Each day when we awake we know that evening will come and we will once again be able to return home to the warmth of our family and the opportunity to shed the challenges and tensions of the day. Each winter we know that the snows will end and the temperatures will rise giving way to spring and rebirth and new beginnings. Every two years we are faced with another opportunity to impact on our lives and the lives of our fellow citizens as we go to the polls to elect those local, state and national officials who will be responsible for legislating, implementing, and adjudicating those laws by which we live. We go to the polls with our heads filled with promises and our hearts filled with the hope that our lives and the lives of our fellow citizens will improve and that government will, in fact, work. Unfortunately, just as we can predict that night will follow day and spring will follow winter, our hopes are dashed by the reality that despite superficial changes and a plethora of platitudes, things will remain the same. That is the difference between the hope and, indeed, the mission of the progressive and the mission of the conservative. Positive change for the many is anathema to the conservative, while changes that serve the needs and dreams of the majority are the lifeblood of the progressive. Every signal that we have received from the conservatives since the midterms indicates that they will do all in their power to erase any successes achieved by the progressive Obama Administration as well as any legacy he may leave. It is clear that the next two years will be as brutal as the last six and that the more things change, the more they remain the same.
I, for one, have never been a fan of routine and predictability. I love when the unexpected happens and things get mixed up a little. When I first moved to Los Angeles I complained that I was really tired of blue sky and sunshine everyday and yearned for a few clouds and rain. Many years ago when I taught school, I would change the configuration of my room about every six weeks just to shake things up and provide a different perspective for me and my students. It is too easy to settle for that predictability and get comfortable with it. It provides a sense of security, yet in its own way, it robs us of that security. Allowing for that predictability requires trust that those whom we have placed in power will do what is right for us. How many times have we heard people say, ” they have information that we don’t have and they know what is best”? What is our responsibility in this equation? Are we really willing to just trust because it is easier and provides the illusion of security? The reason that old saying, ” the more things change, the more things remain the same” is true is because we allow it to be true.
What ever happened to ” a government for the people, by the people”? We, by not participating in the midterms, have allowed those who believe that plutocracy is the best form of government to win. Are we so willing to trade our prerogative to demand change for a sense of security and predictability? The conservatives are banking on it. The American experiment was an adventure in democracy for those who were willing to risk losing the predictability of tomorrow for the chance to shake things up to create a better tomorrow. It is time for us to take the words, “the more things change, the more they remain the same” and change them to ” the more things remain the same, the less chance there is for change”. 2016 is our chance to breathe life into those words. However, let’s begin by not allowing the conservatives to win anything over the next two years without a fight.