The Shutdown and the Marchers

The short-lived government shutdown initiated Saturday by Senate Democrats ended Monday with a clear victory for the Childhood Health Insurance Program but little more than hand waving towards resolving the crisis over DACA recipients. Soon after the Democrats called off their filibuster of the Continuing Resolution that temporarily funds the government, President Trump took to TV to make a long list of unacceptable demands that further clouded any remaining hope for a DACA deal.

On bright side, the day that the shutdown began millions of Americans of all genders and races gathered to recommit to protesting and voting! These are our people!

Two trends from the past year became very clear this past weekend. Trump and the Republicans are doubling down on their tactics of racial resentment and ethno-nationalism; meanwhile, the Resistance is growing and organizing.

We believe that the most important news this weekend was the persistent dedication and new focus of the resistance as demonstrated by the second annual Women's March. While fewer Marchers came to Washington, DC this year the crowds in Philadelphia and Chicago were substantially larger than last year’s events. The surprise was the degree to which the March grew in red states and spread to smaller cities across the country. Most importantly, the Marchers moved beyond exasperated protest to emphasize effective organizing for the 2018 elections.

The shutdown drama demonstrates that the Republicans’ internal divisions on race and immigration have hardened into intransigence. Twice in the last week Donald Trump made tentative deals with Democratic leadership to resolve the DACA issue, only to backtrack when confronted by immigration hardliners on his staff and in Congress. If there was ever any question about what Trump himself believes regarding issues of race and immigration, that was settled during the negotiations early in the week when the president ranted about "shit hole countries" and expressed his desire to limit all immigration from Haiti and Africa. It is now clear that Trump is unwilling or unable to make any deal that is opposed by the White Nationalist faction of his base.

Senate Democrats called off the shutdown choosing to believe the vague assurances from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he “intends” to hold a vote on the DACA legislation by February 8. It is hard to think of this as a meaningful strategy for securing protection for the DACA participants. McConnell has not produced the votes on the ACA and immigration that he promised his own Republican senators during the tax negotiations. Hard line Republicans are confident that the bills will not come up for a vote. And if they do pass the Senate, neither the Republican House nor the President have committed to approving the bill. The truth is that if Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan wanted to help the DACA participants, it could be done tomorrow. They say they do but there is no reason to believe that they are acting in good faith.

Meanwhile, the Resistance is growing its numbers and capacities. Unlike the non-stop promotion that the national media gave the Tea Party movement in 2010, coverage of the Women’s Marches was superficial and transitory making the enthusiasm of the Marchers even more remarkable. We will need all the enthusiasm and organization we can muster, this weekend’s drama is testimony to the central importance of the November elections. The question for each of us is “What is MY commitment for 2018?”

Call To Action

We began the New Year and Volume 2 of My Weekly Resistance urging you to make a commitment to actively participate in the work of the 2018 elections.  In Vol 2 No 1 we provided a broad outline of what needs doing and supporting. This week, in support of the Women’s Marches, we encourage you to use your MWR time to reflect on those ideas and write down what you plan to do and when you're going to do it. Be specific: set out dates, times and activities that you want to be held accountable for..

Next, share your commitment with a small number of friends, family members or colleagues who share your desire for change. Encourage them to make their own commitments formal as well. As we see from Saturday’s marches, there is immense power in small groups talking and planning together - offering each other support and accountability.

Then, please share your commitments with us at MWR.  We’d love to hear back from our readers.

Finally, your Senators and Representatives still need to be reminded that you fully support the Dreamers and a solution to the DACA crisis. Call them