Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Uprising - Like the Tea Party, but BIGGER AND BETTER

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.
And it is pretty legitimate. The election of Donald Trump last November, for a plethora of reasons, led to shock and outrage among a large proportion of Americans. Concerns about every last issue that bears on our nation - from the environment to education - from immigration to health care - and more - emerged in the hearts and minds of millions.

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.

Bottom Line

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

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. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shame on NJ Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen

Below is a letter that I sent to Congressman Frelinghuysen, who recently pressured a member of a political activist group, NJ 11th for Change, to resign from a high-powered job in the banking industry. Please join me in exercising our first amendment rights on this one. This is our democracy. And Congressman Frelinghuysen’s actions are not acceptable.


Dear Congressman Frelinghuysen,

I have become aware of the recent situation regarding Saily Avelenda, who lives in my hometown of West Caldwell, NJ. According to several news sources, she was pressured to leave a high-power job in the private sector largely as a result of a letter that you wrote to her representative, indicating your concern that she is a member of an activist political organization (NJ 11th for Change). I am perplexed and concerned by this fact for several reasons.

I am a founding member of a similar group, Move Forward New York - Congressional District 19. And my activism as part of this group is, to my mind, indicative of my taking the democratic process seriously. Individuals from any part of the political spectrum who dedicate their time and efforts to working for political causes that they deem important should be commended for going above and beyond and for engaging in the foundation of our democracy. Such groups largely are all about exercising their first amendment rights - and I would think that a congressman would be highly supportive of individuals who take their time and energy to  do exactly that.

The world is a scary place right now - and the fact that millions of Americans are standing up to participate fully in our democracy is exactly what is needed to help get our nation back on track during this time.

I hope and trust that in the future you will consider these points in your behaviors regarding citizen actions groups - as such groups are comprised of volunteers who are going the extra mile on behalf of our future. For my money, there are few things as commendable - and if I were in your shoes, I would write Ms. Avelenda a letter commending her for her work. Clearly she has other things she is doing in her life - and clearly she is engaging in the political process because she cares about OUR nation's future.

Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. And many thanks for your attention.

Genuinely, Glenn Geher, Graduate of James Caldwell High School (class of 1988); Founding member of Move Forward New York

Note: I grew up in West Caldwell - I currently reside in New Paltz, NY

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

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.