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We are still living in a country…

  • Where it is okay for our president to support racists and fascists. Where statues were built in the 1920s still stand of racist leaders, many of whom fought to dissolve the country.
  • Where a pattern of [racially motivated murder, followed by injustice, followed by protest, followed by riot, followed by no meaningful policy change] is still being played in a treacherous loop.
  • Where your worth is tied to your job. Where, if you don’t have a job or even the right job, health insurance is an expensive, bureaucratic fantasy, where you’re forced to jump through hoops like a circus animal.
  • Where the average woman’s unadjusted annual salary has been cited as 81 to 82 percent of that of the average man’s. The numbers are even more skewed for women of color.
  • Where the wealthy had the luxury of staying home during a global pandemic and the people paid the smallest wages were deemed essential workers… literally risking their lives for minimum wage.
  • Where the top wealthiest 1 percent possess 40 percent of the nation’s wealth; the bottom 80 percent own only 7 percent. The gap between the wealthiest 10 percent and the middle class is over 1,000 percent; that increases another 1,000 percent for the top 1 percent.
  • Where Amazon, like many other large corporations, paid $0 in U.S. federal income tax on more than $11 billion in profits before taxes. It also received a $129 million tax rebate from the federal government.
  • Where under-trained, under-supplied, and underpaid teachers are struggling to keep an outdated and failing education system afloat.
  • Where the federal deficit is rounding off $400 billion dollars.
  • Where many of the people who seem to “care” the most on social media aren’t even registered to vote.

The challenges are too numerous to name, and the changes are too important to ignore.

But the only way we will see real change is with a consistent burn, not a flash in the pan or a big firework. The effort must be consistent. If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that’s a start, but it’s not enough.

The people in power can live with temporary disturbances, as long as it returns to the status quo. What they can’t live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep the pressure on, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.

Everyone has the power to change these things. And it starts with a vote.

Billy Hafferty

Billy Hafferty is probably still hanging out of the passenger side of his best friend's ride trying to holler at you.

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