People deal with traumatic events in various ways, and the Trumpocalypse is no exception. Some get stuck on sadness, others on anger. But my sense is that more of us are taking steps to oppose the incoming administration than is generally acknowledged, and that’s a good thing. (I get this impression not just from reading comments here but from observing my real-life circle, which includes non-activists who are suddenly very much activists.)
Valued commenter StringOnAStick wanted to do something constructive. Here’s her account of her post-election journey, some independent activism she engaged in, and how she chose OFA as a vehicle for activism going forward:
Once I started to exit my funk over this election, I realized the only way I was going to get through this was by getting active, and trying to get others to do so too. First I started by putting together easy action emails for friends with all the work done like “here are some letters, here are the addresses, here’s your rep’s phone number so call about this issue”, etc. Kay has been the source for many of my group emails, like her wonderful idea that what we need in the rustbelt/voter suppression states is paid locals on the ground, organizing, getting people registered to vote by helping them through the hoops, not just parachuting in every 4 years for a presidential election then blowing town. That became a letter action for my friends to mail to the DNC, DCCC, DSCC, and whoever else they wanted to send it to. I started feeling that while doing this was something and made me feel better, it wasn’t going to be enough so I started looking around for what group was well organized enough to deserve my time and already had trained people with plans and ideas. I went to an OFA meeting last night to see if this was the group I wanted to be involved with. OFA, formerly Organizing for Action, now Organizing for America, fits the bill, IMO, and the fact that President Obama has said he will be all over this once he is a private citizen means OFA will have a huge and popular presence at the top.
Last night in the Denver area, about 120 people met to listen to the main OFA organizer in this area. She was well organized (duh!) with a timed agenda and speakers so that this would be a well run meeting, and not devolve into hours of kvetching, so my time was not wasted. We heard from various individuals who had put together events such as climate change conferences, a woman with a teachable specialty in writing letters to the editor (newspapers still have more readers than your FB feed, honest), a discussion of gentrification issues here in Denver, how to set up a phone bank; all were people who had received some training from OFA, and these were the directions they went with it. It gave me hope and stiffened my spine, something we all need these days. I will soon be receiving an email summary of what was discussed last night and whom to contact for various subgroups within the group that I will choose to work more deeply with. Like I said, they didn’t waste my time, and they have direction with trained leaders at all levels, plus opportunities to receive training.
I see OFA as our most organized vehicle to push back against the Drumpf agenda because these wheels have already been invented; we don’t have to invent them again. To those who say “oh yeah, well why wasn’t OFA registering voters?” the reality is that since it is a group directly attached to the sitting president, they could not legally do that. This all changes come January 20th, and President Obama made it clear to the people on the phone call to OFA organizers 2 weeks ago that voting rights are going to his post-presidential project; I have no doubt that he’ll have other areas of activity as well through OFA. Considering how much fuss was raised at the idea of an activist ex-President on FOX and Twitter today, I’d say that idea has the right in a bit of a snit. Good; I like it when they snit, it means we are getting to them. President Obama has amazing approval ratings, commands attention and respect, and he is OFA’s secret weapon, so why wouldn’t we want to hitch our wagon to an already organized and operating group? Go to www.BarackObama.com, click on “Connect” in the upper right hand corner and create an account, then start looking for events and issues you feel strongly about on the “Explore” tab after you hit “Connect.” Most states have at least one group, so you can drill down to your local area, join the group by clicking on it, and then you’ll get the emails about what your group is planning and what is coming up.
I know, joining a group is scary because they might want you to, horrors! do something. How hard is it to write a letter to the editor or your congressman? Not that hard; I learned last night that rule #1 for getting your letter published is for it to be under 150 words; good to know. By not engaging in LTTE campaigns, we’ve ceded the whole newspaper space to the crazies; fight back! In general though, the next 4 years are going to be an All Hands on Deck time, and we all need to get organized with others who share our goals, and RESIST what is coming. I’ve made my commitment, and I deeply, sincerely hope the rest of us will too.
Democrats seem divided between those who believe the Trump administration will be a particularly bad Republican presidency but one that our institutions are strong enough to absorb and bounce back from and those who view it as an existential threat to our democracy. Whichever camp you’re in, action will be required to oppose the shitgibbon.
If you’re doing something to resist, feel free to share your experience in comments. Otherwise, open thread!