Mills students and faculty gathered to participate in a “Post Election Debriefing” after what was said to be “the most important election of our lifetime” on Thursday Nov. 4.
The event, sponsored by the Public Policy program at Mills, opened with a concise summary of the measures that did and did not pass in the city of Oakland.
“Basically anything that was progressive didn’t pass,” said Emery Roe, professor of public policy at Mills.
Bobby Wren-Banks of Women’s Action for New Direction, an organization aimed at getting women involved in politics, spoke at the event and said that the conversation about the presidential election was an important one to have.
“At Mills it’s good that we are able to share in this national conversation, in fact, global conversation,” Wren-Banks said.
Participants were asked to share how they felt about the outcome of the election and President George W. Bush’s win. As a group, they summarized their emotions with the words “demoralized,” “worried,” “terrified,” and “grief stricken.”
Each participant stated a few issues they thought would be important in the next four years on both domestic and foreign fronts. The most common concerns were about domestic environmental issues, the Supreme Court and the judges Bush will appoint, the United States’ financial crisis, and the civil rights of women, people of color and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
On foreign fronts, participants were most concerned with oil and energy policy, relations with the Middle East, Iraq, Iran and its nuclear capabilities, nuclear proliferation, the “Bush doctrine” and the “U.S. Global Empire.”
Wren-Banks believes that Bush will focus his next four years on privatizing social security, banning same sex marriage, remaking the US Supreme Court, rethinking tax laws by making them “simpler and fairer,” and creating an “ownership society.”
Wren-Banks emphasized military and security issues.
“We’re spending more on our military than the rest of the world combined,” she said.
The US spent $150 billion in Iraq, and Wren-Banks said that it’s important to ask what else could have been done with the money.
She also argued that nuclear proliferation is a significant issue to follow and said, “We have to watch what this administration is going to do about nuclear weapons.”
Many participants wanted to know what to do next. Wren-Banks said, “Over the next four years we need to keep our eye on the ball and the right ball. A lot of good things did happen [during this election] and we have created something we can build on.”
She left the group with three quotes from bumper stickers she has on her car: “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes,” “Wage Peace,” and “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”