As we mentioned last week, a grassroots coalition planned to push Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to oppose cuts to essential services while the economy remained on a lifeline. Above expectations, a crowd of over 200 gathered in front of McCaskill's St. Louis office, chanting, waving signs, and applauding the honks of approving drivers who passed by. All the while, they exhorted McCaskill to make sure that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would be safe from any budget-cutting knife. At the same time, representatives from the coalition spoke with Sen. McCaskill inside her office. The anti-austerity coalition included Missouri Jobs with Justice, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Missouri Health Care for All, Missouri Pro-Vote, The Missouri Budget Project, and Metropolitan Congregations United. After a lengthy meeting, They reported back that not only had McCaskill agreed to oppose any cuts, she was actually energized by the crowd outside. As Rabbi Susan Talve passionately states in the video, filmed shortly after the meeting with McCaskill, it's not enough for progressives to meekly ask their leaders to do the right thing, or to quietly hope for the best and inevitably be disappointed. Rabbi Talve argued that in order to turn back the well-funded forces who have spent decades unraveling the promise of the American Dream, progressives have to be loud and proud and fight back with courage and intelligence and heart. She equated the fight to the Old Testament story of Joshua and Caleb, who saw the Promised Land and had the vision to know that despite the overwhelming obstacles that apparently faced them, the people of Israel could reach the Promised Land if they showed courage and used their intelligence. Getting McCaskill to oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid was a big first step for progressives in Missouri. She had co-authored a bill that would target those three programs to major cuts in order to rein in government spending, and she had previously declared "everything is on the table" with regard to cuts.
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