What Matters Most

Earlier, I mentioned the Black Lives Matter protests at the 2015 Netroots Nation conference, and the progressive passion of the movement to ensure that Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland did not die in vain. However, I did not note the controversy over Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley’s assertion that “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

Instead of putting his foot in his mouth, O’Malley probably would have been better off saying something along these lines:

“One of the biggest problems our country faces today is that too many powerful people believe black lives don’t matter…that brown lives don’t matter…that women’s lives don’t matter…that the lives of the poor don’t matter…that the lives of religious minorities don’t matter.

“I believe that black lives matter because I believe that all lives matter. However, our country has never really recognized the principle that all lives matter. It is our moral obligation as progressives to ensure that our country acknowledges, in practice and policy, that all lives matter.

“All lives will not matter until we diversify our elite public and private institutions to the greatest extent possible in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion, as diversity is the only medicine that will cure the disease of discrimination.

“All lives will not matter until we disarm the deranged, and implement reasonable gun control measures to stop the slaughter in our streets.

“All lives will not matter until we implement a single-payer health care system.

“All lives will not matter until we invest heavily in public education and Head Start.

“All lives will not matter until we trust women to make their own decisions about their own bodies after consulting with their clinician, not their Congressman.

“All lives will not matter until we pass a Constitutional amendment that sends the Citizens United decision to the dustbin of history where it belongs.

“All lives will not matter until the ‘Merchants of Doubt’ who are responsible for the contamination of our climate are held legally responsible for their actions.

“All lives will not matter until we stand up to those who use their influence in the media to divide us on race, class, gender and religious lines. We cannot allow the demagogues of disinformation to diminish us any longer.

“All lives will not matter until we take these steps. This is why we must act. This is why we must join together, powered by our progressive principles, driven by our desire for dignity. We are progressives because we believe that all lives matter. We are progressives because we believe that what unites us is far, far more powerful than what divides us–and we will build a country that truly has equal justice under law.”

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D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.