Why Do I Fight For Issues That Do Not Directly Impact Me?

martin-niemoller

Over the last month, we have seen protests for a number of issues; collective bargaining rights, women’s rights, black lives matter, LGBTQ rights, Muslim ban, Syrian Refugees, etc. These are issues that do not directly impact my life as a heterosexual, white male.

I have friends that these issues do impact. While they are part of why I fight for these issues, it is not the main reason. I was raised in a loving home that stressed the importance of treating everyone with respect and dignity. One of the things I remember my parents saying to me is, “do unto others as  you would want them to do unto you.” This is how I try to live my life.

One of my favorite quotes, and I have quoted it quite a few times this past month, is from Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

This sums up the main reason I fight for the issues that don’t directly impact my life. I identify that these issues do impact my fellow Americans. First Trump threatened Muslim rights, and I DID speak out—because I respect people’s right to freedom of religion. Then Trump threatened LGBTQ rights, and I DID speak out—because I respect people’s right to love whomever they choose. Then Trump threatened Syrian Refugees, and I DID speak out—because I believe that everyone has the right to live without fearing for their lives. And when Trump finally gets around to taking away my rights—I will be there fighting alongside those I helped along the way.

The way we fight back against the oppression Trump and Republicans are pushing upon us is to stand up and fight for each other, even if the issues you are fighting for doesn’t directly impact you.

Trump Actions Are The Start Of Tyranny

tyranny-alert

Tyranny – cruel and oppressive government or rule.

Throughout history, we have been witness to many tyrants and dictators. We are currently witnessing our 45th President of the United States of America walking the path to tyranny.

Over the last 4 weeks, we have seen some glaring signs of Trump’s path to tyranny. He has been bragging about how he won the election by a  landslide, even though the truth shows that the won was actually 46th biggest electoral college win out of 58 elections. Trump also keeps saying that he won the popular vote, tweeting “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” One of the biggest exaggerations was the claim that his inauguration was larger than President Obama’s. Exaggerating your mandate to govern and repeatedly claims of voter fraud are two signs of impending tyranny.

Anyone that doesn’t agree with Trump’s ideology is labeled as an enemy. This includes attempts to de-legitimize members of the mass media outlets. Any criticism journalists and news anchors send out are tweeted about, referring to journalists and news anchors as “deceitful“, “scum” or “fake news.” Turning the public against journalists and media outlets and referring to anyone that disagrees with you as an “enemy” are also sign of impending tyranny.

Until recently, there haven’t been very many press conferences from Trump. He has preferred to communicate with the American people through other means such as Twitter and rallies. From the communication we have had from Trump, he has told us some of the biggest and most blatant lies. De-legitimizing news outlets while telling blatant lies causes people to doubt the truth and believe the propaganda. Check off two more signs of impending tyranny, alternative communication and blatant lies.

Trump has consistently blamed the economic woes of our country on immigrants and racial or religious minorities in an effort to turn the American people against them, sometimes even violently. By signing the executive order implementing the “Muslim Ban,” Trump is putting blame for many atrocities on a religion. Another step he has taken, all in the name of “national security” is threatening mass deportations, registries of religious minorities, and the banning of refugees. All of this created an excuse to tighten security and the limit civil liberties that this country was founded on. These actions are also signs of impending tyranny.

Labor unions are important to many working Americans. Trump is completely against labor unions. This is evident by the insulting tweets personally attacking Chuck Jones, a union leader representing Carrier employees in Indiana. Another indicator that Trump is against labor unions lies in his choice of Andrew Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants (parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.) and a supporter of automating his restaurants to avoid paying worker costs, for Secretary of Labor. eliminating or reducing the influence of competing centers of power, such as labor unions and opposing parties, is another sign of impending tyranny.

Appointing Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, as his Senior Adviser fulfills another sign of impending tyranny, appointing family members to high positions of authority.

Trump is still using his own personal security force on top of the Secret Service. His personal security force isn’t bound by the same rules as the Secret Service, for instance, the Secret Service can’t silence protesters thanks to our first amendment right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest. His personal security force doesn’t have to abide by these rules. Using your own personal security force, instead of a security detail accountable to the public, is yet another sign of impending tyranny.

Appointing retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn as Security Adviser covers a couple signs of an impending tyranny. The firs, appointing generals to top civilian positions and the second, having personal alliances with foreign dictators. General Flynn may have resigned, but his relationship and communication with the Russian ambassador to the United States, along with Trump’s own complimentary comments about Vladimir Putin, have brought concern about the relationship between Trump and Valdimir Putin. Aligning yourself with foreign dictators is another sign of impending tyranny.

From the time Trump won the nomination, he has refused to divest himself from his personal interests. Trump is the majority owner of the $212 million hotel in Washington D.C. that does business with foreign diplomats and lobbying groups. He has said that his grown children will run companies, but that is hardly divesting himself. Trump’s family has even profited from his position and comments from Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, promoting Ivanka Trump’s businesses on live TV. The final sign of impending tyranny is a refusal to draw a distinction between personal property and public property and profiteering from public office.

“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

― Pat Miller

Tyrants, such as Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, took away the rights of the people over time in a manner that was not seen until it was too late to do anything about it. Let’s just be happy that Trump hasn’t headed the words of Pat Miller. Taking away our liberties, as Vice President Pence has put it, “lock, stock and barrel”, Trump has awoke the American people to the tyrant he becoming. Tyranny has always forced people to action. Just look at the reaction to tyrants like Hitler, Lenin and Stalin. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t take a civil or world war to change course. We can’t wait for Trump’s actions to directly affect us before taking action, the time for action is NOW!

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

― Martin Niemöller

We Should NOT Write Off Rural Congressional Districts

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It was reported yesterday by the Gazette, third-term New York Democrat, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, has been doing an independent post-mortum of the House Democrats’ crushing loss in the 2016 elections.

The night before a 90-minute presentation he made yesterday afternoon, Representative Maloney said, “We can win where we used to struggle, and we’re struggling a bit where we used to win.” What Representative Maloney is alluding to is there are congressional districts that Democrats used to do very well, mainly rural areas, that have moved away from Democrats and that we need reassess if we should even campaign there anymore.

In my views, it isn’t that these rural congressional districts have left the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party has left them. At least in this cycle, here in Iowa, I have heard a lot of rural Democrats tell me that they can see why we lost the rural congressional districts because Democratic candidates almost never go there. From what I saw this cycle, Democratic candidates, for the most part, visited the bigger cities on the I-80 corridor; Des Moines, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Davenport.

I believe writing off rural congressional districts will be extremely detrimental for the Democratic Party. Rather than write them off, I believe we need to reach out to the Independents and left leaning Republicans, as well as, Democrats in the rural areas. Host town halls and rallies in rural area and show the backbone of American, family farmers, that you don’t just represent the urban areas. After all, when we win elections, we aren’t sent to only represent urban American, we are sent to represent ALL American’s.

Representative Maloney, rather than complaining about losing the rural vote and suggesting Democrats writing them off, you should be suggesting that Democrats break from the norm of campaigning in mainly urban areas and actually fight to win back rural Americans by showing up and showing them that Democrats truly  care about, not only their vote, but their lives as well.

Education and Civil Rights are Doomed, with Healthcare to Follow

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Education is Doomed

On Monday, February 6th, the 115th United States Congress confirmed Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education. DeVos is a woman who has not only never attend or worked in a public school, her children have never attended a public school either.

For the next four years, we are stuck with a Secretary of Education that lacks experience and knowledge about public schools and is an avid supporter of charter schools. Betsy DeVos is the most inexperienced and untested nominee for the Secretary of Education in U.S. history. DeVos also has no government experience and no experience running or managing a bureaucracy.

During her confirmation hearing, Betsy DeVos was non-committal on her family’s record of political donations. DeVos and her family have donated over $200 million to Republicans, including sizable donations to many of the senators who will vote on her confirmation. Senator Bernie Sanders asked DeVos, “Do you think that if you were not a multibillionaire, if your family had not made hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions, that you would be sitting here today?” DeVos is open about her support of pay-for-play, saying, “I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return.”

Republicans asked very soft questions during the confirmation hearing, such as, “Do you support public education?” from Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. DeVos  possibly perjured herself with her answer about her role in her mother’s foundation.

DeVos’ answer to Senator Maggie Hassan’s question asking if she stood by her previous answer that it should be up to the states to follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It was obvious that DeVos didn’t understand a basic tenet of one of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

DeVos has donated millions to politicians to fund lobbying efforts supporting vouchers that give money to conservative religious schools. As if turning education into a voucher system wasn’t bad enough, DeVos has said that she wants to “advance God’s kingdom” through school reform. DeVos has tried to distance herself from some of her family’s more alarming views, such as support for conversion therapy, opposition to same-sex marriage or the view that intelligent design should be taught in schools.

Tim Kaine asked DeVos, “Do you think K-12 schools that receive government funding should meet the same accountability standards, outcome standards?” She refused to agree that all schools receiving federal funds be held to equal accountability standards saying, “All Schools that receive public funding should be accountable” and never actually answering the question.

DeVos couldn’t even answer the no brainer question, should guns be allowed in schools. Her reply was that it should be left “locales and states to decide,” then referred to a school in Wapiti, Wyoming, that has a fence surrounding the schoolyard to keep grizzly bears out, saying that she imagines there is a gun in the school “to protect from potential grizzlies.” When Politifact called Park County School District No. 6, which includes Wapiti Elementary School, to ask if they have a gun on the premises to protect against grizzlies, assistant to the superintendent, Angie Page said, “No, we do not.”

As a result of Betsy DeVos’ lengthy confirmation hearing, she has become the butt of a lot of jokes. Her guns to protect against “grizzlies” earned her criticism from Trevor Noah. Jimmy Kimmel said Ms. DeVos “has no experience in education” and noted that her children had attended private schools. Many other celebrities including Michael Moore and Olivia Wilde have spoken out against her.

Civil Rights are Doomed

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a name that sounds like he most certainly has slaves on his plantation back in Alabama, was confirmed as the new United States Attorney General today, February 9, 2017.

Jeff Sessions is an avid supporter of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder. This case dismantled key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, triggering a multi-state offensive against voting rights, mainly for African-Americans and Hispanics. More than two dozen states have imposed voter ID requirements, closed voter registration offices, limited early voting and other steps to impede voting. The reason these states have imposed the regulations is largely due to rampant voter fraud, a allegation that is has no supporting evidence.

In North Carolina, a federal appeals court concluded that a voting law passed post-Shelby was drafted to disenfranchise African-Americans. Judges in Texas, Kansas, North Dakota and Wisconsin have blocked similar post-Shelby voting laws. Prior to Shelby, the Voting Rights Act was regularly used to block such laws.

In the early 80’s, as a federal prosecutor, Jeff Sessions brought a case for voter fraud against three civil rights workers engaging in registering black voters. A jury swiftly returned an acquittal.

In 1986, when Sessions was a U.S. attorney in Alabama, President Ronald Reagan nominated him to the federal bench. Thomas Figures, a black assistant US attorney who worked for Sessions, testified that Sessions called him “boy” on multiple occasions and joked about the Ku Klux Klan saying that he thought Klan members were “OK, until he learned they smoked marijuana.” This accusation caused this nomination to fail. During his confirmation hearing, Jeff Sessions tried to play the victim in regards to the judgeship debacle, saying his views were misrepresented.

Jeff Sessions has attempted to come off as a civil rights champion, stating to have “personally litigated” several case that back his claim. Former Department of Justice attorneys, who brought three of the four cases Sessions referenced came forward and stated that Sessions had “no substantive involvement in any of them,” emphasizing that Sessions did nothing more than add his name and signature to the complaints as the U.S. Attorney in the district where the cases were brought.

As a senator, Jeff Sessions has opposed bills to provide or enhance penalties for crimes against women. He has also opposed similar bills based on the victim’s sexual orientation, gender or disability. During the 2016 General Election, Sessions said grabbing women by their genitals is not constitute sexual assault.

According to a recent study by the Project On Government Oversight, Sessions’ largest political donors have issues pending before the Justice Department, ranging from active investigations to antitrust reviews of major mergers. These are blatant conflicts of interest.

Three African-American members of Congress; Senator Cory Booker and Representatives John Lewis and Cedric Richmond; testified against Sessions, saying they doubt Sessions would “aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights and justice for all.”

At the Senate Judiciary hearings in March and May of 2016, Jeff Sessions made racist remarks and called the NAACP and the ACLU “un-American.” While the NAACP President, Cornell William Brooks, did not bring up Sessions’ racism, he did say, “As a matter of conscience and conviction, we can neither be mute nor mumble our opposition to Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions becoming attorney general of the United States. Senator Sessions has callously ignored the reality of voter suppression but zealously prosecuted innocent civil rights leaders on trumped up charges of voter fraud. As an opponent of the vote, he can’t be trusted to be the chief law enforcement officer for voting rights.”

Healthcare is Doomed

While the nomination of Tom Price as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services isn’t as controversial as Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions, he is still a very bad choice.

According to USA Today, Price has bought and sold health care company stocks often enough as a member of Congress to warrant probes by both federal securities regulators and the House ethics committee. One of these stocks is his highly publicized investment in an Australian biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics. Innate Immunotherapeutics offered Price preferential treatment for a private stock offering he learned of through the company’s biggest stockholder who happens to be a Congressional colleague.

Aside from Price’s shading stock dealings, the main reason that he received the nomination is because of his support of destroying the Affordable Care Act and gutting Medicare and Medicaid. Price is exactly the nominee Republicans need to move forward, because many policy changes can be made administratively. Gutting the Affordable Care Act in this way is very attractive to Congressional Republicans because Republicans get what they have pushed for since the ACA’s inception in 2010 without the politically suicidal blowback.

Conclusion

Education, Civil Rights and Healthcare are in extreme peril. All we can do now that we have Betsy DeVos running the Department of Education, Jeff Session as the Unites States Attorney General and Tom Price likely to be running the Department of Health and Human Services is stand up, protest and make our opposition known to Congressional Republicans. We can force Republicans to listen by letting them know that their jobs are in jeopardy if they allow monied interests dictate their decisions instead of their constituents that sent them to to Congress to represent their interests.

Conservative Blogger Attacks Potential 3rd District Congressional Candidate

by Anna Ryon Things that make you go hmmm… A week ago, on Wednesday, February 1, I announced that I am thinking about running to represent Iowa’s Third District in the U.S. House of Representatives…

Source: Conservative Blogger Attacks Potential 3rd District Congressional Candidate

Please Use My Tax Dollars For Something I Actually approve Of

executive-order

The new administration is using our tax dollars to pay for actions the majority of Americans do not support. Here is a list of some of the actions Trump has already taken.

Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, while not perfect, is widely supported by the majority of Americans. But, if Republicans are able to repeal the ACA without a replacement, like they are intent on doing, 18 million Americans will be without healthcare within the first year. That number balloons to 32 million uninsured Americans within the first 10 years. It is also estimated that non-group coverage health insurance premiums will double within the first 10 years.

On day one, Trump signed his first executive order, Providing “relief” from the ACAThis order allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the heads of other departments and agencies to waive or delay the implementation of any ACA provisions that would impose a financial burden or any state or a regulatory burden on any individuals. This action means that there will be less enforcement of the mandate for everyone to purchase insurance, creating instability in the exchanges.

Regulations Freeze

Trump froze all pending regulations until they are approved directly by his administration or by an agency led by one of his appointees. The freeze applies to all regulations except except for military, national security and public safety jobs.

The order is meant to stagnate governmental growth and ultimately reduce federal workforce size. However, this freeze could force federal agencies to use more contractors, which would drive prices up. The action specifically applies to the civilian workforce in the executive branch, which totals some 1.36 million people, according to a 2014 Office of Personal Management report.

Trump also issued a presidential memorandum prohibiting government agencies from hiring new employees. This freeze also does not apply to national security or public safety responsibilities.

One of Trumps first executive orders that he signed put a hold on any Obama-era regulations signed during his lame-duck period until further review by the Trump administration. Some agencies “broadly interpreted this regulatory freeze,” as delaying outreach meetings and ceasing the renewal of certain governmental forms.

“Mexico City” Abortion Policy

Trump reinstated the “Mexico City Policy”, blocking the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars funding international organizations that lobby to legalize, perform or promote abortions. The “Mexico City Policy” was initially established in 1984 by former President Ronald Reagan and has been rescinded and reinstated based on which party occupied the oval office. The policy does not affect services within the United States, but does limit access and funding in international communities.

Dakota Access & Keystone XL Pipelines

Trump signed a series of orders that encourages the construction of two of the most controversial pipelines, Dakota Access and Keystone XL. The DAPL action expedites the review and approval of the remaining construction and operation of the pipeline by the Army of Civil Works and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Keystone XL action allows TransCanada to re-submit it’s application for a presidential permit to construct the pipeline and instructs the Secretary of State to reach a final determination within 60 days.

Trump also signed an executive order to streamline environmental reviews of high-priority infrastructure projects, stating that such projects in the U.S. “have been routinely and excessively delayed by agency processes and procedures.” This order instructs the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to create expedited procedures and deadlines for environmental reviews and approvals for high-priority infrastructure projects.

Finally, Trump signed a memorandum instructing the Secretary of Commerce to create a plan for pipelines created, repaired or expanded in the U.S to use materials and equipment in the country “to the maximum extent possible.” This implies that all steel and metal used for pipeline creation, repair or expansion must be completely produced in the U.S., from the initial melting stage to the application of coatings.

Border Wall

Trump signed an executive order directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to:

  • Begin planning, designing and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, including identifying federal funds and working with Congress for additional funding.
  • Construct and operate detention centers near the border
  • Hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol Agents
  • End “catch and release” programs
  • Determine all “sources of direct and indirect federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico on an annual basis over the past five years”
  • Allow state and local law enforcement to act as immigration officers

On the campaign trail, Trump said that he would build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. Now it looks like Congress will be looking for federal funding and will attempt to force Mexico to pay for certain parts by threatening to take away assistance.

Even this isn’t the complete truth though. In an interview with MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren, House Speaker Paul Ryan flatly admitted, “We’re going to pay for it.”

Immigration

Trump signed an executive order  directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to:

  • Prioritize certain undocumented immigrants (including those with criminal convictions and those who have only been charged) for deportation
  • Hire 10,000 additional immigration officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Prohibit federal funding from assisting “sanctuary cities”, locals that have declined to help enforce federal immigration laws
  • Reinstate the Secure Communities Program, enabling state and local law enforcement to effectively act as immigration agents
  • Sanction countries that do not take back deported undocumented immigrants
  • Create a list, updated weekly, of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities
  • Establish an “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens” to “provide proactive, timely, adequate and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and family members of such victims”

On the campaign trail, Trump promised to deport all illegal aliens. That is what this order attempts to accomplish.

According to Center For American Progress, Trump’s immigration actions will cost taxpayers at least $117 billion over the next decade:

  • $9 billion: Mandating detention at the border
  • 25 billion: Building a giant concrete wall
  • $0: Amount Mexico will contribute to the wall
  • $7.5 billion: Maintenance of giant concrete wall
  • $6.6 billion: Tripling the number of ICE deportation officers
  • $60.4 billion: Non-apprehension costs for “aggressive interior enforcement” including, $13.4 billion: Legal processing; $11.3 billion: Transportation; $35.7 billion: Detention 8.6 billion: Increase CBP by 5,000.

Trump’s immigration action could also reduce GDP by $5 trillion over 10 years.

The plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” With the way things are shaping up, it wouldn’t surprise me if Trump forced the plaque to be changed to, “Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live”, a quote from Trump’s idol, Adolph Hitler.

Now that Republicans control both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch, the only way we can fight back against this dictatorial regime is to exercise our Constitutional right to protest. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shared in its corruption and lawlessness.” Our state (Federal Government) has become lawless and corrupt. We must be fierce, we must be disobedient and we must be civil.

Des Moines, IA Women’s March

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Friday, January 20 was a sad day for millions of Americans as Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. Millions of people around the world are scared of what will happen in a Trump Presidency. The things that people fear from a Trump Presidency range from increased taxes on the middle class to overt racism becoming the new norm to global thermonuclear war.

On the Saturday, January 21, 2017, the fight to make our voices heard and to take back our country began with The Women’s March on Washington. Millions of people gathered in cities around the world to participate. I was one of the 26,000+ people to participate in the Des Moines March. There were also 500,000+ in Washington D.C., 750,000+ in Los Angeles, California, 250,000+ in New York City, 100,000+ in Portland, Oregon, 40,000+ in Austin, Texas, 10,000+ in St. Louis, Missouri, 150,000 – 250,000 in Chicago, Illinois, 100,000 – 150,000 in Denver, Colorado, 7,000+ in Palm Beach, Florida, 130,000+ in Seattle, Washington, 135,000 – 150,000 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Globally, there were 100,000+ in London, England, 50,000 – 60,000 in Toronto, Canada, 10,000+ in Sydney, Australia and thousands more in Paris, France, Yangon, Myanmar, Prague, Tokyo, Japan, Vienna, Austria, and Capetown, Africa.

There has not been a movement like the Women’s March since the Vietnam Protests in the 60’s. I arrived at the capitol building almost 2 hours early so I could get some pictures of the capitol building and the city skyline in the fog that was hanging low that morning. As I took pictures, I talked with the event coordinators, the Iowa State Patrolmen that were there to keep the peace and people that were there to march that showed up early.

At 10 A.M., people started showing up in larger numbers. I positioned myself at the top of the first set of steps leading to the capitol building next to the sound booth. This put me directly in the thick of it all. I had a good view of the stage and was high enough that I could see the expanse of the crowd in front of me.

At 11 A.M., the event officially started with speakers coming up and rallying the crowd. After about an hour of speeches, we started the actual march around the capitol building. The crowd was so large now that by the time the head of the march reached the back, only about 20 percent of the crowd had started the march.

It took a little over an hour to march around the capitol building.  As I marched, I felt proud of this non-partisan group of people that came together on a cold day to stand up to what many fear will be the worst President in American history. The protest signs showed the issues people are most concerned about. My favorite sign had nothing to do with a cleaver message or impressive artwork. My favorite sign was one that was simply black and white consisting of nine words, “Can’t believe we still have to protest this shit.” I believe this says it all. Almost all of the issues that concern people with Trump’s agenda have to do with issues we have already fought for.

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As I wrote last week, “It Is Time For Civil Disobedience.” The Women’s March was just the first showing of civil disobedience of many to come. As long as President Trump puts our right in jeopardy, we will fight to keep them tooth and nail.

I will leave you with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shared in its corruption and lawlessness.”

It Is Time For Civil Disobedience

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Today we swear in Donald J. Trump as our 45th United States President. A person who is bound to be the absolute worst President in history.

The best way for us to fight back and keep him from destroying our way of life is to stand up and fight. I am not talking about riots and looting. I am talking about our First Amendment right “to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” It is time for civil disobedience through protest.

Today people are gathering around the country to protest the inauguration of Donald J. Trump. Tomorrow there is a countrywide Women’s March that aims to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.”

In the days and years to come, we must continue to speak out; to protest; to be civilly disobedient; to make our voices, concerns and disapproval known to the Trump Administration and to Republicans in Congress.

Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda is a great place to start. Another place to start is Our Revolution. Our Revolution’s mission is to educate voters about issues, to get people involved in the political process and to organize and elect progressive candidates.

If protesting is not your thing, you can get involved in other ways. Members of Congress in your area regularly hold public, in-district events to show they are listening to their constituents. Don’t just show up to the town halls of representatives that you agree with, show up to the ones that you have issues with and make them listen to you and hold them accountable when they don’t.

Another non-protesting civil disobedience action you can take is to attend non town hall events that provide photo-ops for your Members of Congress. These events usually have many media there and are great opportunities to hold your representatives accountable by calling them out with questions about racism, authoritarianism, corruption or any other issue that is important to you.

If you are someone that does not like to call attention to themselves in public, you can organize and/or participate in one or your Members of Congress’ district offices to demand a meeting with them. If they refuse to listen, call them out on it. You can also organize a group of people to inundate your Members of Congress with phone calls on a specific issue.

The basic idea here is to make sure that your Members of Congress know that you oppose the things they are doing; to force your Members of Congress to redirect their energy away from horrible agendas to dealing with their constituent’s outrage; and to change your Members of Congress’ support of the disastrous, unpopular policies.

If Members of Congress have any hope of reelection, they must keep their constituents. Reelection is a very important priority for them. The above strategies focus on calling out your Members of Congress’ behavior for the whole world to see and bringing down their approval ratings, therefore jeopardizing the reelection chances. A secondary and equally important part of the above strategy is to inform people in your community, and the country, of the abysmal and unpopular policies that your Members of Congress are pushing and to get them involved.

A revolution united in civil disobedience, peaceful protest and holding Members of Congress accountable is far more powerful than the corporate interests that have negatively influenced our Members of Congress.