First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
This last weekend, on two different stages (well, one was a stage; one was a chair) I stood up in front of a crowd of people to talk about how we change our political system.
There was every reason for these events to be poorly attended.
On Saturday, it was beautiful outside. That first gorgeous spring day that announces itself with a daffodil and the whiff of freshly dug earth. It was a perfect morning to garden, or go to a park, or go for a bike ride, or just lolly about in your yard. Instead, beginning at 8:30 a.m., a whole passel of activists packed into a union hall, networking and learning about how we can better communicate with our rural counterparts.
Then, on Sunday, it was snowing. (Yes, I live in the midwest.) Big, heavy, fluffy snowflakes came down so fast that by the time I walked from my car to the front door my hair was dripping. It was the perfect afternoon to make snowballs, or sit with a cup of cocoa by the fire and admire the scene from indoors. But, snow notwithstanding, a whole passel of activists packed into a beautiful home, networking and learning about how to support Democrats in districts throughout our state.
Fast forward to yesterday, when I saw an article in the New York Times about a liberal who has decided to stick his head in the sand and purposefully shut out political news – for the past year.
That one individual, living in a self-imposed “blockade” of reality, made it into the New York Times. (And no, I will not support that article by providing a link to it.)
But those inspiring rooms packed full of activists in “red” America? Well, we don’t make the front pages of even our local papers, to the extent they still exist.
Part of me appreciates the fact that we’re not on the front page of national publications, because if we did, perhaps there would be more push back from the right. With additional attention, perhaps we’d have more resistance to the Resistance.
But the other part of me bristles.
Because there is an historic movement that is going on, and they’re completely missing it.
There are rooms full of people who had never been politically active before, who can now discuss Senate bills by number and recite their Senator and Rep’s recent voting records.
There are people who talk about voter suppression with the passion of a life-long activist, who never even thought about it before January 2017.
I heard Jason Kander speak recently (at yet another packed event) and he related the story of a woman he met in another city who was tasked with driving him from event to event. Everyone seemed to know her. She’d walk into a room, and people would greet her by name, as if she were the mayor of the Resistance.
He asked her how many years she had been volunteering for the Democratic party.
She’s been volunteering since January 20, 2017.
That, friends, is the story.
And you’re part of it. Whether you’ve been an activist for your whole life or you’re entirely new to the game, we’re the ones that are on the front lines, not looking for attention but looking for results.
And when we see those results in November, I think they’ll see. They missed our story.
I’m glad we’re living it.
Let’s get to work.
Speaking of people who are often overlooked… Students, and young people in general, are often the catalysts for change – but are just as often dismissed as being “too young.” So it’s high time we adults to step up and see how we can support the young people in our lives who may be readying themselves for a school walk out on Wednesday to protest and advocate for gun control.
First: Hat tip of hat tips to Theresa C. for sending this resource to me – it’s phenomenal.
Second: Check out and share Youth In Front (http://www.youthinfront.org) – which has pages dedicated to both youth and adults, has information about how we can all be better allies, and how to continue the protest long after the “event” has ended. It’s truly a great website to bookmark and return to, and also to share with your network – especially in advance of tomorrow’s walk out.
Thursday: Ask Your Rep to Sign On to This Letter re: russian sanctions
On Monday, 140 Representatives signed onto a letter that urges Trump to impose the Russian sanctions that Congress passed last year. As we’ve discussed, the Trump administration has completely failed to impose those sanctions by the January deadline, so this letter is a welcome sight.
Go here to see the list of Representatives, and ensure that yours is on that list. If not, here’s a script to (ahem) “encourage” them to be on the right side of history.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to find out why, exactly, Congressman/woman ______ did not sign onto the March 12 letter to the President regarding his administration’s complete failure to implement the sanctions that were passed overwhelmingly by Congress. Why on earth would the Congressman/woman not want to call out the administration on its failure to follow a directive of Congress? What is the Congressman/woman’s position on Russian interference in our elections?
Friday: Urge Your Senator to End Support of Saudi Attacks in Yemen
Resistbot Text: Dear Senator ___, I do not support US involvement in war-torn Yemen. I do, however, support Congress doing its job in authorizing and overseeing the conduct of US military operations. I urge you to support the resolution introduced by Senators Sanders, Lee and Murphy to end US support of Saudi Arabia’s operations in Yemen.
(**Hat tip to Susan Craig for her understanding of foreign affairs and willingness to share her talents with us!)
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.
If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Lastly, if you’d like to support this work (thanks to those who have done so!), you can become a supporter here.