by Glenn Geher, a founding member of Move Forward New York
In about 2009, a large movement emerged in this nation. As far as I can tell, the defining feature of this movement, called The Tea Party movement, was to elect conservative officials at all levels of government - largely as a response to the policies of President Barack Obama, which were considered as too liberal by the many members of the movement.
History tells us that this movement was famously successful, leading to republican takeovers of both houses of Congress as well as congressional units across the states. At the federal level, the result was a Congress that had the capacity to essentially block nearly all initiatives of the Obama administration.
Welcome to the New Age
In case you haven't noticed, there's another grassroots movement going on in this country right now.
This cannot stand! we collectively thought.
Not my president! we cried in the streets.
Thank You Donald Trump
You read that right! You know, like so many of us, I have to admit that I was never very politically active. I guess I've lived a privileged life for the most part. I grew up in a middle class town in northern New Jersey and went on to get bachelor and doctoral degrees in New England. I have a great job, own a house, have a great family, etc. Life's been OK for me. And you know, partly connected with that fact, I'm thinking I never gave politics too much thought.
This all said, I'm in academia and I'm actually in a rock band with three sociologists - so I've been regularly surrounded by activists for years. And I guess I never quite understood why they all cared so much. Well, times have changed - and, ironically, we have Donald Trump to thank for that. The excessively inappropriate background and nature of Donald Trump is too much for me to turn a blind eye.
Waking the Sleeping Giant
People talk about civic engagement as a duty. I get it now. A democracy only functions to the degree that citizens engage in the process. Well the election of Donald Trump woke many of us up. We get it now - and I have to say to my lifelong activist friends, please forgive my political apathy of the past!
Modern Grassroots Activism as The Uprising
If you know me at all, you know that I've gone full sail in the political activism front. I have seen many adverse effects of the Trump administration in my own little world - and I am hell bent on making sure that this nation gets back on track.
This said, I suggest that we take a hint from the Tea Party movement. I have to say, that's a fabulous name - and I think the name itself likely played a role in mobilizing the movement.
Well we have a movement on our hands right now. In my little world, we call it Move Forward. Move on and Indivisible also exist. Many folks, such as the formidable Robert Reich, talk about the resistance.
When I've been asked to speak at political rallies, I have come to always start with this phrase: Welcome to the uprising.
To me, what we have on our hands here is nothing short of an all-out uprising. Resistance implies that our goal is to stand our ground against an adversary. Based on the inspiring work I've seen out of millions of my compatriots - people who have flooded the airports, marched by the hundreds of thousands in Washington, made daily phone calls to government officials, I'd say that we are part of much more than a resistance. We are doing way more than just standing our ground.
We are an uprising. We are moving up and moving forward. And, come hell or high water, we are going to take back this nation.
I have to give credit to the organizers of the Tea Party - they accomplished quite a bit. But when you look around at the magnitude of the current movement, it becomes pretty clear that the Tea Party movement was minor league stuff.
The Uprising is huge. It is here. And it is not going away until our goals are realized.
This is still our country - the sleeping giant has awoken - and from sea to shining sea, we are not messing around.
The election of Donald Trump to the most important leadership position in the world was a wake-up call of epic proportions. If you are fortunate to call yourself a citizen of the United States of America, then it is your civic obligation - and nothing short of that - to play an active role in our democratic process. We have First Amendment rights - such as the right to criticize the government publicly when warranted - and I say that it is the obligation of each and every one on us to exercise these rights to protect our nation - and world - for future generations.
To all of my sisters and brothers in the thousands of grassroots groups across the nation (Move Forward New York - and beyond) - I say this: Deep appreciation for all of your work. And please consider joining me in framing this national movement that is so dear to us with this appropriate name - what we have on our hands is nothing short of THE UPRISING. Here is to the future.
If ever there was a time to become politically active and rise up, that time is now. Here is to the uprising.
Join the uprising at www.moveforwardnewyork.org
Join the uprising at www.moveforwardnewyork.org
Note that the views expressed herein are expressly the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Move Forward New York as a collective entity.