Chair’s Column: Stepping up the Resistance

 

Stepping up the Resistance 

 
Despite record-breaking dishonesty as a candidate, it’s clear that President Trump intends to deliver on his most dangerous and destructive promises. Through executive orders alone, Trump has demanded: federal agencies to reduce enforcement of the Affordable Care Act, called for the expansion and acceleration of deportations, and imposed a temporary travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. Furthermore, he has ordered a federal hiring freeze and directed the Environmental Protection Agency freeze all grants and contracts. This is utterly unacceptable.

Democrats should not be tempted to try to give Trump a chance, to compromise, or to stay silent in the face of these actions. We are dealing with a presidential administration that is threatening our diversity, general welfare, and freedoms of speech, expression and religion. Resistance is now a responsibility of any citizen who cherishes longstanding American values. How do we step up our resistance?

First, we must be informed about what the administration is doing. George Orwell famously said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” This statement could not be more timely. Trump overwhelms the media with an avalanche of “alternative facts,” outrages, and bewildering nonsense. To sort out smoke from the fire, I suggest reading the following daily: Washington Post, Vox, Daily Kos, ThinkProgress, Talking Points Memo, and Blue Virginia. On social media we will be posting resources and calls to action on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ArlingtonDems and on our website.

Second, we need to be calling and/or visiting our members of Congress at least once a week for the next few years. Leah Greenberg, one of the Indivisible Guide authors, told Arlington Democrats about the importance of focusing on our own members of Congress with a defensive strategy is critical. Indivisible is now posting weekly calls to action for both calls and office visits here: indivisibleguide.com/action-calendar/. If you want a more detailed script, the folks at thesixtyfive.org and 5calls.org are also posting resources weekly. And it’s best to call Senator Warner’s office at 703-442-0670 and call Senator Kaine’s office at 703-361-3192.  

Third, we need to be calling and/or visiting our General Assembly members. Too often Democrats forget about politics at the state and local level. This must end. Every Virginia resident has one member of the House of Delegates and one State Senator. They must hear from us. Through the end of February, the General Assembly is voting on a host of crucial issues: Medicaid expansion, education, renewable energy, civil rights, voting rights, non-partisan redistricting, and the allocation of Virginia’s presidential electoral votes. Find your members of the General Assembly at whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov then call and/or visit them.

Fourth, we must march again. Protest marches in support of women, immigrants, refugees, Black Lives Matter and scientists have galvanized the national spotlight on critical issues. Already the Women’s March has distracted Trump from pursuing his agenda, while building enthusiasm and a hunger for action on our side. We need to regularly remind the media that Trump is an illegitimate and incredibly unpopular president. Big protests have a way of emboldening an often easily cowed press. There will be many more marches. In the works are: April 15 Tax Day protest, April 29 Climate March, May 6 Immigrants’ March, June 15 National Pride March, and a Science March (date TBD).

Finally, as always, we need to win elections. We won’t have our Democratic nominees until June 13, but we don’t have to wait until then. There will be another special election in the House of Delegates to replace Jennifer McClellen which we will be making calls into. And by the end of February, we are going to be knocking on the doors of first-time voters asking them to commit to vote in November.

Let us commit to action. Let’s get on the phones, visit congressional offices, march in the streets and knock on doors. Trump’s agenda can be defeated. Let’s make it happen.