A New Kind of Activism Wins Hearts and Minds

March 27, 2017 Carol No comments exist

Something is happening here in the United States of America. There’s a new kind of activism taking hold. It began with the postinauguration women’s marches. Then gained momentum spurred by resistance against Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders. And this fierce new movement recently wowed us when organic protests sprang up around the country to save the Affordable Care Act.

A New Kind of Activism

Some call this America’s resistance. Really, we are helping one another What is now called resisting is often Americans simply helping others: a concept so alien to the Trump administration that it is labelled as subversive. Lawyers volunteer to aid unjustly detained immigrants; clergy hold interfaith rallies when one religion is attacked; citizens look out for their neighbours and lobby officials on their behalf. – Sarah Kendzior

In her exceptionally fine article, Sarah Kenzior has articulated what I feel when I watch Rachel Maddow’s fantastic video. (I promise it will make you smile.)

 

This is no ordinary political movement. Sarah Kenzior explains:

 

The resistance is broad and mainstream. 

It includes Americans of all races, ages, religions, occupations, political parties and from all regions, including regions that mostly voted for Mr. Trump. The resistance includes elderly ladies knitting hats and anti-fascist protesters punching neo-Nazis in the face. The resistance includes people who may otherwise not find common cause, but have found it in the Trump administration’s assault on democracy and human rights.

The resistance is unlikely to burn out or fade away, as it is a fight for survival.

Citizens will not blithely acquiesce to the loss of their health care, public schools and civil rights.

Milestones for The Resistance

What follows is a brief look at each of the three milestones mentioned in the introductory paragraph.

The Postinauguration Women’s Marches

‘Something is happening’: Women’s march makes history

Lawrence O’Donnell walks through America’s short history of inauguration protests and explains why the Women’s March on Washington on Donald Trump’s inauguration weekend is so significant.

Resistance against Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Executive Orders

Across the country people demanded justice for refugees and Muslim immigrants banned from entering the United States by Donald Trump. See Resistance Trumps Hate as Protesters Rally Against Anti-Immigrant Executive Orders by Alex Kane.

 

Volunteer lawyers descended on major airports. See Volunteer Lawyers Have Descended on Major Airports After Trump’s Immigration Order by Jennifer Peltz and Frank Eltman / AP.

Organic Protests Sprang up around the Country to Save the Affordable Care Act

What I love most about this story is the humanity displayed by the protesters and reciprocated by their congressman.

 

The protesters, founding members of the NJ 11th For Change, were persistent but kind as they sought to win over their congressman, Rodney Frelinghuysen. They baked cookies for his staff. They sent him valentines on Valentine’s Day. They engaged with him on a personal basis.

 

On March 24, Frelinghuysen posted the following statement on his Facebook page:

 

Seven years after enactment of Obamacare, I wanted to support legislation that made positive changes to rescue healthcare in America.

 

Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey. In addition to the loss of Medicaid coverage for so many people in my Medicaid-dependent state, the denial of essential health benefits in the individual market raise serious coverage and cost issues.

 

I remain hopeful that the American Health Care Act will be further modified. We need to get this right for all Americans.

A New Kind of Activism Spells Hope

Mr. Trump’s bad behavior may be having some positive effects. We are at last waking up. Deciding to help one another. Determined to stand together to preserve our democracy.

 

Accepting injustice as normal was part of how we got here. Refusing to accept even greater injustice as normal is the only way we will get out. – Sarah Kendzior

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