May 21, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 21

Rev. Rich Lang

Best way to strike out the 1% is to pitch the notion of solidarity to poor and working-class people

By Rev. Rich Lang

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Politicians are like baseball players. A good player is the one who has consistency like Robinson Cano, the Mariners’ second baseman. Day in and day out, Cano comes to play, and his overall effect is a .300-plus batting average and 20-plus home runs a year. If you want to be a decent politician, be like Cano.

The same is true with political parties. It’s not about one particular policy. Rather it’s about an overall posture, an overall consistency of embracing a particular base.

That’s why I like Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. She might swing and miss occasionally, but basically you know that her policies are for working-class folk. She’s already hit a homer with the $15-an-hour minimum wage. Her team, the Socialist Alternative, hasn’t yet fielded a complete starting nine, but I hope that will eventually happen because we need the emergence of socialism to balance the capitalist policies of the psychopaths we call the 1 percent.

But a player needs fans. When the fans roar and cheer, when they show up and get into the game, momentum shifts. Sawant and the 15 Now campaign, which is pushing for that higher minimum wage, started well and scored first. But the campaign is now facing one of those nasty brush-back pitches, thrown by the media and the market. The 1 percent “owners,” make no mistake, do not want a $15-an-hour minimum wage to take root. The owners want Sawant and her ilk out of the game.

Mayor Ed Murray will talk smack, but in the end he will cave to the wishes of those who pull his strings. Proposals to enhance a basic living wage for the wage slaves — uhhh, I mean citizens — who work necessary but dead-end jobs will be watered down, amended, postponed and deleted when no one is looking. The thing is this: People who make over $100,000 a year don’t care about you. They don’t care about your struggles. They don’t care about your problems, your kids or your future. They don’t care if you live or die. They don’t care if you live in squalor, or if you have food to eat. All they care about is that you serve them.

And those who make millions care even less. But there are more of us than them. It’s just that we don’t vote. We don’t support political parties. We don’t take to the streets. We don’t force our voice into their meetings. We don’t make them uncomfortable. We don’t pose a threat to their greed, power and privilege.

15 Now is important because it changes the game. It’s our version of a brush-back pitch.

It’s our time to make those who abuse us respect us. Sawant and her ilk need us to grow in number, to suit up, show up and change the momentum of the game.

Some will say that doesn’t sound very spiritual. But even Jesus chased the bankers out of the temple. There does come a time for righteous indignation. After all, the psychopaths love it when we’re passive. Maybe it’s time we learn to pick up whips.




I'm an Oregonian,It's a commonwealth. We are so rich. But in order to live here you must love something more than you money and yourself'

Michelle Burkholder | submitted on 05/25/2014, 11:01pm

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