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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/1/11

10 Great Progressive Moments of 2010

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2010 was a wild ride.

The year had its share of low points for progressives, like the reelection defeats of Senator Russ Feingold and Representative Alan Grayson, the scrapping of a single-payer health care option, Arizona's xenophobic new laws, and the extension of tax breaks for zillionaires.

But the year also had some high points.

Here are my 10 favorites political moments of 2010, in chronological order:

1. February 24 - General Motors announced that it would discontinue production of the gas-guzzling Hummer. The planet is grateful.

2. March 23 - President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law. It's far from perfect, but far better than nothing.

3. May 17 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juveniles convicted of non-homicide crimes may not be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Every child deserves a chance at redemption.

4. August 4 - Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that California's Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative which outlawed same-sex marriage in that state, is unconstitutional. There is still a long court battle ahead, but each positive step is worth celebrating.

5. August 7 - Elena Kagan was sworn in as U.S. Supreme Court Justice. For the first time in history, the highest court in the land has three women justices serving concurrently.

6. September 14 - Iran released American hiker Sarah Shourd. Hopefully her two companions, still imprisoned, will join her in 2011.

7. November 02 - Christine ("I Am Not A Witch") O'Donnell lost the Senate race in Delaware to Democrat Chris Coons, and Sharron ("Second Amendment Remedies") Angle lost in Nevada to incumbent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Maybe there really is a God.

8. November 13 - Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was freed after spending almost 15 of the last 21 years either in prison or under house arrest. Often called the new Mandela, she is a symbol of courage and an inspiration to so many of us in the fight for human rights.

9. December 18 - Congress repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", which had prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military. We're all a little more equal now.

10. December 22 - The U.S. Senate ratified the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). We're all a little bit safer.

Happy New Year to all, with cautious hopes for more progress in 2011.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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