We’re now beyond “To act, or not to act”. While it appears that “wait-and-see” continues as the modus operandi for most of those who voted for the person who currently holds the office of President, (although the Trumpcare proposal is causing a few cracks to appear) I think it’s safe to say that nearly all of us who voted against him have seen enough, and that there’s no more time for waiting.
Not since the Viet Nam War have the actions and words of a President produced such a polarized and angry climate. I don’t think the degree of pissoffedness (or is it pissedoffness?) is not really measured by the public opinion polls. The latest poll has Mr. T at a 37% approval rating vs. 58% disapproval. What I have observed is this — the 37% has been pretty quiet lately, and the 58% are mad as hell.
We are mad about this madness in Washington (and not just the White House) and many of us want to be more involved in this fight — this “resistance”. But we don’t really know where to direct all our new-found energy.
Karen and I were talking to someone at a coffee shop on Friday and “the situation” came up, as it often does these days. The woman we’d just met told us she was going to an event the next day, and that perhaps we might be interested as well. It was the annual state meeting of TakeActionMinnesota.org, a political action and lobbying group that has been around for 10 years.
So we went. It turned out to be a very good way to spend 3 hours.
I went to a breakout session on communicating with elected officials, where a large group was divided into tables of about a dozen people, each discussion facilitated by a TakeActionMN leader. Karen went to the health care session.
Nick Faber, Vice President of the St. Paul teachers union, led my group’s discussion. Also at my table were a candidate for Minneapolis City Council, a candidate for Mayor of St. Paul, and a State Representative.
State Representative Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis, the first Somali-American elected to statewide office in the the nation addressed the larger group. After lunch, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, who recently finished second in the quest for the chair of the Democratic National Committee, mingled and chatted with anyone who was interested, and then got up and gave a rousing call-to-action speech. I feel good about living in a city that elected both of these people — especially in these strange and turbulent times.
The energy level in the Paul & Sheila Wellstone Center for Community Building was high, and the message mostly hopeful and positive. There’s much work to be done, but it feels like a lot of us are willing to be more informed and more engaged than we have in the past. What will that be for me? I’m not entirely sure yet. It will start with sending a check to TakeAction Minnesota. Then I will move through the menu of options for involvement and decide what other things I’m willing to do.
Let’s keep in mind that this fight is not about one person. While he’s big and and obnoxious and scary, he’s a symptom, not the disease.
I will, no doubt, continue to complain. But I have to do more than than. We all have to do more than that. Thanks to Cathy at the coffee shop, we at least got started.
Looking through my Photo-of-the-Day choices, I realized that the theme for last week was “getting together with groups of people” — some friends, some new acquaintances, and a couple of krazy kids. I began and ended the week with new groups doing things that were (mostly) new to me — good bookends for the week.
Here are my photos for Week #11 of 2017.