“You know what? The system is rigged. It is absolutely rigged. But we can unrig it if we are willing to do something.”
A year ago Turner was named president of the national Our Revolution political group founded by Bernie Sanders in his bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
She drilled down into core concepts of progressive activism for about 200 people to take away from the Our Revolution rally Friday night at the Teamsters Union Hall in Oklahoma City.
Our Revolution is a political group on the Left in Oklahoma organized by key state organizers in Sanders’ campaign, restless Democrats, and independents.
Texas political commentator Jim Hightower and Turner came to Oklahoma City Thursday and Friday to energize the fledgling movement in the city and state. They also came to help the group raise money.
Turner drew a sharp contrast between “the billions of dollars to house folks in prison” and the money spent on educating and rehabilitating those addicted to drugs.
“If we can spend billions and trillions of dollars on the military industrial complex, we can spend some of that money, just a little bit of that money, on infrastructure in this great nation for ourselves and for companies.”
Many in the audience were sitting up straight and some sitting on the edge of their seat when she emphasized a key point for the movement.
“And, baby, I just think …, if we can go to the moon, we can have Medicare for all.”
The crowd reacted with cheers and the loudest applause of the evening.
Another key moment came when she pointed to Native American concepts of making decisions with the “next seven generations in mind.”
Clearly, it was meant to encourage the long view in a group that finds itself up against great odds in a state that has seen dominance by the hard Right within the Republican Party since 2010.
“To be willing to put something on the line for something we care about. To fight the good fight. That is what we are destined to do. That’s what we must do. That is what our Revolution is about.”
Poking the power
Jim Hightower is a well-known and popular commentator from the Texas Populist tradition.
His commentaries are featured often in the Oklahoma Observer, a liberal opinion journal focused on state and national politics.
Hightower was on before Turner and for good reason.
He has been compared often to Will Rogers for his wit and ability to deliver biting commentary that pokes at society’s powerful while making people laugh.
The rally crowd hooted and laughed throughout his presentation as he delivered signature one-liners at the expense of corporate-controlled legislators in Oklahoma and Texas.
Example: “We have too many five-watt bulbs in 100-watt sockets.”
Amid the many laughs were some powerful reminders of what progressivism stands for.
He said they were “agitators for America’s proud Progressive values: economic fairness, social justice, equal opportunity for all people.”
“That’s what we stand for. That’s what America stands for.”