I try to get to know the candidates Blue America considers endorsing as well as I can. It's not always easy. Some are quite resistant but the easiest candidates to get to know are the ones I can sit down with face to face, usually California candidates-- like Culver City Mayor Daniel Wayne Lee. Technically, I think he's still vice mayor for a few days and then becomes mayor. In any case, Daniel is an incredibly brilliant and fully committed guy from Alabama who has found a home in Los Angeles and is now running for the open congressional seat Karen Bass is giving up. There's no doubt there will be some status quo "liberals" in the race as well, but this is a blue, blue district-- bluest in southern California (D+36)-- where Trump took just 13.8% of the vote last year. This is exactly the kind of district that strong, bold, innovative leaders like Daniel Lee should be representing in Congress.
Face to face, a candidate comes alive. You learn what they like to eat, what music has moved them, what motivates them, weaknesses, strengths, character, all the stuff that's at least as important as a list of policy proposals... Please read Daniel's guest post below and see if you agree with my assessment-- and please consider supporting him by clicking on the Blue America 2022 congressional thermometer on the left (or at this link). I'm praying he's going to win this primary and go on to be one of the greatest members of Congress Los Angeles has ever sent to Washington.
Beyond Bernie Sanders...
-by Daniel Lee
If I told you that the policy proposals of the rightfully venerated Senator from the state of Vermont and vanguard of the electoral political left Bernard Sanders were antiquated ideas in need of a refresh, a rethink and a retooling would you take me seriously?
What if I told you that the much touted Medicare for All The first form of “socialized healthcare” came to Germany in the 1880’s Otto Von Bismark?
OR THAT policing without the use of firearms or “policing by consent” has been the norm in 19 countries for many since the 20th century?
OR THAT when other countries suffered violent mass shootings by armed gunmen their immediate passage of strict gun control laws reduced such occurrences and the instances of death by firearm overall in countries like Australia, Japan Germany and in the United Kingdom. Decades ago.
OR THAT forest management techniques that emphasize the early combustion of dried leaves, husks and dead trees in an effort to prevent the calamitous once in a century forest fires (which now happen every year in California) were pioneered by indigenous arborists centuries ago?
OR THAT a push for diplomacy focused foreign policy is not the invention of 20th Century heads of state but of the women of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata? An example already repeated numerous times here in the 21st Century.
This is all information that you probably already know. But, putting all of it in the same place reminds us of how reasonable, ethical, popular and time tested all of these policies are and helps to negate their characterization as radical overreach. They are simply humane.
We have not lacked knowledge. We have not lacked skill. We have lacked political will. What more can we do?
The Green New Deal is a comparatively bold Climate Policy that will put us on track to address the existential crisis that bears down on our heads on a daily basis via fires, floods, more intense hurricanes and longer fire seasons. It will help us create the green infrastructure that will get us on track towards reaching our climate targets.
But, what more can we do?
Why do states like California, Arizona and Nevada that receive on average over 150 days of sunshine not generate their own electricity through solar energy and battery storage? Why?
I appreciate the weight of consequence that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will bring to Law Enforcement. Bringing consequences to police officers who have operated above the law and at the expense of people of color and low income communities is a sorely needed step forward after a century of immunity.
But, what more can we do?
Could we not give a serious reading to the Breath Act authored by the Movement for Black Lives and consider its provisions which not only punish and admonish when force has been used inappropriately but seeks to put programs in place that prevent contentious interactions from taking place to start?
The UBI or Universal Basic Income though promoted as proof of the supposed dynamism of Andrew Yang first made its way into the popular consciousness via none other than Martin Luther King, jr. It was also popular with Richard Nixon but we will ignore that. Countries around the world stumbled into a version of a UBI during the COVID-19 pandemic which helped relieve economic tension and may have forestalled more disruptive societal upheaval. No matter its origins it is a policy that will be central to social welfare policy in the US in the future.
There is more to do. Much more.
As a congressional representative from the 37th District of California I will not only join the progreessive caucus and expand the squad. I want to expand the ideas that the squad has presented that have received little fanfare and genuine consideration and help to create new ones. From Cori Bush’s push to mandate alternatives to policing on a national scale in the People’s Response Act, Ilhan Omar’s Sending Unconditional Payments to People Overcoming Resistances to Triumph (SUPPORT) Act (a form of UBI) to reasonable proposals from the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to increase taxes in billionaires and make corporations pay their fare share.
All of these ideas are worthy and would have a profound impact on the lives of working families and individuals around the country. But, they are not revolutionary. They barely scratch the surface.
We live in the richest country in the history of the world.
No student should go into debt due to student loans and college expenses. No one should go into debt due to inability to pay healthcare bills. No one should live without healthcare. No one should be homeless.
No one should work for less than a living wage. No parent should be without paid leave. No one should face hostile working conditions, lose their job or their housing due to discrimination. Whether that be along the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexuality, class, physical or mental ability. No child should spend their nights sleepless due to climate anxiety and fears for their future.
The existential threat that we collectively face from the climate crisis is real. We need elected representatives that treat it as such and who will take steps to make sure that we aggressively reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while ending fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out their use and building sustainable and resilient 21st Century infrastructure.
My name is Daniel Lee and I promise to push us to DO MORE. To cast aside the dog whistle, race baiting, red scare criticism of both major parties in favor of facts and evidence backed up by reason, courage, solidarity and will.
“Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man?” -Henry David Thoreau