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Practical Guide to Resisting Trump

Yes, I'm using the president-elect's name today instead of an * because we are getting down to brass tacks now and we need to be certain about whom we are resisting.

A personal note: I am 75 years old. I have been interested in politics since I was in grammar school. I don't make a fetish of it, but I follow American politics closely, have read a variety of histories of the beginnings of our country and believe deeply in the genius of our founding fathers and, as they pointed out, the fragility of our democracy that must be carefully tended to survive.

Certainly I have disagreed with some of our past presidential administrations but never before in my three-quarters of a century have I worried about the potential destruction of our American values, beliefs and way of life.

Statue-of-liberty3

All right. That's where I am and perhaps you too. Actually, I am alarmed for the future of my country and not incidentally, for elders and others who depend on Social Security and Medicare.

In the past couple of weeks, I have written about how we can resist the alarming changes the new president, his shocking cabinet appointments, the Republican-controlled Congress and soon, far-right-leaning Supreme Court can wreak on us.

My suggestions are good as far as they go but now I have found the bible, if you will, of political resistance for our 2017 circumstances. I first read about it at Talking Point Memo last week in a story titled Ex-Hill Staffers Put A Spin On The Tea Party Playbook In Anti-Trump Guide:

”In an online guide made public Wednesday night, a number of...onetime Hill staffers say that the best way for individuals to derail the policy agenda of Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is to organize locally and badger their own congressional representatives to vote against individual pieces of legislation.

“The guide contains tips on getting members of Congress to listen to their constituents’ voices, such as showing up in groups to town hall meetings and looking 'friendly or neutral' to ensure staffers will call on them and allow them to ask pointed questions.

“The authors also recommend flooding lawmakers’ offices with calls on specific issues and targeting weak Republican candidates ahead of local elections.

“The emphasis is on consistent, coordinated, grassroots action that focuses on nitty-gritty policy specifics and individual elected officials.”

As the authors note, the Tea Party was effective. It

changed votes in Congress and defeated legislation
it radically slowed federal policymaking
it forced Republicans to reject compromise
it paved the way for the Republican takeover in 2010 and, now, Trump.

We can learn a lot from the Tea Party strategy and tactics these former Congressional staffers are telling us about and after reading their Guide, I believe them.

What is hard for you and me is that like many old people, some of us cannot get out of the house as easily as we once did, may not drive anymore or readily travel distances for demonstrations.

(That's one of the reasons for the depth of my anger about the war on Medicare and Social Security. It is really nasty to target people no longer as physically capable as the ones who are intent on killing the programs we rely on and earned.)

Over the next four years, we must make the effort to attend demonstrations and town halls when we can. But we have the internet and we can organize at home. As I mentioned last week, when I wrote about telephoning Congress, you are free to forward, copy, reprint, email and distribute these stories to other who you believe will be helpful.

The Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda has been posted online and these former progressive congressional staffers who wrote it tell us on the front page:

”You should use this guide, share it, amend it, make it your own, and get to work.”

Yes, and mine too. We're supposed to be retired now but we elders are nearly 60 million strong and we need to do our part (and more) to save Social Security and Medicare - even our country – for ourselves and for future generations . It's going to take all of us working together to do that.

You will find the Guide in a Google document here. It is long, 23 single-spaced pages. I printed it out to read the whole thing carefully and highlight what is important and useful to me. You might try that too.

Not all of it will apply to all of us. It is a step-by-step guide for individuals, for groups and for organiations to, as they write, “replicate the Tea Party's success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal dedicated group of constituents.”

Perhaps in your free time over the coming holidays, you can make yourselves familiar with the Guide and after the new year, we will be prepared for the work we need to do.

Comments

Thanks, Ronni. I agree that local mobilization is the way to go and will read this next week.

We have three marches, at least, in the Bay area on January 21 which I intend to attend and will likely pick up ideas for local activities.

I think getting in front of this is vital as we're going to be hit from all sides with many issues soon and it likely won't let up. It's necessary to be attentive and not be distracted by the little stuff, like *'s tweets, gossip, etc. Believe me, they will try.

I have written, and petitioned my local Congress person, and I know that my two state senators and governor will do all they can to resist, but I live in a "Blue" state. What about all of those people who live in so-called Red states that don't have the support of their local politicians nor the media.
I fear that any effort to "push back" will get lost in a sea of rhetoric from the right.

I live in a blue state also. I support my Senators and congressperson but it is the red states that are ignoring the devastating effects of a Trump administration. Why do people vote against their own best interest? The people barely getting by need real help not just talk.

I hate to become an obstructionist like Republicans did to fight Obama but hey, they wrote the playbook; they set the example. And I believe Trump is just flat out dangerous -- dangerously ignorant about how to run a country.

I've always communcated with my representatives in Washington and will continue to do so. Not that I believe anymore that they are there to carry out our wishes, because they often don't, but at least I can let them know whether my one vote is going to go their way when they want to get re-elected.

Thank you Ronni, just shared this on FB. I write and call my reps too, and other districts reps as well (although some of them are beginning to be selective about what contact they'll accept).

Ronni, using the other side's playbook is brilliant! I just signed up at their new website.

The gun violence prevention group I volunteer with now numbers at 3.5 million supporters across the nation and is successfully using the local organizing techniques described here. One way elders - or any voter- can get involved locally is to sign up to comment online at their state's legislative page. Here in AZ it's called "Request to Speak" and you need to sign up in person at a kiosk at the Capitol but after registering you can weigh in and comment on particular bills online, and your name and comments are read when the bill is discussed or voted on. Easy to do in your computer at home.. OR you can go down and speak in person about the bill for 3 minutes.

Yes, I agree this is the best guide for action.

I disliked the Tea Party intensely, but there is no doubt that it included some smart people. Kudos to you for discovering their playbook and using it to fight back. Anything that works, I say—Trump is dangerous enough for our best efforts!

Thank you tenfold, Ronni. I think of TimeGoesBy as my port in the storm........where I go for R and R, , restoration, rejuvenation and the strength and support to go back out and fight the good fight one more time. I think it is essential to keep standing and speaking for what we believe are the basic rights of people and take good care of our planet.

I'm all in! There is strength in numbers.

Ann

Thanks for the primer, Ronni. I will print it out later today. As you noted, some elders are no longer physically able to stand or march for hours; others may not be O.K. with driving at night and traveling long distances. Of necessity we will likely be primarily a "home-based" movement. Since I live in deep "Blue" western WA State, I'm pretty confident that my legislators at all levels will continue to represent Progressive views.

I already comment on legislative website pages when issues are of concern to me and will continue to do so, as well as send direct emails. However, as Bruce C. notes, it's "Red " state legislators that most need to be inundated with calls and mail from constituents, and non-constituents where possible, who do not agree with the *Rumpeteers or the right-wing agenda. These legislators need to be deluged with a sea of rhetoric from the left/center to counteract and even drown out that from the right. They need to be kept sufficiently busy deflecting and responding to Progressives of all age groups that they begin to pay attention to--and perhaps change their mind about--supporting radical right legislation.

I also detest the Tea Party, but I must admit (grudgingly) that they were all too successful in turning the country sharply to the right which paved the way for The Orange Apparition known as *.

Thanks so much for this "how to" guide! I'm like everyone else, nervous about the country's future, and mine as well. And determined to do as much as possible right the situation.

At this point the number of e-mails each day is daunting, and I can't get to all of them. I hope this new information will help. As I don't feel I have the stamina to go to Washington for the demonstration, I am sponsoring a younger person to go in my stead. We are just doing it one on one, but I think there are organizations in most states for sponsoring.

Thanks, Ronni. After the holidays I plan to study ways I can get involved. We are roughly the same age and I feel exactly the same way about the dangers to our country this coming administration can and probably will do. We need to stay engaged! I've never been this concerned!

There's an opportunity for action on Jan. 21, Innauguration Day in Washington DC. Go to the Women's March on Washington website for details. A bus(s) is going from Iowa. I'm sure there are groups in other states . Unfortunately, I'm not physically able to go along but moral support and cash help.

"The Women’s March on Washington aims to send a message to all levels of government, including but not limited to the incoming Presidential administration, that we stand together in solidarity and we expect elected leaders to act to protect the rights of women, their families and their communities." ~ from their website.

Thanks for the great resource, Ronni. The stupidest congressman of all, Steve King, is , unfortunately, my rep. Also, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst in the Senate. They will be avid * boot lickers, I'm afraid.

Thanks for this very practical guide. I've read it all and am really impressed. More importantly, I've sent the link along to everyone I can think of. The more people know about this and use it, the better.

I also live in a deep blue area--Seattle--so I know my rep and my senators are on my side, but I've also sent the link to people I know who agree with me but who live in red states. If each of us would do that, think how far this could spread.

Better watch out, Ronni... The Trumps are sue happy and our next "First Lady" is now sueing some unknown blogger for insulting her.
For $150 million can you believe?

You might be next.

I meant that as wry humor but it's sadly true. And as others have said, I appreciate your informing us about resistance.

Our Oregon representatives are liberal dems and happy to take calls. Ron Wyden, especially, is responsive to letters and phone calls from members...I always throw my former union affiliation into my introduction as the CWA7901 has been a big supporter of him for a long time.

Snow predicted again for tomorrow. Ain't it fun?
Elle in Beaverton

Oh and Re: the woman's March on Washington can't get a permit as the Trump people have blocked access to the area for several weeks before and after the inauguration due to Unknown Celebration Conflicts.

Reported in Daily Koz today.

Unless things change soon it may not be a happening thing.

I can't remember having to get permits in the 1960s. Or 1970s. We just all went and protested. How things do change.

Like Mary above, I have long wondered why people vote against their own self interest. People in red states are the ones who will suffer most when his tax reduction plans are put into place.

In answer to that question I just finished a book that explains a lot of it. "What's the Matter With Kansas" by Thomas Frank was published in 2004 but explains much of what is happening today.

According to the book political discussion has shifted from social and economic issues to hot-button issues like abortion and gay rights. The anger generated is then directed at "liberal elites." Wikipedia has a clear run-down on the book.

It is a complex issue but something that we can influence in our daily conversations. The cultural issue lament is always vague and looks to blame "the establishment" so if that conversation can be brought into the real world of economic self interest at least we can begin to bring rationality into the conversation.

Unfortunately, the rules and standards for citizens to use in order to engage elected representatives have been structured such that we often are nothing more than procedural gestures.

Typically at city and county council meetings, at the start of a session, anyone can speak to the council ... for a max of 3 minutes. Councils will sit quietly, maybe listen but rarely will they respond. However, council friendly bureaucrats can take as much time as they want to rebutt citizen complaints ... and citizen's aren't allowed to say "hogwash" to the rebuttals.

And, if you want to talk w/ an elected representative, good luck. You might get a 10 minute office visit or a slightly longer phone conversation - but don't expect too much - they are extremely wary when talking to us.

Perhaps, you might think, "all I need to do is join a action group or organize a community". Good luck with that too ... just remember the cliche about herding cats.

When all else fails, there's legal actions - legal warnings and lawsuits - that might be the only option available to citizens ... and that's extremely costly. But remember, you will be herding cats in order to raise funds for the legal work.

Don't be disheartened ... change can happen ... it just will take time - years - to occur. Conservative Republicans have been working to roll back FDR's legacy since the moment he died and the Teabagger's early efforts date back to the 1960s.

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