Let’s Move Alameda off ‘Stuck’


Democracy is not a noun, not a thing to be found “out there,” somewhere. Democracy is an action verb whose spirit and agency is found in the heart of each of us.

We are re-evaluating what democracy now means, and as we fight for its return, we must be that democracy we wish to see. “If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done in 1930s Germany or during the civil rights movement, you’re doing it now.” 

As we approach the mid-term elections on Nov. 6, our circumstances remain abnormal. Prior to 2016 we assumed that our democratic institutions would automatically maintain themselves against even the most direct assaults. We were wrong.

We assumed that a politician coming to power through our democratic institutions wouldn’t turn around and change or destroy those very same institutions that gave him power. We were wrong.

We never thought the ugliness of white supremacy, racism, xenophobia — fear of the “other” — and bigotry would imprint itself on this community. Sadly, we were wrong. The surfacing of birtherism was but the latest expression of this malignant affliction.

Every election is a critical election and November’s even more so. It will be remembered for the motto, “Flip Red to Blue.” But it’s more than that. It’s about transforming the very instrument of representative government. This is not about flipping a Democrat for a Republican. This is about flipping the prevailing philosophies and attitudes carried by our representatives, and hence, choosing the right Democrat as well.

Such is the case in little ol’ Alameda. We are at a crossroads. This is our opportunity to make the most important decision we will ever make. Thus we must pound home the great necessity to vote in the upcoming election. The Nov. 6 election is about stepping off the Alameda carousel, moving off “stuck” and re-charting a course to Alameda’s greater-yet-to-be where everyone does indeed belong. 


Gaby Dolphin is a political activist who lives in Alameda. She is the co-president of the Alameda Democratic Club.