This Solidarity Thing

Falling through the universe at the speed of life
Art by Banksey

By David Glenn Cox

Take a trip with me to 1932. It’s election night and Herbert Hoover received a telegram in the White House which read, “Vote Roosevelt and make it unanimous.” In the popular vote FDR won by almost twenty percent. In the electoral college the total was 470 for FDR and 59 for Hoover. Crushing is an understatement. Hoover won the some of the small states of New England and carried Pennsylvania but nothing further west. I mention these things because it is important to remember that Gerrymandering is a scheme to steal close elections and becomes powerless in the face of popular assault. They might can monkey around with a few thousand vote here or there tinkering around the margins, but in the face of a landslide there aren’t enough unaccounted for votes to stem the tide.

In the Congressional races the Republicans fared no better. In the house, the Democrats picked up 97 seats giving the them a super majority.  In the Senate, the Democrats picked up 12 seats giving them a solid majority and of the contested races that night, Republicans retained only six seats. In the gubernatorial races the Democrats picked up 11 states while the Republicans picked up only Kansas. That night in 1932 changed a lot of things, it meant the Franklin Roosevelt would have a free hand. It also meant that the Republican Party was repudiated and reduced to a fringe Party and reduced to irrelevance.

The Republican Party wouldn’t hold power in Congress again for another sixteen years. There’s and old adage which goes, every generation votes Democratic once, because it has to. Now is that time we have to. This landslide made Roosevelt’s famous 200 days possible with sweeping legislation and sweeping change. The Republicans in Congress could only vote “present” and who cared?

One of my favorite stories is after the implementation of the WPA program putting twelve million Americans back to work. A representative from Kansas City, Kansas, called the administration to complain. Why aren’t there any WPA projects in my district when there are so many just across the river in Kansas City, Missouri? Their answer was simple. You voted against the WPA, you said it was Communism and you didn’t want it, we certainly wouldn’t want to force the program on you. The Congressman was feeling the heat. His hungry constituents looked across the river and saw their neighbors going back to work while on the Kansas side…there was none.

When the Colorado State house failed to fund their share of WPA projects worked stopped. Mobs of honest American working people, regular ordinary citizenry sacked the capitol building forcing the legislators to flee for their lives out the back door. They met in special session two weeks later and approved the funding. This solidarity thing is important, its amazing what we the people can do when we stick together. When we don’t listen to the nay sayers and nibblers who try and chip away through dissension at the foundations of progress. I’ll tell you how far it goes, in Brooklyn police were assisting in an apartment eviction. As they would remove a piece of furniture, the crowd would pick it up and try and put back in the house. It became melee and police called for backup but as more police arrived more people arrived as well.

Every available policeman in Brooklyn was on the scene, and it went on all day. Finally, the Chief of police called the landlord and explained, you’re on your own Bubba. We’re not going to do this again tomorrow. There is a clear distinction here. This wasn’t lawlessness this was justice. This was the will of the people saying NO! This was the will of the people drawing a line in the sand and reminding government who was actually in charge. You have a couple of hundred cops, but we have thousands to stand against you. It was the mouse that roared, the mouse that belled the cat.

In a small town in Kansas, hungry farmers and their families waited two days for the Red Cross to release relief supplies waiting on authorization from Saint Louis. The farmers formed a committee and went to the Red Cross official and gave him a very simple message. You can release those supplies now or at five o’clock we’re coming to take them. This is what solidarity can do. It makes the powerful quake in their boots. Their worries about losing their jobs evaporate in fear of dangerous escalation.

Do you know how the media of the day reported these events? Riots! Blood in the streets! Dangerous Revolutionaries! Communists! Dangerous Communists behind every tree and under every rock!

“Everybody’s talking about Red this and Red that, I don’t even know what a Red is.” – Tom Joad

See we have a free press in this country. If you own a press or a media company, you’re free to express your opinion to millions and if you don’t own a press or a media company you can tell your friends whatever you like. Recently Tucker Carlson aired a segment about the jury foreman in the Roger Stone trial. He left her name and Twitter handle on the screen for over a minute exposing her to the wrath of the booger eaters and Trump zombies. If thats not a crime…it should be. That’s not a right of a free press that’s oppression and intimidation and there is no punishment of Carlson to which I would not subscribe.

We the people, just like Gandhi told you.  Just like Martin Luther King told you. Just like Malcolm X told you. Just like Rosa Parks showed you. We won’t ride your God Damned busses until we get what we want. It’s better to have sore feet than a broken spine.

Vote! Vote like there’s no tomorrow or there won’t be. At least, not one you want to see.

 “…we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing‐oriented” society to a “person‐oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered…True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice, which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth…A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” – Martin Luther King—“Beyond Vietnam” (April 1967)

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