Living Indivisible

We Need to Explain Exactly What We Stand For and Say It Loudly

This was Day One of the Resistance. We had a simple goal: resist the Trump agenda.

Months later, we’re still at it. We may be a little bruised and have days that seem hopeless or frustrating, but we’re still here. We’re still fighting every day and no one plans on quitting anytime soon. Most of us feel like the heart of our country is under attack and won’t feel at peace until we have a stable government that supports a progressive agenda.

Or at least a President that doesn’t put us on the brink of a nuclear war on Twitter.

The entire Resistance is made up of different Indivisible groups, local civic and faith groups, community organizations and grassroots political activists. We are incredibly diverse, yet we all want the same things.

If we’re fighting against the Trump agenda, isn’t it obvious what we stand for? We stand for the opposite of the Trump agenda. We object to almost everything he’s said, done and tried to do. Heading into the 2018 election, wouldn’t most voters understand exactly what we support?

And won’t that be enough to win?

On the August 27th episode of Meet the Press, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said:

“The problem with the Democrats, I can’t figure out what they’re for. I mean, they have a golden opportunity, right, to be able to come in and win elections. But they can’t figure out anything other than the fact that they don’t like Donald Trump. I mean, they better figure out what they are. What’s happened to the Democrat Party? It’s almost lost its soul. And it better get its act together if they want to compete. Competition in this country for ideas, positive ideas, that is the essence of politics.

On that same episode, host Chuck Todd asked the following questions:

Can the Democrats learn to stand for anything beyond being anti-Trump? Will President Trump even let them? From the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to the debate over Confederate statues, to transgender service members in the military, Democrats may be getting lured into a culture war that President Trump is delighted to fight.

Democrats know the cultural left is a welcomed ally to them. But not enough for them to win back a majority? So what do they do?”

So I asked Resistance members what they stood for. I thought it was a simple question (how naive of me!). Nothing we do is simple. We’re thousands (hopefully, millions) of diverse people, all with different backgrounds and life experiences. We still have a political culture that’s incredibly divisive, even on our own side.

Yet, we still need to get to the heart of what we represent in a way that is very, very simple for voters to understand. Forget, the die-hard Trumpers. We’ll never flip them and we don’t have too. Instead, we need to become our own professional communicators and be the narrators of our own story. We need to get better at explaining our position in every conversation, social media post, political action, and vote.

And the only way to do that is to have this discussion. One Resistance member explained it this way:

“Democrats are brilliant at understanding history, procedural processes, the Constitution, etc.

Republicans are masters of marketing and propaganda.

We have an incredible message, but the GOP has kept us on the defensive for decades, now. We’ve got to change that.

We need to be better about shutting the GOP down. That party, in its current form, taps into the worst aspects of human behavior – greed, fear, jealousy, anger. That’s tough for us to overcome, but we’ve got to be better about delivering our message without wordy, complex explanations, responses and diatribes.

Two sentences, a catch phrase or one hard hitting word are all we get.”

Let’s also remember that the Revolution and Indivisible members are not all Democrats. We are also Progressive Independents and don’t follow the Democratic platform.  This is a partial list, sorted into five primary categories: personal, environmental, national, international, and social, human and civil rights. This is NOT a comprehensive list, but a gathering of ideas. It’s a starting place to explain what we care about the most.

What We Stand For

Photo by Samuel Schneider on Unsplash

Personal

  • Living wages
  • Affordable childcare
  • Paid family leave
  • Universal health care
  • Affordable college
  • Lifelong learning/job training
  • Job options post-automation

Environmental

  • Environmental protections
  • Renewable energy
  • Regulations that meet Paris Climate Agreement standards or better
  • Protect indigenous peoples and endangered animals
  • Fund climate change research and support science agencies

National

  • Finance policies that fight corruption
  • Progressive tax reform
  • Immigration
    • Immigration reform that respects human rights
    • Cracks down on exploitative employers and attempts to be fair to those who have built deep ties and contributed to society despite illegal status
    • Protect DACA
  • Common sense gun and gun safety legislation

International

  • Fighting terrorism with allies
  • Resistance against Russia
  • Support democracy around the world

Social, Human and Civil Rights 

  • Automatic voter enrollment
  • End gerrymandering
  • Repeal Citizens United
  • Pro-choice policies
    • Abortion access for at least first term and life threatening pregnancies
    • Programs for sexual health
    • Education and maternal/child support
  • Speak out against racism, sexism, and authoritarianism
  • Support LGBTQ issues
  • Justice system reform

This Is About Conversations

At this point, we all feel like professional pundits and we’re certainly armchair quarterbacks. One Resistance member explained why we lost in 2016:

I think our failures in elections is in poor message development, and most importantly in not fighting back. I don’t want to say we should use the same tactics as the GOP, but they recognize fundamental truths about media: The truth of what you say is less important than how many times you say it.”

As a member of the Resistance in a very conservative part of the state, I’ve been asked why I’m doing what I’m doing. I thought it was obvious (again, I guess I’m kind of naive). That’s a fundamental failure in how I communicate. And I’m ready to change that.

A fellow Resistance member explained it perfectly and along with our personal responsibility:

“I want the party to present people to elect who will stand up for me on every moral issue. Stand up for me when facts are buried in bullshit. Stand up for me and every single person in the world. We should stand for standing up always.

And now I guess I need to get off my ass and practice what I preach.”

And that’s what I intend to do.

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