Resistance: Resilient and Rising

April 24, 2017

I know I have a lot of international readers and viewers who have been watching the catastrophic Putin/Trump administration’s planet-destroying agenda with dismay.

In the afterglow of this week’s highly successful, global, March for Science, here’s an update on the resistance.  Quicktake: just beginning.

Charles Blow in the New York Times:

I must say that the issue of resilience was one that I worried and wondered about from the beginning: For far too many Americans in this digital age, stamina is rare, attention spans are short and the urge for instant gratification, or at least for expedient resolution, is enormous.

But, to my great delight, my worry was unfounded. Not only is the movement still strong, it appears to be getting stronger. People have found a salve for their sadness: exuberant agitation. Far from growing limp, the Trump resistance is stiffening and strengthening.

Furthermore, young people are particularly unhappy with Trump and turning against him. A Gallup poll released last week found that the percentage of respondents age 18-34 who believed Trump keeps his promises fell a whopping 22 points in the two months from early February to early April, from 56 percent to just 34 percent.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, young people aged 18-29 also give Trump his highest disapproval rating (63 percent) of any age group.

But these young people aren’t just stewing and complaining. They’re taking action.

As Time magazine reported earlier this month: “For more than 15,000 students across the country, Wednesday marked the first day of Resistance School — a program where the educational focus is mobilizing against President Donald Trump’s administration.”


Taken together, all signs are looking up for the movement. The Trump administration, from pillar to post, is an unmitigated disaster, lumbering forward and crushing American ideas and conventions as it does. Damage is being done, there is no doubt, but Americans are not taking it lying down. They are standing in opposition. They are feeling their power. They are energized, and I’m very much encouraged.

For myself, I attended our own, local district Town Hall “Listening session”, with my local representative Congressman John Moolenaar.(above)
Actually, it wasn’t as raucous as some of the melees we’ve seen on television – this is, after all, the polite midwest.

townhallthum

MLive: 

A rowdy crowd confronted Republican U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar at a town hall “listening session” Central Michigan University’s Plachta Auditorium on Thursday, April 20.

In many instances when Moolenaar tried to answer questions, some in the crowd of roughly 900 people would chant “yes or no” and “shame on you” or burst into mocking laughter.
Many of the questions were about healthcare, President Donald Trump’s tax returns, climate change and gun control.

Andrea Lilly is a constituent from Moolenaar’s district and asked for clarity on his stance for a single payer system in healthcare.

“I’m wondering how a high-risk pool can possibly solve the problems that the Affordable Care Act has problems with. How will it work if you know for sure that if you have more people in this pool that then there will be more success and will be more affordable? How would a high-risk pool be more feasible for sick people who aren’t working?” Lilly asked.

Moolenaar responded by saying he didn’t think a single-payer system was best for health care.

Another constituent, George Davis Williams, said he thought the congressman is a “master avoider” and there were a lot of questions where he got off topic.

“He did give a clear no that he would not seek Donald Trump’s tax returns, so that is enough to really concern me,” Williams said.

townhall

My observation is that a lot of organization went into making this kind of event happen. In the first place, the congressman had to be shamed into holding an event – he refused to do so during the first congressional recess of the year. Only the steady, and brilliantly applied, pressure from local activist groups, using flash mobs, demonstrations, social and traditional media, as well as the promise to hold our own event with an empty suit in his place if he did not show —  caused the Rep to relent.

Once he committed, a number of organizational meetings were held – and it must be underlined that women have been the primary drivers behind all these events. (Guys, you better up your game, cuz these Gals are killing it)
Questions were prepared, discipline was imposed, and preparations made for possible ways the Rep might try to avoid answering questions.

petercmu

Earth Week has been busy. 4 talks in the last 5 days, 2 more tomorrow

For myself, I sat in the back with my spouse, and observed the proceedings, as a climate change question came up rather early.  The questioner was a retired professor, and his query was not sharply enough worded so as to pin the Congressman down, resulting in a circuitous non-answer that finished with the climate crock, “But then, remember,  we all exhale Carbon dioxide..”

The crowd groaned.
A few minutes later, when another crowd member’s ticket number was called, they ceded their time to me, to ask about climate change.  I had a prepared question, but I felt I couldn’t allow the congressman’s thought-stopping disinformation nugget to keep hanging in the air like a rancid fart.

“Congressman, if you’ll indulge me, I need to clarify something you said earlier, that I think will help you understand. You said that – correctly – that we all exhale carbon dioxide.”

“However, remember, that carbon is carbon that has been with us in historical time, in oceans, in forests, moving thru animals, and moving thru the biosphere.”

“But, when we burn coal, oil and gas, we are pulling ancient, sequestered carbon that has been out of the system for hundreds of millions of years, and putting it up in the atmosphere in the blink of a geological eye.”

“And that is why the atmosphere is currently changing more rapidly than at any time, so far as we know, in the 4 billion year history of the planet, since it was formed.”

The crowd murmured, a voice in the back yelled, “Science!”

The congressman looked at me blankly.

I said, “Now, my question.

“You have discussed climate change with me many times over the years, and your position, as I understand it, is that you disagree with the overwhelming consensus of working, publishing Phd experts  around the world, and every serious scientific organization on the planet, in that you question the degree of the human contribution to the current global warming, that we all observe, unequivocally, and you believe there should be further study of the issue.”

“Is that fair enough?”
No response. I continued.

“That is my understanding from my conversations with you, and with your staff.”

“The administration’s budget proposal is to massively eviscerate the key observation platforms that help us to understand our planet, which is the only place in the universe that supports any kind of life.”

“Are you comfortable in saying that more research is needed, while gutting the very research you claim to support?”

He started shuffling back and forth. Talking about “sound science”,
the EPA “wanting to regulate puddles in farmer’s fields”, job creation, the economy – I asked “Can you answer my question?”

More dissembling.  Crowd growing restless. Chants of “Answer the question!”

I asked several more times. They cut my mic.

After realizing the moderator, a jock at a local Rush Limbaugh station, was not going to allow the question to be answered, I headed back up the aisle, with a few high fives and fist bumps along the way, as well as “You’re a disgrace” from a burly fellow in a cowboy hat.

I had one more opportunity, and again not much luck in getting an answer about the Paris accords – but I came away with some optimism.

First, the resistance is alive and well, and an event like this proved out the efficacy of their tactics and organization. They will continue to grow in numbers and confidence. Second, young people are inspired by the cause. It was clear from the number of students that approached me afterward, that a sense of urgency and rebellion is rising in young voters and activists.

Most important for me, it is clear that climate change is now at the top of the policy agenda for the activated voters in the Resistance movement.  My feeling has been, backed up by polling from folks like Ed Maibach, above, that climate has been an issue bubbling just below the surface.  In the several resistance groups where I’ve attended meetings, climate change is making to number one or two on the list of priorities – I believe because it is finally, brutally clear to all, that if we don’t force the politicians to recognize it, and do it soon, it won’t happen.
Lots of work to do, but the tide is turning. We can do this – if we keep up the heat.

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6 Responses to “Resistance: Resilient and Rising”

  1. A Siegel Says:

    Peter

    1. Thank you for standing up/asking the question. My Rep (Barbara Comstock, VA-10) is one of those hiding from her constituents, thus haven’t had a chance to ask her directly about her role on the House (anti-)Science committee (run by Lamar Smith).

    2. Agree that climate change is a powerful item around the nation in town halls. Here is something that I wrote up a few weeks ago: http://getenergysmartnow.com/2017/04/12/townhalls-unpleasant-for-housegop-as-constituents-challenge-them-on-climate-science/ Haven’t found anyone who is systematically tracking how climate/science is being raised/discussed at Town Halls (and equivalent/similar venues).

    3. Wonder whether any of the climate-science deniers are shifted by this … but, perhaps we can make more voters aware of the reckless endangerment that their Representative’s studied/determined ignorance/rejection of science poses.


  2. Great job at your town hall, Peter.

    This is exactly what we all need to do at town halls everywhere for the foreseeable future…..that is, if we care about the Earth we will leave to our children.

  3. Paul Whyte Says:

    One of the features of the human mind is it’s ability to not see what is in front of the nose of it’s face. The above video is a good example.

    The ability to deny a part of reality is truly remarkable. The GOP polly seemed to maintain his feeling that he was being shouted down where as the audience were exasperated that the polly could not face a part of reality.

    Keeping on with the assertion that climate change is not human caused is a remarkable feat of walking off a cliff and not falling just like in the cartoons.

    Of course with climate change, we walk off a cliff and future generations fall.


  4. I wonder if the “burly fellow in a cowboy hat” was named “Tommy”. 😂

  5. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Have to prize them out of their air-conditioned sensory deprived cocoons and make them feel the full force of public sentiment.


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