This morning at CNN.com, the headline read “Democrats Have No Power.” And it’s almost true. You’ve heard me say it before, Republicans now control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. Democrats are seemingly unable to stop even one of Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees from being confirmed. It appears conservatives will soon control the Supreme Court. Democrats now control just four state governments in the entire country. By a traditional measure, that is powerlessness.
If those were the only ways and places we could have power, that CNN.com headline would be absolutely accurate. But yesterday confirmed something for me that has me encouraged and this morning, I’m here to share some really good news with you all.
We have power. We have a lot of power. We have way more power than we understand. Let me tell you the type of power we have.
Yesterday, the City of Seattle became the first city in the country to vote to divest its funds from Wells Fargo. Backed by some amazing local grassroots activists and the Injustice Boycott, which so many of you are a part of, the Seattle City Council yesterday proposed a bill to move its $3 billion account out of Wells Fargo. They will move their money into a bank which has better practices for human and civil rights, a bank that does not fund the Dakota Access Pipeline, a bank that does not fund private prisons, police brutality, or mass incarceration, into a bank that does not routinely discriminate against customers of color.
When we launched the Injustice Boycott this past December, it was to tell cities, businesses, and leaders that if they did not stand for progressive values, we would target their pocketbooks. What the City of Seattle voted to do yesterday is sending shockwaves in the entire industry of banking. For pretty much their entire existence, banks have gotten away with taking our business while directly funding our oppression. But we’re stopping that.
If you fund our oppression, if you fund injustice, we will defund you and find banks and financial institutions that openly agree to humane values and principles.
Oh, we have power. We have four types of power.
Yesterday proved to me that we have power in cities. When I say we, I not only mean Democrats, but I mean people of color, young people, LGBT folk – we run America’s cities. And it’s time that we hold our cities accountable. America’s cities are sleeping giants of power. Yesterday, we woke up that sleeping giant in Seattle. We must hold every major city in the nation accountable and they must step up and do everything they can to pass progressive laws to protect people from Trump.
Secondly, we have financial power. Conservatives may control state and federal governments, but they do not control our bank accounts. The entire purpose of the Injustice Boycott is to help us harness the collective power of our money. America’s systems of oppression want us to believe we are powerless, but money is power – if you harness it the right way. We are in a state of emergency that requires us to do this. We must mobilize our money and make it stand for something.
Third, we have the power to organize. What we’ve learned over the past 3 months, is that the Democratic Party was terribly unorganized. That’s how you lose 46 state governments, the House, Senate, and the Presidency. Conservatives out-organized us, but we must take back our power to organize ourselves. That’s what the Women’s March on Washington was about. That’s what the airport protests were about. That’s what the Injustice Boycott is about.
I will close with this thought – we have the power of being right on our side. Our battle is righteous. We are fighting for human rights. We are fighting for civil rights. We are fighting for a living wage. We are fighting for dignity and decency. We are fighting for peace and justice. We are fight against racism and bigotry. We are fighting for equality and fairness. We are fighting people’s health care. We are fighting for immigrants, and women, and Muslims.
In the end, when you are fighting for what’s right, the rising tide of history will be on your side. Our fight may be hard, but be encouraged, we will win.