Parson to Person: “Hard-Scrabble Hope,” Jan. 15, 2021

Since this week’s Northliner is a little longer than usual, I will keep my remarks here brief. We are all aware of the attack on democracy at the U.S. Capitol on January sixth; and I’m sure many of us are concerned about possible violence in D.C. and at state capitals on Inauguration Day. These are definitely difficult times we are living in, but I see glimmers of hope here and there.

For one thing, the January 6th insurrection helped a number of legislators to reconsider their support of allegations of massive fraud in the presidential election in November. It also helped a number of advertisers and business donors to reconsider their contributions to candidates who voted against certification of the Electoral College vote tally.

For another, November gave us some interesting wins in several states. Voters in Georgia voted for two Democratic U.S. Senators. Voters in Arkansas, North Dakota, and Florida rejected efforts by their state legislatures to restrict voting rights. Voters in New Jersey and Virginia passed laws against gerrymandering. Voters in Oregon passed campaign finance reform. And in Mississippi 70% of voters voted to adopt a new state flag without the Confederate imagery on it.

Add to that marijuana decriminalization referendums in Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey (and allowing medical marijuana in Mississippi; raising the minimum wage in Florida to $15 an hour; and mandating medical and family leave for workers in Colorado–and you’ve got a number of reasons to have hope again.

We don’t know how difficult the future might be. Things may not change as much as we would want them to. And COVID cases have skyrocketed. But I still have hope. Not a facile, easy-going kind that makes everything seem smooth and even. But a hard-scrabble kind that calls me to be alert and somewhat wary as I travel tomorrow’s road. Which, now that I think about it, is something like…

peace and unrest,