Wednesday, November 09, 2005

what goes around...

Back in the early ‘90s, there was a hiphop act I was particularly fond of in California called The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, whose cover of the Dead Kennedy’s “California Uber Alles,” compared then-California Governor Pete Wilson to Hitler.

Sure it was a little over the top, but how could you dislike a song that opened,

“I’m your Governor Pete Wilson
the baddest governor to ever grab a mic and go BOOM!
Give me a budget and watch me hack it
Give me a beat and I’ll show you how to jack it”

That song has been ringing through my brain a lot lately, as I’ve been watching the polling on Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s ballot initiatives swirl into the toilet. Last night, when I came home from being on the road for two days, the first thing I asked landisdad about was how the vote count was going (and in a weird testament to our relationship, let me just say that he already had this map up on his web browser). And I'm happy to report that the Governator's whole special election idea went down in flames, particularly the initiative that put limits on the use of union dollars.

I'm not sure why it is that I still care so much about what happens in California politics. I understand why landisdad does--he grew up there, and politically, it's still his home. He just doesn't have as much of a sense of connection to the place that we now live, although he knows that the California that he remembers from his childhood is gone, too.

For me, I think it's really a recognition that, in many ways, the exciting trends in progressive politics (and organizing) that are happening nowadays are coming from California. It used to be that the East Coast was the place to be if you wanted to do cutting-edge work on important political issues of the day, and that those ideas were exported from places like New York, Boston and Philadelphia to the rest of the country. If you look at the history of progressive organizing in the last century, you'll see a lot of initiatives where gritty, left-wing New Yorkers left the city that they loved to go out and organize textile workers in the south, or health care workers in the West, or where students in East Coast colleges did things like travel to register African American voters in southern states.

In a lot of ways, that trend has reversed itself lately. We who live in the Northeast are getting hammered every day with political ideas and agendas that are crafted elsewhere--particularly in more conservative elsewheres. It's exciting to me that progressives are fighting back against those agendas, and I'm really glad to see that we're winning, too. So to my friends in California, I say, si, se puede! Thank you for winning for us all.

• Posted By landismom @ 11/09/2005 12:20:00 PM
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