By Beth Eriksen Shoup
(from the Ybor City Stogie)
Editor’s note: This is particularly timely as the only two announced candidates for Tampa mayor are a billionaire and someone who boasts that he knows billionaires.
We are at a dangerous tipping point between the power of organized wealth and the strength of our political institutions.
For a long while now all government, at every level, has been under attack by the forces of organized wealth. The faces of the assailants change according to circumstances. In some places, they are bankers and financiers, or they are the extraction extremists of the energy industries.
In other places they are developers, or the millionaires and billionaires whose names sit high on edifices throughout the community advertising their greatness and generosity. It is the organized wealth that funds the campaigns of candidates who will do their bidding.
Great monetary wealth may be held by a few, but WE THE PEOPLE, WE THE MANY, WE THE 99%, rightfully hold the key to who should be elected as our leaders and that key is our VOTE.
Politics is a matter between leaders and followers, but we’ve got it twisted when we think that it is the candidates we elect who are the leaders.
WE are the leaders, they represent us, they follow our lead.
WE need to identify the issues, problems, and challenges that are affecting our communities, and bring solutions to the table for our elected officials to enact on our behalf.
WE have the power to shape their platform, elect them, and hold them accountable.
WE have the power to not re-elect them if they do not represent us, or they do not fight for the economic, social, and environmental justice that we demand.
WE are stronger together and stand in solidarity.