The Women’s March – Sleeping Giant Awoken!
Last weekend’s Women’s March – here in Santa Ana and Laguna Beach and around the world – was a vivid display of the fervency of millions propelled into action by the horrific verbiage and proposed actions of the new administration. While organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, as well as the hundreds of Sister
Marches, were careful to position the event as one of positive, aspirational expression rather than a Trump protest, the sea of pink “P” hats and clever sign slogans showed
Will this goodwill and civic engagement advance its objectives to protect equal rights, preserve access to healthcare and security, and embrace inclusion? To reject misogyny, bigotry and social injustice?
Or will its hopeful message and its pleas for human rights (already litigated and hard-won) fall on deaf ears, as government representatives are fortified by the perceived might of their recent electoral wins?
Much depends on the strategic efforts of those committed to these aspirations, and the efficacy of movements imagined to channel them. The Indivisible Guide – a publication written by Congressional staffers designed to mirror the effective grassroots methods of the Tea Party but toward better aims – conveys this organizational wisdom. Their key recommendations are:
- to activate on a consistent basis, with an organized local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs); and
- a defensive approach focused on blocking an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.
Here in California our Senators largely support more enlightened views on equal rights, fairness, access to health care, public safety, climate change and limitations on corporate influence. Our GOP Representatives in the House, not so much. Many are not aware that Reps. Mimi Walters (45th District) and Dana Rohrabacher (48th District) have repeatedly voted in favor of the conservative GOP agenda, including the repeal of the ACA, against basic gun safety measures, and supporting corporate financial interests over environmental protections.
Some of the many local political groups have attempted to implement these recommendations only to find that their representatives are evading them. To date, Rep Mimi Walters has NO public events listed during any of the “District Work” periods designated on the House.Gov site for 2017. The sweeping generalities she posts on social media include promises to “stimulate the economy, …. protect national security, and rescue and rebuild our healthcare system” despite pleas from constituents for policy details. Her office staff profess that they have no information on her votes (such as the misguided and overturned Ethics Rules debacle); neither do they know when a Town Hall or other local event will be scheduled. Such attempts to minimize transparency and insulate Rep. Walters from the glare of her disappointed constituents and the media will not fare well.
Similarly, we expect the media to seek out report on details on the stances, policy positions and voting records of our representatives. On a day that upwards of 25,000 OC citizens gathered, the Register should do more than cover the event with a photo from the national (Washington D.C.) venue. There was plenty of material right in our backyard, including seeking comments from these local officials on their reaction and commitments.
Many of us are despondent about the election results, but make no mistake: we will not sit quietly as the economic, social, and environmental advances of the past decades are unraveled. We have awoken, we expect our voices to be heard, and we will hold the representatives who serve at our pleasure accountable.