By Joshua Lockwood
I was surrounded by everyone nearest and dearest to me in a former bar turned into the SWMO Democratic political headquarters for the 2016 Election results on November 8th. It was a place that had become a second home to me during the entire campaign year and before.
There were sandwiches, cake, popcorn, drinks, wine, beer. We all just waited very patiently for to hear that history was being made. We were ready to celebrate. History was definitely made. But we were crushed.
In a flash, my whole year-and-a-half of work was just tossed out of the window. Not only did Donald Trump win, but Blunt, Greitins, Ashcroft, Parsons, Schmit, and Long all won in Missouri.
As the winnings were announced, my mind flashed quickly to a future where Missouri no longer had the working man’s best interest in mind. Goodbye prevailing age, hello Right To Work. DAPL was to be fast tracked, a Supreme Court Justice was to be named, minimum wage was going to stay the exact same, Planned Parenthood was going to be defunded, Same Sex Equal Rights was going to be overturned and, not to mention, the horridness of Trump’s cabinet appointees that were to come. The Republicans had the Senate, Congress, and the Presidency. Here in Missouri, we already had so many issues to face before February was to come.
Eric Greitens, our new governor, had gone all around our fine state saying how Labor Unions were bogging down business rights. He had received so much money from special interest groups that to say “Right to Work is coming to Missouri” was an understatement. CEO of Tamko and American Prosperity Chair, David Humphreys, donated over $10 million to Greitens’ Campaign, according to his ethics reports. And we won’t let the gigantic blank check from Rex Seinfield go without mention. That’s two millionaires giving large contributions. All Greitens had to do was lead the ducks to water and let them drown as he counted his money. And he did. He went across the state getting people excited over Democrats and one issue votes.
“Democrats are causing babies to die with their support of abortion,” Greitens said at a rally in Joplin.
He was blindsiding the people of Missouri, and they were falling for it. He had zero endorsements and yet he was now our new Governor. We went from a great Governor to this. Missouri is in for a ride.
Missouri had two big GOP incumbents to dethrone this election cycle. And we got mighty close. Jason Kander was seriously 2% of votes away from winning a seat in the United States Senate. Gen Williams worked harder than anyone here in the 7th Congressional District, I stood right next her as she fought for a seat in the House of Representatives. Jason Kander had spent so much time in this area of Missouri, he often joked about buying a house. But alas, Roy Blunt and Billy Long prevailed and now we are to endure their horrible policy issues when they aren’t taking frequent vacations. Long nor Blunt has agreed to a Town Hall meeting upon recent high demand. Both declining … the will of the people be damned.
The fact that this election cycle had a Carnahan and an Ashcroft, with the Ashcroft winning and not the Carnahan, speaks volumes of misinformation. Many people know the story of Melvin Carnahan against John Ashcroft for U.S. Senate. Mel died in a horrible plane crash, but the people of Missouri still voted for him in 2000. He beat Ashcroft in a landslide election. Jean Carnahan, Mel’s wife and public servant to Missouri, proceeded to Senate for her deceased husband. Now, Russ Carnahan was running for Lt. Governor and Jay Ashcroft was running for Secretary of State. Mind you, this may have been different if they were running against each other. People just seem to forget that rich history lesson. I hope Russ runs again. He definitely had some wonderful ideas.
So, what next?
That question was haunting me through the whole night. I had planned on a subtle vacation from politics to focus on what I initially wanted to do with my life, make films. But I knew this was a time to stay involved. A time to keep fighting. A time to not give up. America and Missouri were going to go through rough policies that would be disastrous. Nothing was really going on for a few weeks. Many of us who were fighting so hard needed the break.
I recall Jason Kander’s concession speech:
“They need to know that I’m not O.K. with them stepping away. That this country is a place that you’ve got to stay invested in. You don’t get to decide that you are going to be O.K. with the politics, that that you’re going to believe in the politics of this country when it goes your way. That’s not how it works in this country.”
He was absolutely right. Trump became president and immediately attacked the Affordable Care Act, Greitens started his Right To Work nonsense and cut state funding to higher education, Blunt stood with Trump on every issue, Long went on vacation. It wasn’t long before marches, protests, gatherings, and phone calls started. I knew what I had to do. I was going to fight. I was going to resist. I was going to be on the forefront. And whoever is reading this, where are you? Are you with me? Are you calling? Are you standing tall? Let’s build our revolution. Join me?
Joshua Lockwood is President of the SWMO Young Democrats which meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Joplin Avenue Coffee Company at 7 p.m.