Since the election, Rhode Island has seen protests on a weekly basis that are keeping people engaged with civic issues. This weekend will not be different, with an action that is countering a rally hosted by local radio host John DePetro in support of President Trump. So why should local progressives go next to the Green Party's public meeting in Cranston?
Let's not kid ourselves, the Trump rally this weekend in Providence certainly seems to be appealing to the most unsavory aspects of Rhode Island's political culture. This is buttressed further by the fact it is being spearheaded by longtime talk radio personality John DePetro, who is going to use the occasion to try and rebuild a listening audience that was significantly diminished when he was booted from his longtime broadcast home, WPRO in Providence, for a low-range frequency habitat in Newport. DePetro was given the boot because of a multi-year boycott of his radio station by local progressives and union members after he engaged in hateful, misogynist slurring of women on his show. Leaders of the Green Party were proud to engage in that boycott and are happy to see DePetro relegated to a smaller audience. His ouster represented a victory for progressive values and good taste in Rhode Island. Further opposition to DePetro and his Trump-branded xenophobia, racism, and sexism is to be respected and applauded. I personally wish to express my own personal respect and enthusiasm for the local organization led by people of color who have expressed their desire to recognize these developments in a meaningful way.
However, local progressives face a challenge that is much bigger than just a local shock jock. The Democratic Party that has effectively controlled this state for decades as living standards have continued to decline has refused to accede to the demands of a progressive base that has continually shown over the past several years it wants changes. A survey of recent boondoggles overseen by these cronies shows how deeply the problem goes.
There was the absurd and fiscally-insane 38 Studios fiasco that continues to remain an outstanding instance of bad policy compounded by a law enforcement investigation that can and should be held to critique. Why after all these years are people still asking questions about a series of laws and spending decisions that should have never been allowed to take place?
Or there was the illogical proposal to build the Pawtucket Red Sox a free taxpayer-funded baseball stadium that only was given any hearing because the team ownership had longtime connections to the state and national Democratic Party.
What about the all pollution and no solution proposals to expand fossil fuel infrastructure in Providence and Burrillville despite the ongoing continuation of catastrophic climate change patterns and the fact renewable energy infrastructure conversion could bring jobs and economic prosperity to the Ocean State?
Do we need to mention how our Congressional delegation continues to do absolutely nothing with regards to progressive legislation such as single-payer healthcare or opposing the bipartisan privatization of public resources? Instead they respond with distracting claims about Russia as a smokescreen!
The results from the 2016 primary and general elections were quite striking. After Bernie Sanders swept the state, Hillary Clinton still ended up getting the nomination, thanks in no small part to the help of Rhode Island's super-delegates. As a result, we saw a significant showing for Donald Trump come November.
This is not an aberration and it will only continue. Rhode Islanders want change from the corporate Democratic model. And if it is not immediately coming from the left, it will come from the right.
So we urge you to come out this Saturday to the Green Party's Public Meeting at William Hall Library in Cranston. Help us build a party for people, peace, and planet that will serve the 99%. Let's bring a Green New Deal to the Ocean State that replaces the dismal gray solutions with green ones.
Harvey Milk was an activist-leader who was raised to office during similar times of rightward political shift. He famously said "The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up... You have to give people hope."
We intend to do just that. Come join us this weekend and begin to build the political revolution.
The preceding are solely the views of the author.