The COVID-19 catastrophe has highlighted major problems in America that existed well before the pandemic did, from a broken health care system to vast (and rising) inequality. But what if out of this crisis came the chance to create big change? Today our focus is on expanding our political imaginations and beginning to think about what a post-pandemic America should look like.
First, a quick follow-up, as Antoinette gives us an important update on vote by mail in Texas.
Next, we jump into our main topic. To start, we explore a couple of recent happenings that highlight the possibility of tossing aside the old, ineffective ways of doing things and searching for a better path forward. Helping guide the conversation: Jamelle Bouie's recent column in support of Elizabeth Warren for Dem V.P.; Mark Leibovich's story on Stacey Abrams; and the recent commencement address given by President Obama.
Then we dive into how previous crises have opened the door to major policy shifts and structural change in America. For more historical context, check out this Los Angeles Times piece by Mark Z. Barabak, and this Mara Liasson story from NPR.
What are the big changes your hosts would like to see? We delve into some of the big ones, including fixing our broken healthcare system, confronting white supremacy, and fighting back against the war on people who actually know what they're talking about. (For an entertaining and depressing piece on how far we've fallen in that last category, check out this excerpt from Michael Lewis' book, "The Fifth Risk.").
How do we get to a place where we can make real change? For starters, by getting real about how we got into this position in the first place. We take a look at an interesting 2018 proposition from Kevin Baker in the New Republic.
Of course, no change can happen if we can't take power, and big change can't happen if we don't play the long game by winning at the state and local, as well as federal, levels.
Your calls to action for today:
1. Get involved locally. Find a state or local election in a swing district near you and volunteer today. Have no idea where to start? If you're in Texas, check out Flip The Texas House, Swing Left and Indivisible Austin. In Texas or out of it, visit Run For Something and Sister District.
2. Create a political dream board. Figure out the change you want to see. And let us know what you're thinking. We're on Twitter and IG at @ohthisworldpod.
This episode was recorded on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.