I know I said August was the time to take a refrain from politics, and that remains so. And I’m trying to get back to posting more regularly, so here it is. I am reading less this month, but came across this article that I found interesting, and a good idea. It is making the case that the Dems may be looking at the minimum wage issue as the key focus for the 2014 midterms. I think that would be a great strategy, a winning strategy, and a needed strategy. Leader Pelosi says they want to keep it simple as they did in 2006, and just keep asking, “We want to raise the minimum wage, and (Republicans) don’t. Why not?” We’ve discussed at length why the Republicans don’t, and why it should be raised. I’m not here to rehash those arguments today.
Rather, I’m here to declare this a success of the Occupy movement. I’ve heard way too often–even from Jim recently–that Occupy didn’t accomplish anything. Or that it was a failure. Or in some other way should be discredited. Yet I don’t think there is any way the Democrats would even remotely be considering making the minimum wage issue a key one for 2014 if it had not been for Occupy. And looking historically, for something that started just under two years ago, it is way too early to call it a success or failure or missed opportunity, or anything else. All things considered, they have changed the conversation in America, which is quite remarkable.
The abolitionist movement in the United States began at least as early as the 1830s. History shows the shortsightedness of those who said the movement failed in, say, 1835.
Having already worked on the issues for a long time, in 1867 Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Stanton addressed a subcommittee of the New York State Constitutional Convention demanding women’s suffrage be included. It was common in the years following to say their movement had failed. In 1920 enough states had ratified the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote that it became the law of the land.
In his 1954 state of the union address, President Eisenhower supported the fight to allow 18 year old citizens the right to vote. By 1956 it was easy to say that movement was a failure. The 26th amendment, giving 18 year old citizens the right to vote, became law of the land in 1971.
You can look at any movement that changed the country or the world, and you see it takes time. Certainly that is true of the Civil Rights movement, of the gay rights movement, of the environmental movement. And all of these movements also show that the fight is always ongoing. Some with power are now doing all they can to make it more difficult for people who are 18 to vote. The supreme court just set back voting rights for minorities. So the fight continues. It is never fully won. It is ongoing. All we can say from looking at history is that if we say something failed two years after it started, we aren’t looking at history. We have to take the long view. Good change takes time. I wish it could happen overnight, and history also shows us that is rarely if ever possible.
We used to hear people complain of the MTV generation, where people had short attention spans and wanted instant gratification. We have moved way past the MTV generation. Heck, they had 3 minute music videos. We’ve moved to the Twitter generation. If you can’t get your point across in 140 characters, which takes maybe 8 seconds to read, you are a failure, your movement can be dismissed. Good change takes time. Political change takes time. The fight goes on one day at at time, and it cannot be contained in a tweet.
Let us now support the Democratic effort to make raising the minimum wage a key issue in the 2014 midterm elections. The fight goes on.