By Holly Hazard:
PHILADELPHIA — Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a rousing speech urging Democrats to reclaim the mantle of patriotism from the Republican Party this past weekend at The Arena Summit, a symposium designed to train progressive grassroots activists and political candidates that several Fairfax Democrats attended.
Landrieu said it’s the Democrats who support workers, children, community, inclusiveness and other American values. “We are the champions of the working class and we need to proclaim our values,” he said.
The Arena Summit features rising civic leaders from across the country. The Philadelphia gathering was the fifth since December 2016.
One compelling discussion at the summit centered on change theory. Stockton (Calif.) Mayor Michael Tubbs, and author Anand Giridharadas talked about how our society creates winners and losers in today’s economy. Giridharadas, author of “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” charged that Trump is the culmination of an era of “fake change” in which the “winners take all” and then reinvent themselves as the solvers of all of the problems they caused.
They adopted charter schools instead of fixing public schools, the gig economy instead of a living wage and micro economies instead of real investment, Giridharadas said. They “richsplain” their solutions to the rest of America. He urged the attendees to join him and end the era of fake change and go back to the theory of change that benefits middle America.
John Kingle, Jr., a former Secretary of Education, talked about gun violence and noted that schools now have more security guards than social workers and are buying guns instead of books, music and art supplies.
Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, led a panel on unions. Other speakers, including Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, talked about issues related to mass incarceration, women candidates, economic inequality and economic empowerment.
Holly Hazard is is a member of Mason District Democratic Committee and is on The Blue View Staff.