Do you feel like pushing back against the barrage of anti-American positions coming from the Trump White House and Republican-majority Congress is ultimately futile? Have you asked yourself if all the rallies, protests, and grassroots activism are even worth it in the long run? You’re not alone.
We are bombarded daily with headlines about an EPA that does anything but protect the environment, and an education department that seeks to eliminate public education. We hear predictions back and forth about whether or not the Republican healthcare “replacement” to the Affordable Care Act will pass, whether there will be a full investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, whether we’ll see an end to Social Security and Medicare, and which country we will be at war with next month. It’s understandable if you’re feeling frustrated.
But on a happy note, the dogged progressive movement is actually achieving a positive outcome. Here are some of the most noteworthy accomplishments.
After outcry from Democrats and labor groups, Andrew Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, Trump’s first choice to head the Labor Department, withdrew from consideration last month.
In another local action, people assembled at statehouses in New Mexico and Montana to voice opposition to House bill 621, which would have ordered the incoming Interior Secretary to sell off 3.3 million acres of national land in ten states. Early last month, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) withdrew that bill.
The #GrabYourWallet campaign that began in October 2016 lists dozens of companies with ties to the president or his family’s products and those that endorsed Trump during the election campaign. In response, scores of companies have dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, including Shoes.com, Shopstyle, and Nordstrom. In addition to delivering a financial blow to Ivanka Trump, GrabYourWallet succeeded in angering the president, who tweeted that Nordstrom had treated Ivanka “so unfairly.”
On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order suspending immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Thousands gathered at airports in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Ohio, Orlando and elsewhere to protest as travelers from the seven countries were detained. 200,000 people reportedly deleted their Uber accounts after Uber refused to participate in a taxi drivers’ strike at JFK airport. Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and National Immigration Law Center filed lawsuits against the order. On February 3, a federal judge ordered a temporary halt on the ban, restoring travel for refugees and people from the excluded countries. On February 9, the ninth circuit court of appeals upheld that ruling. The beginning of this week, Trump issued a revised executive order.
This past Presidents’ Day saw “Not My President Day” rallies nationwide.
People took advantage of the Congressional recess to report to town hall meetings with questions to lawmakers of both parties about their commitment to the Affordable Care Act, the environment, education, reproductive rights, and investigations into President Trump’s ties to Russia, among others. Many members of Congress chose to actively hide from their constituents and not host events. This only served to inflame matters when activists drew public attention to it. Many member of Congress commented on the impact this had.
Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL) said:
“In my opinion, the massive obstructionist nature of the protests, particularly the disruption of town hall meetings, is having an effect on a good number of our more liberal, big government, weak-kneed, squishy-spined Republican senators and House members. In the absence of a counter force, the protests will likely be successful in preventing an outright repeal of Obamacare.”
In light of the effects our efforts are having, we must persist, not abate. And yet, there are powerful forces from the right, from government officials to right-wing hate media, that seek to de-legitimize any peaceful protest and paint demonstrators as destructive and nefarious to national sovereignty. Don’t buy it. We’re winning. We’re winning “bigly.” Just keep it peaceful. Pro-Trump factions don’t need more ammunition for their ire.
As progressives’ favorite senator, Bernie Sanders, has said many times, “Despair is not an option.” From groups getting together to mail postcards, to spontaneous rallies and marches such as the one I attended for education justice last weekend, we need to continue showing Trump and his administration–even some Democrats–they work for us, and we will not be cowed by fear, intimidation, partisan politics, or division.
Featured image from Planetsave.com.