Before August 2009, town hall meetings hosted by members of Congress were pretty routine affairs. But, after that summer, the very mention of a town hall meeting sent shivers through their spines of those elected to represent you. Indivisible, a guidebook for action, explains why -- and why it matters to the mass movement to resist Trump and his agenda. We have boiled it down to just a few minutes in this short video introduction to whet your appetite.
As the Indivisible guide says so clearly, much of what it takes to succeed comes down to showing up. Members of Congress care about their constituents -- their employers, as it were. Sure, they care about money too. But there is little that frightens a politician more than activated angry constituents because they know that those constituents will vote, and may well organize against them.
In 2009, a fairly small but extremely vocal group of these constituents who were concerned about the move to enact what later become the Affordable Care Act popped up at town hall meetings. They were angry. They interrupted representatives and senators as they were trying to speak. Suddenly, these traditionally dull, often sparsely attended meetings became great television. It began to look like a movement. Representatives and senators who may well have supported some elements of health care reform began to run scared. The rest, a they say, is history -- the history of the Tea Party and one we can learn from.
The most important lesson we must learn is that we need to act locally, that we all have a role to play and that role is exercising our own constituent power. Donald Trump's agenda doesn't depend on Donald Trump. It depends on your Members of Congress rubber-stamping it.
The good news from our stand point is that politicians wake up every morning thinking about reelection. Make your voice heard locally and they will listen -- or they will find new jobs. This is true of course for politicians who oppose what you believe. It will weaken the resolve of Trump's lackeys in Congress. But it is also important to talk to those who should or do share your values. All of our elected officials must know that we expect them to stand strong, to stand together, and to treat an attack on one like an attack on all.
Overwhelming as the task before us may seem, it is not out of reach. We face a historically unpopular president, with tiny congressional majorities. If we're smart, and if we stick together, indivisible, we can win. The stakes could not be higher.