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« TAX Reform | Main | A New Year's Day Mass at the Santa Clara University Mission Church »


Looking at the New Year

By Angelo Lopez
December 31, 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, it's a good time to reflect. On a personal level, the year has had it's good moments and it's had it's bad moments. The good moments outnumber the bad and I have several fond memories with friends and family during the past year. Next year I'm going to try to paint more and to work on a few children's book ideas that I hope to submit to publishers.

As a liberal Democrat, the political scene hasn't been so great. I'm dreading the upcoming Trump presidency. But for the sake of this country, I'm hoping that I am wrong about my pessimism of Trump's administration. In the meanwhile, there are two areas that I will be most focused on politically in 2017.

The first area will be to defend Hispanics, immigrants, Muslim Americans, Jews, African Americans, LGBTQ and any other groups that may face increased legal or social discrimination in 2017's political climate. During the 2016 elections, Muslim Americans, Hispanics and immigrants were targets of hostile rhetoric from the Trump campaign and he made several proposals that would severely impact those communities. At the same time, incidences of racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism spiked. It's imperative to speak out for the rights of vulnerable minority groups.

The second area will be to support policies that help working class whites and to support efforts to bridge the divide between working class white communities and minority communities. I see this as a long term effort. In the short term, this will probably not benefit the Democrats in the upcoming elections. But the Democrats should fight for both working class whites and minorities because it is the right thing to do. It's dangerous for this country to have this wide divide between the two communities, because it only exacerbates alienation, racism, and religious intolerance and it damages our democratic republic.

In the Philippines, my cartoons will focus on the schizophrenic nature of President Duterte. I'll continue attacking Duterte's support of extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs, defend Filipino journalists who are harassed by Duterte supporters, and attack any chipping away of checks to Duterte's power. I'll also focus on the situation of overseas Filipino workers, support Duterte's peace talks with insurgents in Mindanao, learn more about the situation of indigenous people like the Lumad in Mindanao, and support Duterte's efforts to curb the power of mining companies and paramilitary organizations like Oplan Bayanihan in the Mindanao province.

I end this blog with an excerpt of an essay by Eric Foner for The Nation that really inspired me. He wrote:

From Thomas Paine’s ideal of an America freed from the hereditary inequalities of Europe, to the vision of liberation from legal and customary bondage espoused by abolitionists and feminists; from the Knights of Labor’s concept of a cooperative commonwealth, to the socialists’ call for workers to organize society in accordance with their own aspirations; from the New Left’s embrace of personal liberation as a goal every bit as worthy as material abundance, to the current efforts to counteract the less appealing consequences of globalization, each generation has made its distinctive contribution to an ongoing radical tradition. Many achievements that we think of as the most admirable in our history are to a considerable extent the outgrowth of American radicalism, including the abolition of slavery, the dramatic expansion of women’s rights, the respect for civil liberties and our right of dissent, and the efforts today to tame a rampant capitalism and combat economic inequality. Many of our current ideas about freedom, equality, and the rights of citizens originated with American radicals...

...Given the conservative climate that has gripped our politics and the marginalization felt by many activist students, I’ve usually concluded it by warning against discouragement and reminding the class that every generation of Americans has witnessed some kind of radical upsurge. Despite overwhelming odds, I pointed out, Douglass, Debs, King, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, Malcolm X, and the many others we studied did not give up hope: They were willing to fight and lose for a long time before achieving even partial success. And it’s also important to remember that all revolutions are unfinished, all triumphs incomplete, and every success or failure simply sets up the next series of struggles.


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