a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
The following works were written within the first few days after the mid-term to catch initial impressions and response. I am certainly of mixed feelings editing this added supplement for responses to the election. We, Pam Uschuk and I, sought out writers from the Black Earth Institute and contributors to Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts. We thought that even reflections shortly after the election would be valuable and worthwhile to capture and spread.
The results were a great relief in that extremism and conspiracy believers of the Trump brand were defeated in the great majority of cases, states, and locales. Of special interest was the attempt by such believers to capture the machinery of elections by putting secretaries of state in position to manipulate and control future election results. These election deniers were defeated in all but one case (extremely conservative South Dakota) as part of the defense of democracy important to many.
Some features of the vote to do this are yet apparent and there will be more to come on this. Rejecting extremism and protecting our democracy; women across the board and many men protesting overturning Roe and protecting reproductive rights; this and protecting the earth especially among young voters all combined to push the results.
Overall in spite of these extremely positive results, the victories were by thin margins. And for sure there will be all varieties of regrouping, digging in and building for a counter-offensive. Some of this will be Trumpians, some other Repugs, some by other white supremacists, some of whom use religion and even dominionism, and by militias that even now are planning violence.
The thin positive margins were driven a combination of regular democrats turning out well, outpouring of women from a range of political backgrounds, youth in large numbers evident on campus voting and new grassroots organizations pushing registration and voting. Crossovers from Republican to Democrat were common depending on the extremism and nature of the Republican nominee.
There were 2 revealing shifts in voting in Milwaukee metro area. Voting in Milwaukee itself was down 36,000 votes compared to 2018, this was driven by a significant reduction in the population of the city along with some reduction in the Black vote. Arguments ensued that not enough money and organizing was directed to the Black community. There was another shift in the 3 suburban counties surrounding Milwaukee. They have been supporting Republicans like Scott Walker by more than a 70/30 margin. For the governor’s race this support fell to 60/40 resulting in scores of thousand votes for the Democrat. These votes fell off when it came to Mandela Barnes though. Voter suppression was hard to judge but seems likely in many areas.
Some places like Pennsylvania and Michigan represent new and solid rejection of Trumpism and a building of coalitions that can bring new positive programs, protecting rights and democracy.
Overall, a slim majority of American voters opted for progress and opposed moves to autocracy, reductions in women’s rights and voting rights. Youth voted for a better future.
The contributions here represent these trends and facts. We begin with Brenda Peterson who from personal family experience takes on Christian nationalism as white supremacist and tied to the Lost Cause of the confederacy.
We have several that deal with reproductive rights, see Annie Finch and Mariana Mcdonald, and many with victories won and new directions set. There is more work on the need to build new structures as well as more poems about the ongoing destruction of earth and society.
The results were a narrow win with many independents voting for Dems and even many republicans crossing over. Reaction is organizing and we will need to offer how we can move to a better world. We have work to do as artists and activists to preserve what was won and take it a lot further.
Thanks to the editors of Center of Gravity for allowing this special election supplement.
Michael McDermott is a retired physician and lifelong activist. Along with his late wife, Patricia Monaghan, he founded the Black Earth Institute. Now 15 years later he maybe guides BEI as the director. He lives with his wife Charlene Taymor at Brigit Rest in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Brigit Rest is the home of BEI and hosts the annual retreat.