by Joe Courter
When last I wrote one of these, it was two weeks before the inauguration of Donald Trump as Pres #45. Now it is over 40 days later, and we have seen a nightmare Cabinet appointed, an unhinged press conference, rollbacks on Court cases on voter rights and environmental regulations, and the sickening reality that it is going to be a long haul.
However, also there’s an invigorated anticipation at the level of activism and resistance which is manifesting all over the country. This issue of the Iguana provides some viewpoints on coping with and fighting back against the coming reactionary period, a period which will span beyond any impeachment, as Mike Pence would not be much relief from the attacks on our hard fought for rights and liberties.
It was an obituary in the Sun which caught my eye and gave me focus. Brandy Wight had died peacefully in his sleep at age 101, only 3 months from turning 102. Brandy and his loving partner and husband Bruce Blackwell had been together over twenty years. They were occasional attendees at Civic Media Center movies in the past few years, and I always had a great conversation with them. It is great they and so many others got to formalize their relationship thanks to social advances in recent years.
When I look ahead at the coming years, I think of them, their now state sanctioned love, and wonder if there will be attempts to un-do that hard fought right.
And as well, I think of the love of immigrant families that may be split apart, the strained love of families in economic hardship because of loss of healthcare, the distress of minorities subject to growing racism, and the loss to our future quality of life as pollution restrictions are lifted and climate change is ignored. We have gains to be defended, and advances which still need to be fought for.
There will be setbacks we can be certain. Recriminations of how we got here are not useful; there will be a good percentage of Trump voters who will be having voter’s remorse as Trump’s actions or in-actions affect their lives, and continuing to blame and shame them will not help anything.
We need to learn what got us here, and try for counter-measures that will involve organizing others as well as organizing ourselves. It means becoming more active and developing a higher sense of civic involvement, trying to take on the entrenched power structure which control our elections, including voting rights, gerrymandered districts, and the high cost of campaigning which gives big money a commanding voice.
Does each of us have to do all this? No. We each have our lives to live, and around me I see people who have upped their activism to a stress inducing level. You need to strike a balance, do what you are good at or develop skills which are useful and you can tolerate committing to.
The huge Washington DC Women’s March was a real catalyst for bringing people together. Seeing the big turnout at the follow-up Women’s March Florida celebration on Sunday, Feb 26 at First Magnitude, with signs all along the wooden perimeter fence, was a really welcome sight.
Individual actions are fine, but joining an organization – and the Resistance movement has gathered and spawned many – can give that human connection that can sustain political commitment. Plug yourself in in whatever way you can. See suggestions at facebook.com/wmflgnv and/or https://www.resistancecalendar.org/.
And I know it is asking a lot, with all the horror we feel at national politics, but our own mini-Trump and right wing gang in Tallahassee are in their Legislative session in March. This gang and their gerrymandered majority need scrutiny and input from voters as well. Huge thanks to all the citizen activists, union organizers and interest groups who try and ride herd on these slippery self-serving alleged public servants.
We are many, they are few. As Joe Hill said: “Don’t mourn, organize.”