Sometimes the constant barrage of bad news is enough to make you want to stay in bed. Forever.
The prospect of a nuclear conflict with North Korea. The very real possibility that the GOP will open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. The truly nightmarish tax-slash bill that will set social-democratic institutions on an accelerated path to decline. The president’s despicable endorsement of Islamophobic propaganda. The likelihood that the alleged pedophile and confirmed bigot Roy Moore may become a US senator. All this, and more, can coalesce into a feeling of despair so consuming that resistance seems futile.
Fortunately, many people have kept on all the same and, thanks to their tireless advocacy and activism, there are signs—recent signs—that a better America may yet emerge out of the crisis. Remember the beginning of November—November 8, to be exact?
That’s when progressives, socialists, and other grassroots forces swept to victory at the ballot box. From New Mexico and New York to Minnesota and Montana, they took seats on school boards, in state legislatures, in city halls, and elsewhere. And they did it by offering concrete solutions to people’s daily problems.
In Virginia, Danica Roem campaigned on a platform to fix her community’s local highway, Route 28. Her relentless focus on practical concerns helped her unseat her socially conservative opponent—a man so far to the right he’s been described as “the culture war’s four-star general”—and become the first openly transgender person in history to take a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. In Somerville, Massachusetts, a slate of socialists and progressives ran local campaigns that homed in on the need for affordable and alternative housing models there. Together, they won seven seats on that city’s Board of Alderman. In Philadelphia, the longtime civil-rights lawyer Larry Krasner became the district attorney after running a race that addressed the devastating problem of mass incarceration in that city. He promised to oppose the death penalty, end cash-bail payments and treat addiction as a medical problem rather than a crime, and voters turned out for him in droves.