Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Call to Action: Concord Reboots Democracy, Indivisible Massachusetts

Betsy reporting from the front lines of the Indivisible Resistance Movement...

Our first meeting of ten people was in our living room. Forty-five people came to the second meeting in our condominium common room. Our representative, Nikki Tsongas, is coming to our third meeting, which we had to move to a local church parish hall. There are now 148 members and many “views” and ”likes” of our Indivisible Facebook page.

Indivisible groups are growing throughout the US. There are now over 4500 groups with Facebook pages or websites taking action. Some are boycotting products of companies with heavy Trump investment. Others traveled far to the Women’s March in Washington or in their own states. These groups are the result of the Indivisible Guide written by five Congressional staff members and posted on their website ( , the Indivisible Facebook Page and the#StandIndivisible Twitter handle. Their guide and ongoing support is critical to coordination of a national movement to resist Trump.

On January 21, standing in the middle of the protestors in Washington, I heard waves of cheering and chanting rolling across the crowd. The deep roar of over a million voices swelled over the Mall. Pink hats were everywhere on men and women. People helped each other through the crowd.

Since then, Indivisible groups have continued to take action. At the conclusion of our first small meeting, everyone identified an action they would take in the next three days and report back on our Facebook page. Actions began appearing later that day. Many of the members had not taken political action before Trump’s election, but felt they had to act now.

Members wanted to have another meeting in two weeks to include others they knew were upset by Trump’s election. By the next meeting we had forty-five members interested in organizing further. We again used the Indivisibles Leader Toolkit to ask volunteers to take the different roles needed to be effective such as Overall coordinators, planners for visits to our Congressional Delegation, communication and social media managers, and monitors of Congressional issues.

We planned a third meeting, expecting upward of 100 people. Two days before the meeting, our Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas' District Staff called to say she would like to come to our meeting , now moved to tomorrow. Rep Tsongas will update us on Congressional action and listen to the concerns and stories of members. She has asked for stories about ACA or other issues to bring to the floor of the House of Representatives.

We know there is a long battle ahead but Indivisible groups have resisted with results. Here is a recent email from Indivisible staff to describe what has already been accomplished to help groups to understand their impact. We have posted this on our FB page.

“A note for all of us who feel defeated after Sessions from the Indivisible Team: This is the long game. We are going to lose a lot. We are going to get good at losing. We are going to lose cabinet votes for terrible nominees. We are going to lose bills that are offensive and appalling. But while we are losing, something else is going to happen. We are going to keep raising our voices and slowly our representatives are going to start listening to us. We've seen it happen. 

It won't happen because of next week's call to action. It'll happen over months, where you keep showing up, regularly. Then, we are going to start winning. It'll sneak up on us. We won't understand why we are winning. But it starts with losing in a particular way- where we raise our voices and call it out when we aren't listened to, where we get close but not quite there.

The first 100 days of a President's term are the honeymoon period, the moment when he's most likely to get his agenda enacted. Trump is spending his first 100 days mired in controversy, scandal, and backbiting - and that's because you haven't for a moment let anyone in Washington forget just how unpopular he is.

Every time we change the narrative, every time we delay, every time there's a newspaper story about a member of Congress avoiding his or her constituents, that's a win. And it matters.

You have already made history. You've delayed the confirmation of Trump's cabinet picks longer than any time in recent history. You stopped the gutting on the congressional ethics office. You've made Republicans so nervous about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act that it's been pushed further and further down the road. You caused an uproar of historic proportions over Trump's Muslim ban and saved lives and reunited families in the process. You've inspired people who have never before taken action to make their voices heard and learn how to do things like check how their members of Congress voted and call them out for it.

We'll never even know about some of the victories - because those will be the fights that this Administration considered starting and then realized it couldn't win."

We're in this together. Every visit. Every call. Every loss. Every win. That's just what friends do. #StandIndivisible”

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