This article was written by Russell Tocqueville, a NY23rd resident
Elections come and go, we all become a little wiser as cycles pass, and we learn more about our Southern Tier as cycles come and go. My message to all of us from Ithaca to Binghamton, from Jasper to Big Flats is to not freak out. In this tunnel of darkness there is an opening. For now two eras are over. The era of the Democratic party at the national and state level taking for granted working class communities like Elmira and Hornell is over, for the sake of the national party it is time to invest in the grassroots, it is our time to work with our local county democratic parties and run for local office. The era of Southern Tier Republican politicians having dictatorial like powers in our region is over, even though we lost all of our candidates ran ahead of Hillary some even by double digits. No more one party counties or anymore one party towns this era is over. Gone is the era of family dynasties running for local office, and I promise you Tom Reed will suffer defeat in the era of Trump.
In Chemung County alone, democrats added to their local bench, and the Republicans could not find someone to challenge our democratic County Clerk.
This is a turning point for our party we must redouble our efforts to win back the tier.
I will not bore you with statistical data or analysis, but what I will say this. Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters the circular firing squad needs to stop. Let us learn what we did wrong, correct it and move on. Now is not the time to say we need to write off one community or the other. The idea that the 40% of Obama voters who live 50 miles outside of a major metro area who voted for Trump are now just racist deplorables because you want Hillary to be flawless is absurd. It is as absurd as saying that this is now the time to hop to the far left rhetorically. Now is not the time to take people of color, or rural folks for granted just so that liberals in big cities can feel good about themselves. As a person of color from a rural area, I don’t need people to declare themselves my ally because I’m a person of color then condemn me because I am rural. We need to fight, and stop making up excuses, Trump Country used to be Obama Country and that’s a problem.
We fight this by ensuring that there are again no unchallenged local officials, no schoolboard seats left empty. The Southern Tier must become a training ground for the next generation of progressive activists and elected officials, because it is one thing to organize and protest in Manhattan it is another whole separate thing to mobilize and organize in rural America.
The path going forward involves organizing in communities of color, standing up tp bigotry, and instilling class consciousness in rural America. Equality is equality whether you wake up in a farm or a high rise.
Now is not the time to find someone to blame, now is the time for you to go to your County board of elections website, check out which positions are in 2017 for elections, and then engaging in democracy not just for your sake but for the sake of our Southern Tier. Engage in democracy for our Southern tier.
Stop freaking out, start fighting back.