Thank you to all of our candidates for running!
Well, any sense that we can let the failure of the Wisconsin Recall to wallow in dismay over the seeming-futility of our efforts was really kicked to dust this week by the latest instance of Republican bad behavior: banning female legislators in the Michigan legislature from speaking for two days after they’d dared to use the word “vagina” in speeches defending women’s reproductive health care. Apparently, the word was so offensive to their delicate sensibilities that they had no other recourse, even as they passed an extremely restrictive anti-choice bill, banning all abortions after 20 weeks even if the health of the mother was at risk or was the victim of rape, or if the fetus was extremely impaired (no brain or spine). Why would female representatives have an opinion about such a matter and dare to speak it on the floor? Our government is full enough of these narrow people, and we cannot let them win any more seats at any level: they are just too destructive, willing to take away or deny rights to broad swathes of people in the name of their own “rights.” Get mad, organize, do the work to make them pay for their arrogance: by losing elections. Although some public humiliation never hurts either ….
Last week’s meeting was terrific: Aldermen Fioretti and Waguespack spoke to us. Their take-home message was that they need more progressive allies in City Council: not only do we need to organize in more wards, we need to run more candidates against the entrenched. They spoke about the progressive caucus in the City Council, and the need to pick their battles carefully. Out of a list of over 50 critical things they drew up to work on, they are attempting to whittle it down to ten – to be able to devote some time and resources to actually accomplishing those ten goals. The larger the coalition, the more they can get done: so they need more members. Questions were asked about the strike vote taken by the teachers, the recycling program, the infrastructure bank, the parking meter fiasco, the policing problems.
We also shared stories of our trips to Wisconsin: canvassing in neighborhoods where the houses were FAR apart and down long driveways, talking to voters, the big race lost and the senate seat won. Steve Spagnolo talked of his experience canvassing on Election Day: three shifts, split between Race and Milwaukee, of the hopes fading as the race was being called while people were still standing in line to vote in Milwaukee.
Next, there were stories of the protests at the NATO summit: the common theme was a feeling of intimidation by the police force, and as the Veterans for Peace protest was winding down of deliberate provocation by the police of the ensuing violence, hemming people in, refusing to let people leave peacefully. It was noted that the Occupy Chicago movement had had a relatively good relationship with the police last fall, but the summit changed all that, and left a damaged relationship. It was noted that the “NATO Three” – those arrested on suspicion of terrorism right before the summit – were the same three who had been videotaped several days before during a traffic stop in which the cops had threatened them: “we know where you live.”
At the end of the meeting, after discussion and unanimously, we voted to endorse Leslie Coolidge, running for Congress in the 6th Congressional District. Her campaign is eligible for an adoption vote at July’s meeting. Her campaign notes: “The key to winning this election is to have a stronger voter contact operation than Peter Roskam. And there is no more convincing form of voter contact than personal outreach by committed volunteers. If you can help, please call Nancy at 847-340-0262 or contact us at email@example.com.” Metra goes out to Barrington and Palatine: they are always willing to arrange pick-up from the station if you let them know when you intend to come out. She’ll be marching with supporters in parades in Palatine (June 30), and July 4 – parades in Barrington, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn and Downer’s Grove.
Yes, parade season is coming up, and we have a number of endorsed candidates to march with: Tammy Duckworth, Leslie Coolidge, Debra Shore, Kari Steele, Marty Moylan – marching with any of these candidates will count towards voting membership: just let us know at northsideDFA@gmail.com. Indeed, let us know about any work you do for these candidates, or fundraisers you attend for them – it all counts, and all moves us toward a more progressive and forward-thinking government.
Also, please consider becoming a “supporter” of Leslie Coolidge’s campaign on the DFA website: http://www.democracyforamerica.com/campaigns/4647-coolidge-for-congress