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Let's Talk About It: Good Soldiers



Editor's note: This is one in a series of opinion pieces solicited by the Journal. In the immediate aftermath of Nov. 8, it became very clear that people need safe spaces to discuss their ideas and feelings, and generally process what was the ugliest and most vitriolic presidential contest in generations. To that end, we reached out to a variety of community stakeholders, people who we felt could help starts this community dialogue. The response was overwhelming, and a full list of submissions complete with links can be found at the bottom of this post. We hope you'll also join the conversation by commenting online, writing letters to the editor and talking to each other.

On Election Day, the people of California gave Hillary Clinton and Democratic candidates across the state a resounding vote of support. Indeed, she is on course to win California by a greater margin than Barak Obama.

We are shocked, horrified and deeply saddened that our flawed presidential electoral system has allowed a racist, misogynistic demagogue to emerge as president-elect. In his campaign, this man advocated policies that are fundamentally contrary to basic American values. The incoming administration will usher in dark days for immigrants, health care and the environment. Civil rights and a woman's right to choose will be under attack from the federal government.

Fortunately, California has Democratic leadership that will stand up to the extremist Republican administration. Gov. Jerry Brown has said, "As Californians, we will also stay true to our basic principles. We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time — devastating climate change." Senate President pro tem Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, stated, "We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution. California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future." Eric Bauman, vice-chair of the California Democratic Party, is calling on the governor and Legislature to pass state constitutional amendments and statutes to protect Californians from "the grim and cynical vision that Donald Trump has laid out for America."

Re-elected Congressman Jared Huffman has promised to resist Mr. Trump should he continue "down the path of authoritarianism, misogyny, xenophobia, racism, mass deportations, religious and ideological tests for immigrants, and climate change denial." Our Senator-elect, Kamala Harris pledged to defend immigrant rights and concluded, "It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So we must be vigilant. Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are."

Indeed, the Republicans have wrested control of government but they do not represent America. They have no mandate from the American people. Hillary is projected to have won the popular vote by a greater margin than Al Gore in 2000, Richard Nixon in 1968 and John Kennedy in 1960. Unfortunately, we have the 227-year-old Electoral College system of indirect election of our presidents. My 8-year-old granddaughter understands that the winner of an election should be the person with the most votes. Her post-election comment was, "It isn't fair." But the Republicans will never allow a fair electoral system so long as they can stay in power by frustrating the will of the people. Therefore, we must go the extra mile to see to it that the people win.

That is precisely what a coalition of Democrats, labor and activists did this election in Eureka with the passage of Measure P, the True Ward initiative. Now, instead of having to raise enough money to run a citywide campaign, candidates will be able to spend their time and limited resources in their own districts. The old system had not produced enough candidates for several election cycles. Now, the process is open to hourly-workers and others not beholden to moneyed interests who may not be able to mount citywide campaigns.

Notwithstanding the intensity of the primary election and the fact that Sen. Bernie Sanders carried Humboldt County by the highest percentage in the state, the Nov. 8 final report showed Secretary Clinton with as many votes as she and Sen. Sanders had together at the same point in the primary vote count. When push came to shove, local Democrats were united.

This is also clear with the outcome of the Measure V race, where a tiny band of activists with the support of this coalition achieved what seemed almost impossible — passage of a fair housing initiative for mobile home dwellers in the unincorporated county.

And in Eureka, the progressive majority on the city council was maintained with the election of Austin Allison. Austin's victory over a well-known member of the business community proved that people power can overcome the moneyed establishment.

These victories, combined with those of Assemblymember Jim Wood and Arcata council members Susan Ornelas and Michael Winkler made it a very good election locally. When we progressives work together we can achieve great things.

The outcome of the national election means that there will hard times ahead. But we are not alone. With our Democratic representatives in Washington and Democratic leadership in Sacramento and locally, we shall persevere. We shall organize, organize, organize to build a stronger, fairer democracy.

Bob Services chairs the Humboldt County Central Democratic Committee.

Submissions from NAACP of Eureka First Vice President Liz Smith, local attorney and U.S. Army reservist Allan Dollison, North Coast People's Alliance Steering Committee Member Tamara McFarland, Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills, Humboldt County Central Democratic Committee Chair Bob Service, local programmer and freelance writer Mitch Trachtenberg, Humboldt County Green Party Chair Dana Silvernale, Rabbi Naomi Steinberg, Humboldt State University assistant professor of history Leena Dallesheh, Friends of the Eel River Executive Director Scott Greacen and League of Women Voters Humboldt County President Rollin Richmond can be found by clicking their names.


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