Americans cherish our liberty and don't want government or corporations to take away our freedoms. President Obama must be heartened and his Republican challengers concerned about the people's vetoes of extreme tea party corporate libertarian overreach in Ohio (workers' rights) Maine (voting rights) Arizona (immigrants' rights) Mississippi (reproductive freedom), and Iowa (marriage equality).
The messaging lesson is one that we Californians learned in 2005, when defeating Arnold Schwarzenegger's anti-union measures, is that politicians can't win these elections, but teachers nurses firefighters and cops sure can. The labor community's Main Street Movement model has been improved over the last 6 years, backed by Democrats independents and fed-up Republicans, and delivered a pro-labor majority in Wisconsin and rebuked overreach in Ohio. The values-based coalitions of economic and social justice stakeholders have earned a well-deserved victory lap.
The organizing lesson is to reject the old bipolarity of left vs. right and the ineffective top-down pyramids in favor of trans-partisan coalition building using concentric beehive models to engage constituency networks. People distrust institutions but trust their friends and peers. Yesterday's victory was a culmination of the shift first articulated in 2005 by AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee who said that communications have to be "neighbor to neighbor not stranger to stranger."
Last night neighbors spoke and neighbors agreed: Americans prefer individual freedoms to corporate greed. Taking away our freedoms won't create jobs -- only divisions among people who yearn for economic opportunity. To build on this momentum, we must begin with safeguarding our voting rights, which are the keys to all other freedoms. We know that Republicans will only renew their efforts to suppress voting rights and sponsor divisive wedge issue ballot measures -- so we can't stop now. Progressives, take a bow, then get ready to register your friends, run for office and reinforce the fight for freedom and economic opportunity.
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