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Election Day 2011, foreshadowing 2012

ELINOR TATUM Publisher and Editor in Chief | 11/10/2011, 12:12 p.m.
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Could it be there is a change in the tides? Could it be that there may actually be light at the end of the dark tunnel America has been sent down by Republicans, where progress seemed impossible?

Well, if Tuesday's elections are any sign of the times, the tides may finally be turning.

They are a sign that America is sick and tired of the right trying to run roughshod over the rest of us. Ohio, Mississippi and Arizona are just some of the good early indicators.

In Ohio, where the Republican state Legislature passed and the governor signed a bill that stripped the states' 350,000 public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights, the people rose up and forced a ballot referendum on the measure before it could become law. By a wide margin, the people spoke up and said no! This was a victory for workers in Ohio and around the country.

All of the union workers in America were watching with bated breath to see what the public reaction would be, and quite a few unions and the NAACP worked to overturn the reactionary law. When it came down to a vote by the people, the citizens of Ohio showed that they believed that their teachers, firemen and other public employees did in fact have the right to negotiate their contracts as they have done for decades.

Meanwhile in Mississippi, the so-called "personhood amendment" was defeated by a 16-point margin. The attempted state constitutional amendment would have said that life begins the moment a human egg is fertilized. In essence, this amendment would have made all abortions illegal in Mississippi, even in the case of rape and incest, and would have made it extremely difficult for women in the state to undergo certain types of fertility treatment.

Conservative Mississippi was the third state to try to put this amendment into effect and the third to fail. What this shows is that America continues to not want government intruding on reproductive rights and a woman's right to control her own body.

Then there is Arizona. Its State Senate president, Russell Pearce, was defeated by a member of his own party, Jerry Lewis. Pearce created the Arizona immigration law that has led to other state business boycotts.

And in Maine, there was a repeal of a law passed earlier this year that would have ended same-day voter registration-an attempt to limit voter participation.

These to me are all signs of good things to come.

We as Americans must continue to fight for the things that make this country great and fight those things that that make us embarrassed to be Americans because they are so reactionary in nature.

We know that there are problems in this country. Our unemployment rate is off the charts. Our education system is trailing where it shouldn't be given the great wealth of our society, and our civil rights are something we have to fight to preserve on a daily basis.

We have been under siege. This election contained some concrete victories in the battle that will culminate in a broad November 2012 progressive victory. We must stay vigilant and continue to fight those who are trying to oppress us.

From ocean to ocean, border to border, we must ensure that our rights and our future are secure. We must hold on to the gains and fight back against the losses. The tide is again moving in the right direction-we have to just keep working hard to ensure that forward movement.