A few weeks ago, Slanty of Slant Eye for the Round Eye asked me to contribute a guest post for his “2009 In Review” series (jeebus knows why!?). Apparently he didn’t find my entry too shite, because he actually posted it! Huzzah! And once more for overexposure:
Best Progressive Campaign of The Year: Drop Dobbs/Basta Dobbs
We’ve all witnessed a lot of heartache and heat in the kitchen this year, politically and policy-wise. We went from flying high as a kite on the Obama victory to the jaw-grinding comedown of dismal political realities and unfulfilled pre-election promises. Bank bail-outs drew criticism from both the left and the right. The health care debate, including the disastrous teabagger-swamped town halls (and the left’s failure organize any comeback), made the fight for reform a discouraging one. Fox News’ host Glenn Beck called Obama a “racist”, with “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture”, and instead of confronting it head on, the Administration stayed consistent in its practice of evading rather than confronting racial accusations, giving more space and power to pundits’ cockamamie crap.
So amid all these wingneezys, pansy progressives, and administrative waffling, were there any wins for lefties?
Well, if anything would inspire hope for the possibility of progressive change, I would look to the “Drop Dobbs/Basta Dobbs” campaign.
Presente.org, in partnership with civil rights groups and grassroots membership, launched a campaign in September 2009 targeting CNN to drop the right-wing Dobbs (who also promoted racially-charged conspiracy theories about the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate and American citizenship).
With the power of social media, Drop Dobbs called CNN out on its hypocrisy of employing Latino reporters and promoting Soledad O’Brien’s Latino in America series while supporting Dobbs and his racist, downright bogus anti-immigrant rhetoric. Even Geraldo Rivera got up in the mix, saying “Lou Dobbs has done more to slander Latin people in this country than other single human being.”
Pressure mounted, and on November 11, Dobbs resigned and aired his last show.
The Basta Dobbs campaign demonstrated the power of the people to take down an enormous talking head and let corporate media know that this horseshit won’t be tolerated. And with immigration reform looming on the horizon, taking out one of the most vocal anti-immigrant hate-mongers – and continuing to combat such racism – will be critical to winning policies that are just and humane for our community.
While the Drop Dobbs campaign mainly targeted the Latino community, the wider backdrop– the immigration system and the need to reform it – hugely affects APIs as well. APIs are one of the fastest growing undocumented groups, with over 1.5 million. Whether we’re being exploited while “illegally” toiling in restaurants and sweatshops, waiting years or even decades to be reunited with family members due to backlogs, or prevented from accessing financial aid and job experience (or in some cases even enrolling) in higher education due to immigration status (a recent report by the University of California Office of the President revealed that 40 to 44 percent of undocumented students in the UC system are Asian), the way immigration reform shakes out will impact our lives drastically. The Drop Dobbs campaign serves as a great source of inspiration, and a model to look to for galvanizing our own communities around issues affecting us in 2010.
Yes, you bet your ass we can!