window. His buddy buddy, former “Diamond” Joe, is being outed as a racist, sexist, and extremely ineffective legislator by other 2020 candidates.
Unlike “Diamond” Joe, they recognize we’re in a crisis situation that calls for strong and aggressive leadership from the left.