Thinking Positive

Last week, the NTD News mentioned two upcoming events that I think are especially deserving of some follow-up comments. After living nearly one year with the Trump Administration, it’s clear that his cabinet’s depressing and destructive policies are not about to change. And although it’s the Holiday season, I don’t think we should expect Donald Trump and his Republican leaders to discover compassion after a visit from Marley’s ghost.

But we can’t let them wear us down. And the two gatherings I mentioned above might be just what you need to raise your spirits and your determination as we go into the New Year.

The first event is happening this Sunday afternoon (2:00-3:30 pm) in Evanston at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster Ave. It’s being presented by the Indivisible project. – Who are they?

I’ll lift words from their website: “The Indivisible project is a registered 501c(4) nonprofit. Our mission is to cultivate and lift up a grassroots movement of local groups to defeat the Trump agenda, elect progressive leaders, and realize bold progressive policies. Across the nation, over 6,000 local groups (at least 2 in every congressional district) are using the Indivisible Guide to hold their members of Congress accountable. Indivisible is a project of the Advocacy Fund.” (You can learn more by clicking here.)

The appearance of six thousand Indivisible groups across the United States is good news for all of us. Certainly it’s not the first progressive grassroots movement of its kind. Other organizations like it have made their mark in the past and continue to today. Move On, DFA, OFA are three examples. The appearance of a fresh new citizen’s movement like Indivisible is a healthy development.  

From what I’ve heard, local Indivisible organizations are also appearing in downstate Illinois. As the 2018 election year progresses, these grassroots workers could play a pivotal role in defeating Bruce Rauner’s reelection attempt.

In our region, it appears that the Indivisible project is focused on getting Wisconsin back into the progressive column where it belongs. The theme of Sunday’s event at the Fleetwood Jourdain Center is “Voter Suppression/Voter I.D. in Wisconsin: What It Is and What We Can Do About.”

Here’s what their event flyer says: “Please join us to learn how we can help our neighbors in southern Wisconsin in 2018 exercise their right to vote! (The plans will be) Presented by Molly McGrath, voting rights activist and ACLU People Power organizer. Molly was recently featured in a Mother Jones article about voter suppression in Wisconsin by Ari Berman (author of ‘Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America’).”

At the Evanston event (Co-sponsored by ACLU People Power), our 9th Congressional District Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky will be their honored guest. This tells me that Jan endorses their efforts and will no doubt be coordinating with them as the 2018 Election Year progresses. There is no question that Wisconsin should never have been lost in the 2016 election. More attention should have been paid – and in 2018 it will be.

A few more details on Sunday’s gathering are mentioned in the “events section” below along with a website link to the Mother Jones article on Wisconsin’s disgraceful voter suppression.

The second event I want to mention is still two weeks away. But if you enjoy good wine, an inviting setting and conversation with smart, politically engaged people like yourself, put it on your calendar now. It’s the New Trier Dems Holiday Party at the Wilmette Wine Cellar. This will not be a gathering of politicians making speeches. It will just be an after-work gathering of men and women who share progressive values, enjoy smart conversation – and like good wine.

Also at this event, in the spirit of the Holidays, the NTDO will be welcoming donations for the New Trier Township Food Pantry – non-perishable canned and packaged food, useful paper goods and toiletry items. (You might think the North Shore doesn’t have need for a Food Pantry but you would be mistaken.) They help a lot of people throughout the year and they’ll appreciate your generosity.

Day after day, as we witness the contemptible actions of the Trump Administration and his Republican leaders, it’s tempting to turn our backs on the entire mess. To lose faith that things can still be turned around. That’s when seeing the appearance of a Grassroots movement like Indivisible or sharing conversation with friends who care about our nation’s integrity can renew a belief in our democracy.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973 

P.S. Today I saw a news article about this year’s Chicago Bar Association’s “Bar Show” and it mentioned an amusing sketch in which George W. Bush sings about his gratitude for no longer being the worst President in history. – I can’t argue with that.