Reality Check from Rosa Clemente

Those who follow my Facebook feed know that I’m relieved the election is over.  I haven’t blogged anything because I’ve been too busy reading the other blogs I subscribe to [see the blogroll for just a few].

Today’s lecture on campus by Green VP candidate, Rosa Clemente, gave me some additional food for thought as we await inauguration day.  Clemente was a campus activist during the 1990s and was highly critical of the Clinton administration’s policies on welfare reform and juvenile justice, not to mention bombings of Bosnia and Iraq.  She described the ways in which the Patriot Act has shut down social movements and real political dissent in the United States, and how the Democratic party is not really a progressive party (no surprise there).  She also described the way she and Mckinney were marginalized in this most racist/sexist election — none of the major media outlets covered the Green party candidates [except this one] nor were they allowed to debate the major party candidates.  Like other women in history, they were told “wait your turn.” She said the benefits of the Obama victory is that it gives the possibility of opening up dialogue with the rest of the world.  But she also warned that we need to call Obama on his promise for change, reiterating the message in Bruce Dixon’s article, “Cashing the Obama Check: Will it Come Back Marked ‘Insufficient Funds’?” — in other words, will there be real change, or more of the same?

I do find myself becoming uneasy as I hear about the various possibilities for cabinet posts and such — e.g. do we really need someone as Treasure secretary who said that it’s okay to export our toxic waste the developing world because people there “don’t live long enough to get cancer”? Who helped craft the deregulated system that has led to our current economic mess? Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about that remark he made about women and science while President of Harvard.  My colleague, who voted enthuastically for the Green party candidates said on the way to Clemente’s lecture today, “I told you so.”

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