The Daily Vigil, 6/13/17: The Virginian Primary
Choose Wisely: For those who don’t know, today is Virginia’s gubernatorial primary! Virgina’s current Democratic governor is term-limited and can’t run again, so that opens the field to new challengers. On the Democratic side we have two options: Tom Perriello (the grassroots darling) and Ralph Northam (the current Lieutenant Governor). Digital Left has not endorsed either candidate, and so we encourage you to read up on their positions before casting your ballot. Need to know where to go, or help someone else find their polling place? Check it out. And remember- primaries are essential not only because we choose our frontman for the general election, but because it signals voter engagement- especially in an off-year. A high turnout today will signal to both party establishments that we, the activist base, are energized and ready to fight in all contests. So get off your ass and vote!
WELP I Was Wrong: Soooo yesterday I said that it was unlikely that Sessions would testify in an open hearing… and now he’s testifying in an open hearing. (I take full credit for making that happen; you’re welcome). There are whole bunch of things that could happen today- for instance, Sessions could roll up and just say that he can’t discuss any of the questions in an open setting… or, y’know, he could just fuckin’ lie. Again. Since that’s a thing he’s apparently comfortable with. If he does, I have every confidence that he will be discovered, but then again, perjury only matters if the people in charge of punishing him for it (the Republicans) actually feel like punishing him for it. I’m not exactly confident enough to believe they’ll drop the hammer on him. Pressuring your Republican legislators could yield some results here, if applied with enough volume and tenacity.
This Gets Complicated: I want to bring the issue of ICE back to the foreground of everyone’s attention, since I feel it may have faded recently. I came across this story, in which a US veteran who served 35 for shooting and wounding a cop may now be sent back to Iraq. The man claims that he was suffering from PTSD at the time, as a direct result of his service in Korea, and that he wouldn’t have hurt anyone if he’d have been receiving adequate treatment. The man, whose name is Nahidh Shaou, is one of hundreds of Iraqi Christians who could be sent back to that country under ICE’s recent detention spree, but I brought Mr. Shaou’s case up specifically because it’s such an extreme example. The man served three and a half decades for his crime after honorable military service, to be sent back to a nation he hasn’t been to since he was 5, and he doesn’t even speak Arabic. Hasn’t he paid his debt to society through his jail time? Does he seriously now need to be sent off to a country terrorized by ISIS, where he could be killed for his faith?
I’m not trying to excuse the man’s crime (thankfully the officer in question survived the shooting) but where do we draw the line in restricting ICE? And what about all the other nonviolent immigrants and asylum-seekers that ICE has detained? What about the Legal US Residents and Citizens they’ve detained and deported?
Fire All Weapons!: Look, I know. Some days it feels like for all our activism, we’re still losing ground. And in some cases, we are. We’re certainly not going to win every battle, despite how it feels like every battle is essential. But if you feel like giving up, like our work is pointless and you might as well just tune out, consider the fact that Republicans have been secretly recorded fretting about Trump. For all their public bluster, they know that Trump’s agenda (and especially his tweets) could torpedo them in the midterms. This won’t happen unless we work to capitalize on every unforced error, as well as to show the American people that progressive policies can cure what ails them- but the Republicans know how weak their President is making them, and that’s a direct result of how horrid his policies and personality are. There is still hope. Don’t stop fighting.