Elders: Don't Let Trump Fatigue Stop You
Monday, 27 February 2017
Protests work. We who are old enough learned that first hand back in the 1960s when we stopped a war, helped force through civil rights legislation and made a big leap forward with women's rights. And it's true again in the 20-teens.
In addition to some wins and the growing resistance movement now, you can tell for sure progress is being made when the opposition gets scared enough to threaten criminal action.
Take a look at this map:
Republicans in at least 18 state legislatures have introduced bills that would restrict public protests and in some cases, criminalize them. The Hill reports:
”Arizona Republicans have introduced a measure to expand racketeering laws, which target organized crime groups, to include rioting. The bill would allow police officers to arrest and the seize the assets of those who organize protest events...
“One measure in Tennessee goes so far as to give civil immunity to a driver who hits a protester blocking traffic.
“The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Hill (R), comes after a car hit volunteers helping protesters cross a street in Nashville as they demonstrated against the Trump administration’s orders blocking immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.”
The Washington Post, in publishing a thorough listing of the various legislation to date noted that there are already plenty of laws throughout the U.S. that control public demonstrations:
“Democrats in many of these states are fighting the legislation. They cite existing laws that already make it a crime to block traffic, the possibility of a chilling effect on protests across the political spectrum, and concerns for protesters’ safety in the face of aggressive motorists.”
The Post reporter goes on to describe pending legislation in each of the 18 states. Some examples:
• “An Indiana Senate committee recently toned down a bill that would have allowed police to shut down highway protests using 'any means necessary.' The current version allows police to issue fines for such behavior.”
• “A Republican lawmaker [in Missouri] has introduced legislation that would make it illegal for protesters to wear masks, robes or other disguises during protests deemed to be illegal.”
• “A bill before the Mississippi legislature would make obstruction of traffic a felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence.”
• “A novel piece of legislation in Oregon would require public community colleges and universities to expel any student convicted of participating in a violent riot.”
None of the 18 bills has become law yet and according to the ACLU, most of them are unconstitutional. Even so, it takes time, money and effort to fight them and to me, the legislation frighteningly exposes how ignorant or dismissive or both of the First Amendment state Republican leaders are. ACLU senior staff attorney, Lee Rowland:
I bring all this to your attention because it is just one of the many overt and sneaky ways the Trump administration and the Republicans - as much in the states as in Congress - are working hard to strip away constitutionally guaranteed rights.
That, and how easy it is for us to succumb to Trump fatigue. With ten new outrageous assaults on our senses every day, it's not hard to throw up our hands and stop reading the news.
Please don't. I know as well as anyone how hard it is for old people to get out and march for several hours. But there is a lot more we can do if we cannot be there in person.
And it must be us, the people, because I didn't see anything on Saturday at the election of the new leadership of the Democratic Party that will correct any of their ineptness.
Michael Moore has some good ideas for us. Here's the first item of his ten point plan:
THE DAILY CALL: You must call Congress every day. Yes – YOU! 202-225-3121. It will take just TWO MINUTES! Make it part of your daily routine, one of those five things you do every morning without even thinking about it:
- Wake up
- Brush teeth
- Walk dog (or stare at cat)
- Make coffee
- Call Congress
Further, says Moore, and I agree one hundred percent with this important note:
”[I]f you’re saying to yourself, 'I don’t need to call because my rep is a Democrat!' — that is NOT true. They need to hear from you. They need to know they have your support.
“Don’t believe it? Our beloved Sen. Elizabeth Warren voted in favor of Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development! I’m sure no one in Massachusetts thought they had to call her. YOU DO! She and the other Dems need to hear from the boss — YOU! They work for us – and what boss doesn’t have daily contact with his or her employees?”
Moore includes another terrific idea, a smart phone app someone created called 5 Calls that Moore says “...will dial the friggin’ phone for you and give you talking points for when you speak to your reps!”
It's available for both Android and Apple smartphones. I downloaded it and it couldn't be easier. Give it permission to access you location then, each day, there are a dozen or so issues about which you can call your representatives.
It even gives you a good explanation of each issue then shows you a photo of your representative with his/her phone number. Tap it and the phones dials for you.
Michael Moore has a lot of other good ideas in his Ten Things, many of which even we old folks can do.
We can't let protesting get old. We can't allow ourselves to become bored with it. We can't let President Trump wear us down. Our children, grandchildren and our country, need us to fight back as hard as we can.
It's human nature to adapt. Many people, no matter how strongly they feel about what is happening to democracy in the US and abroad, will slowly think the Trump administration, and the terrible things they do, is 'normal', and they will adapt, which is only another word for giving in. So that makes it more important than ever for you, and others to keep on talking about it, and writing about it. And you are correct about the Democrats. There was nothing about their convention that gave me hope!
Posted by: Still the Lucky Few | Monday, 27 February 2017 at 07:58 AM
I downloaded the "5 Stars" app. It looks very simple and straightforward. I assume the numbers being given are to my senator's (D) office, since it's different from the number you cited, Ronni. And there's a different number for the House Judiciary Committee.
The calls are and always have been important. Remember how calls stopped the GOP's effort on Day One to weakend the independent ethics committee? Who knows what they hoped to do if they could hamstring that annoying oversight. Shows a lot about how they feel about ethics in general, doesn't it?
I've thought of making calls in the past, but never went to the trouble of figuring out where to call or what to say. This app does than for me. The one shortcoming is that it doesn't include our other senator's (R) name and number so I can call and tell him how unhappy I am with things he does. Senators represent their entire state, not just one gerrymendered district. The app should include both senators from each state. Being an independent myself, I'm not sure how the app decided which senator to show me -- unless the entire app only lists Democrats, which would be a regrettable shortcoming.
Posted by: PiedType | Monday, 27 February 2017 at 08:32 AM
There is power in numbers. The Republican party have tried to dismantle Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid ever since they became law. There is a reason it has been called "the third rail in politics" because elders rose up in mass to protest their efforts and the
legislators backed off.
Now there is so much to protest it must be a constant drum beat to let them know that we are mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore. You are right on, Ronni. Protesting has to be a habit.
Now fighting Congress is more important than ever because as the country slips into Oligarchy (or even Fascism) and Democracy is weakened, you are helping to save our country.
Because of my hearing loss I do not have a cell phone. I wish there was an app for a land line phone that would dial for me.
Posted by: Darlene | Monday, 27 February 2017 at 08:47 AM
I thought we learned our lesson after Mayor Daley's police riot at the Democratic convention in 1968 and the Kent State shooting in 1970.
Are we really going to condone open slaughter on the streets of U.S. cities for doing what is our constitutional right to do?
I'm can't wait until they start issuing brown shirts and armbands.
Posted by: Bruce Cooper | Monday, 27 February 2017 at 09:10 AM
The Trumpists are a regime, not a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The popular vote supports that conclusion.
I'd guess that many elders in the 70+ range are not big cell phone users for a variety of reasons. I have a love/hate relationship with mine, but it leans toward the latter. I use it to communicate with my husband and volunteer group, read email and occasionally glance at the news but not much else. One way or another many of the endless "apps" cost money, too!
When I call Congress, it's from my home office phone, which is easier to hang on to, hear and see. However, I usually use email to communicate with my representative and senators even though I'm told it's not as effective as phone calls. I receive acknowledgments of every email I send--and there are plenty these days--so at least a machine, if not a human, must be reading (and counting) them.
Posted by: Elizabeth Rogers | Monday, 27 February 2017 at 12:16 PM
I thought that after the election was over that the number of solicitations of funds by email would thin out. Boy, was I wrong!! I'm getting as many or more request for money every day, each of them predicting the fall of the Democrats if I don't give them at least $3 a day to each one. Even if I had a lot of money I couldn't keep up with the requests -- mainly they have become major annoyances. I know that it takes money to run a campaign, but I wish they would limit their requests to one a week, rather than two or three a day.
I know I can unsubscribe, but then I get no news on what's going on. With #45 issuing up to ten or more "edicts" a day, it's impossible to keep track of what's going on each day. I don't know the answer to this dilemma, but I do know that I spend several hours a day just cleaning up my inbox. It's too much! It would be different if I were a paid worker for the party, but instead, they want me to pay them.
I guess I just need to take a break for a little while...
Posted by: Classof65 | Monday, 27 February 2017 at 05:48 PM
We liberals were beaten badly and worse we didn’t even see it coming. I see the problem as deeper and wider than 45 and his associates. Republicans control all three branches of government and most state governors and legislatures. To affect long term change, more young people must vote and more liberals must run for local offices and then maybe gerrymandering would be challenged.
I will continue to write and call but I see social media as the more influential platform. I struggle against Trump despair.
Posted by: mia mccabe | Monday, 27 February 2017 at 06:56 PM
I'm shocked to see such a bill here in the bastion of NorthWest liberalism, Oregon!...My next call to Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkly will be about this big, you can bet on that!
I'll download that app..not because I don't already have the senators and house reps on my iPhone but because I like the idea of a focused call on specific issues.
Be well Ronni..keep the faith.
Posted by: Elle Hayes | Tuesday, 28 February 2017 at 06:30 AM
There are various groups you can connect with who are working on long-term plans to fight the Trump agenda. Here in NE Florida we have 70 groups of Indivisible within 100 mile of us. Our county has a group, which I'm attending. Also the Women's March group is starting tonight, so I'll check that out also....And Jacksonville has a Community Action Network. Explore what's available in your area and attend--see which one fits for you, and get to work!
Posted by: Nana Royer | Tuesday, 28 February 2017 at 10:01 AM
I'm using a thing called Daily Action [https://dailyaction.org/] that sends me a daily text with talking points and then I am put through to the daily target. It's unbelievably easy. We have to keep doing this stuff -- and whatever else we can locally.
Posted by: janinsanfran | Tuesday, 28 February 2017 at 06:41 PM