And, appropriately, it begins in July…only a few days away from the fourth.
The history of politics the world over for the last forty years has been that of a slow drift to the Right, as hugely wealthy donors, increasingly corrupt “conservative” parties, and an ever more angry (and gullible) lower middle class have combined to oppose “political correctness” and minority and women’s rights. But, in all things there is a tide, which when taken at their flood…
The tide now is to the Left. Admittedly, Trump is in the White House, Putin is in the Kremlin, Britain is out of the EU, and right wing and racist populists are everywhere…there is change coming. All over the world, Liberals and Progressives are finding new energy, discovering unity, and fighting back.
And the most compelling symbol of that change is in Mexico…where Manuel López Obrador was elected president on Sunday in a landslide. He is a man of the Left and a man of the people. And Mexico may never be the same again.
I am going to risk a moment of optimism. I am going to suggest that this is the turning point. That, now, we shall see more and more such elections…with unconventional candidates winning unexpected victories. Yes, there is much suffering yet to come, and a great deal of work to be done, and many defeats to withstand…but it is, I think, coming.
In fact, on this day…on the fourth of July…I am going to make a suggestion.
Bear with me for a moment. Do you recall that science fiction film, Independence Day (1996)? The alien invasion story? It wasn’t a great movie, I suppose. But, it was entertaining in its way. And there was one scene among all the others…all the destruction…that struck me as genuinely powerful.
It came when the president of these United States, played by Bill Pullman, rallies his troops with a stirring speech. He says that they will teach the invaders a lesson, and that from hence forward, July 4th will not be simply an American holiday. It will instead be a human one… a common celebration of our liberation from oppression, evil, and potential extinction.
As I say, not a great film. And, doubtless, even now, there is some smug academic somewhere scribbling out a scathing monograph on Race, Class, and Othering in the ID4 series.
But, there’s the rub…
It really was a potent scene, and maybe…maybe…a metaphor we need.
So, my suggestion…
That, from hence forward, we regard July 4 not just as our national holiday, but as the holiday of the Resistance. Let it become ours…
Let it become the date on our calendars when, at last, the struggle genuinely began in earnest. And when victory was, if not at hand, or not even clearly visible, at least conceivable.
And, lastly, let our marker for that beginning be the election of Mr. Obrador.
For, whether he succeeds, or fails, or proves all too mortal…
He was for one moment in July the true and unalloyed will of the people.