Protesters at San Francisco International Airport block escalators and stairs during a demonstration inside the international terminal. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

To make our voices heard, we must be indivisible

In the biggest protests in U.S. history, millions took to the streets earlier this month in an inspiring demonstration of unity and respect in the face of President Donald Trump’s divisiveness and bigotry. Marching alongside so many spirited people with their creative banners and headgear was energizing. Now, it’s time to take up the less festive but essential work of blocking the Trumpist agenda.

Enter Indivisible.

Within weeks of the election, a group of former congressional staffers released “The Indivisible Guide,” a playbook on how to stop the Trump agenda by reverse-engineering the successful tactics of the Tea Party. The guide immediately went viral, and thousands of local chapters formed, including Indivisible SF, Indivisible East Bay and a whopping 33 Peninsula chapters.

The key insight of Indivisible is that the only thing members of Congress truly care about is getting re-elected. If we want to hold them accountable, we must confront them at town halls and other local events and deliver a strong, unified message: Do whatever it takes to block Trump, or we’re booting you out of office. No compromises. No excuses.

This is how the Tea Party took over the GOP, pushed it to the far right and blocked most everything Barack Obama tried to do — even during his first two years with a Democratic Congress. And this is what we, the people, will do now. Even in progressive Bay Area districts, our members of Congress won’t stand firm unless we demand it of them. Absent relentless watchdog efforts, the temptation to engage in bipartisan compromise is irresistible. (Sen. Dianne Feinstein has already voted in favor of all four Trump cabinet nominees who have come up for a vote so far).

If you’re someone who can’t afford to lose your health insurance; if you’re tired of endless war profiteering; if you’re a nonwhite, non-Christian frightened by the bigotry Trump has legitimized; if you’re a cis- or transgendered woman who wants control of your own body; if you don’t want to see the welfare programs you rely on disappeared; if you value your right to vote, your right to privacy, speech and the freedom to love whom you choose; if you are watching in horror as the planet overheats and species die off; if you’re a public school student or teacher, a climate scientist or a small business owner who doesn’t want to see your life’s work eviscerated; if you are a taxpayer watching as BLOTUS (Biggest Liar of the United State) prepares to loot the U.S. Treasury; if you are a decent human being who refuses to allow a mean and crooked man and his venal henchmen to hurt people, then you are invited to stand indivisible.

Before she died, feminist labor and environmental organizer Judi Bari urged her community, “Don’t mourn, organize!” The inaugural protests signaled the end of our post-election grief. Now, it’s time to organize.

Harvey Milk said, “Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard.” There isn’t one among us who doesn’t stand to have our human rights stripped from us during the next four years. If we want liberty and justice for all, we must make our voices heard. We must be indivisible.

Erica Etelson is a writer and member of Indivisible East Bay.

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