You Say You Want a Revolution? She’s Got a Plan For That.
Funny thing about revolutions: they sound kind of sexy, but often they’re bloody. People die. Rights and needs get trampled over for the cause. By nature, revolutions are usually brutal — they have to be. After all, to truly enact massive structural change, you have to be ruthless and single-minded.
But…what if that’s wrong? What if we’ve been looking at the idea of a revolution — the upending of the status quo — from a historical filter which is, let’s face it, overwhelmingly masculine.
What if revolution could be a little bit quieter, a little less bloody, a little more oh, I don’t know…compassionate, perhaps — but still delivering the structural changes necessary for true, lasting change?
I get it. Things seem (are) so dire right now it’s easy to say, fuck it, let’s burn the building to the ground and start from scratch. The problem with burning it all to the ground is that unless you’re willing to burn the bodies along with the building — and there are always bodies — then the whole concept of revolution gets squiffy.
And if you ARE willing to burn the bodies right along with the building, then how does that make it any different than what we have now? It’s just different people getting hurt.
Or we upend our ideas about what a revolution could look like.
When Elizabeth Warren first introduced her plan to pay childcare workers a living wage, when she talked about the need for affordable, subsidized child care — and backed it up with receipts — I sat up and paid attention. When Kamala Harris introuced her plan for paying teachers more and extending after care hours to help out working families? I sat up and paid attention.
Because those things? THOSE THINGS ARE ALL CAPS REVOLUTIONARY.
It is easy to think that a sudden, massive upheaval of the status quo will magically fix everything. But true change, lasting change, change that affects the here and now but also lays down the track for the future, is a long, hard slog.
You can’t fix the roof without fixing the foundation, otherwise the whole thing will topple like a house of cards.
And the foundation of America? As much as it’s nice to think of the foundation of the country as Bill Gates sitting in his garage or Elon Musk tinkering with space ships, the real foundation of the country are its families.
Most American kids growing up in the 21st Century are growing up in a family in which all the adults work. Despite this, the country is set up as if there is a full-time caregiver at home. The detrimental this effect has on American families — and thereby the economy — is devastating, long-lasting, and crucial to address.
Creating real solutions for working families, for single parent families — giving them access to the same American Dream we lull our children to sleep with? Not just dreams of helping them, but actual policies with plans on how to fund it? That is revolutionary.
And it’s revolutionary because it’s addressing the on-the-ground needs of women (who are more likely to head up single families) of mothers (who are more likely to be bear the brunt of childcare responsibilities) of families, of children (who, let’s face it, deserve so much better). It’s addressing the cracks and holes in the foundation. Those cracks? More often than not they get overlooked in the chase for something sexy, something quotable and sound-bite-able. We’re conditioned to pay too much attention to the hunting and not nearly enough to the gathering. Even though it’s the gathering that sustains the tribe over the long haul.
When someone starts doing a deep dive into the gathering?
Want to boost the economy? Make it easier for women to work. Want to slash the need for public assistance? Make it easier for women to work. Want to alleviate the burden for many single parent families, especially black American families? Smash the for-profit prison system. Want to fund all of that? Tax the uber-rich.
You know who’s got a plan for all of that? Elizabeth Warren.
Funding education, from K-12, addressing the structural racism and inequities that encourage the disparity between the quality of public education? THAT is revolutionary. Because that is how you tackle inequality and inequity, and inequality and inequity are at the very heart of why revolutions are necessary.
Shining a light on the appalling statistics the maternal mortality rate in the US, especially for black mothers, THAT is revolutionary.
Because without healthy mothers, healthy kids, healthy families — there is no economy. And again, reversing the systems which overlook the most vulnerable? That is freaking revolutionary.
Regulating corporations and holding them accountable. Making it easier for families. Pouring money into education and tackling the — let’s face it — racist — systems which make public education so segregated — those are revolutionary concepts.
When Warren talks about taking on Big Tech and holding them accountable? That my friend, is the damn revolution.
There’s no magic solution to tackle wealth inequality that doesn’t involve taxing the people that have all of it. They’re not going to willingly give up their amassed wealth out of the goodness of their hearts. And unless you want to bring back the guillotine, the only way to do it is through taxes.
Guess who’s got a plan for that?
Perhaps it’s time to stop looking at revolution through the lens of the guillotine and start looking at it through something not quite as sharp, or bloody.
You know what? The revolution has been standing in front of us for the past eighteen months in a parade of jewel-tone blazers.
You say you want a revolution? Elizabeth Warren’s got a plan for that.