I’m taking up your challenge to find reasons to feel hopeful. And, as much as I love look at pictures of baby Highland cattle, they’re not enough. So, on this Tuesday, I’ll share some things in the world that are genuinely giving me hope.
- Millennials. They’re shaking up our economy in some of the best ways: hurting the diamond industry, rejecting cars, closing Hooters. They smoke and drink less than previous generations, are deeply connected to their parents, are civic-oriented, love their gay friends and neighbors and selves, are less likely than previous generations to get pregnant before they’re married, and don’t cheat on their spouses nearly as often as their grandparents did. Let them have their avocado toast and liquid soap—they’re befuddled by ancient prejudices, and they’re going to do what you and I were supposed to do when we were young: rock the vote. And they can do it because they are, demographically speaking, huge.
- Divorce rates are down. Unplanned pregnancy rates are down. Abortion rates are down. Drunk driving rates are down. Crime rates are down. Murder rates are down. We’re doing measurably better in a lot of ways.
- The world is less violent than it’s probably ever been.
- The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico is a hero.
Above, Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz stands waist-deep in water to help victims of climate change impacted by Hurricane Irma.
- Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader-Ginsburg get the anti-democratic motive of partisan gerrymandering.
- #Emptythepews highlights stories about what drives people out of churches. It’s a useful look at why people are dissatisfied with American Christianity.
- Rich Uncle Pennybags at the Equifax hearing. Really, I love anyone who uses art and humor for public good. God bless Amanda Werner, Americans for Financial Reform, and Public Citizen.
Above, Amanda Werner attended the Congressional hearings into Equifax’s bad behavior. She was dressed in a monocle and top hat and worse a white mustache to invoke the image of Rich Uncle Pennybags from Monopoly. I hope she will be my friend one day IRL.
- Progressives are winning. Chokwe Antar Lumumbe is the new mayor of Jacksonville, Mississippi. He’s working to make Jackson “the most radical city on the planet.” Jackson. Mississippi. The one way down South. And I believe he can do it, because he has a message of real democracy. And he’s explicit that the larger goal, beyond caring for the people who he serves, is to change electoral politics. And in Birmingham, Alabama, which has recently found new and legal ways to segregate by race, Randall Woodfin recently unseated a two-term incumbent. Woodfin is a straight up progressive, who ran on a platform of improving basic services while expanding social services. Both Lumumbe and Woodfin use the language of “people first”--straight up appeals to progressive voters. And they won because young people and people of color are doing tremendous work to make our democracy stronger.