The Resistance in Trump Country California
Hi, my name is Meri, and I moved to the countryside. Yup, my wife and I packed up our one bedroom apartment in the San Francisco Mission District, and moved all the way out to a three bedroom house on an acre of land in Grass Valley, CA. “Living the dream” is how some of our friends described it, but of course there have been ups and downs. One of the big downs was on January 21st when Donald Trump was actually sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
Feeling powerless in the face of the inauguration, I of course turned to Google for comfort. “Congressional representative 95949” was my first search. OK, let’s be honest, it was “moving to Canada” first. As an armchair Democrat in San Francisco, I could take it for granted that my political Reps were progressive activists who were probably personally responsible for my right to marry…right? RIGHT? I mean, I had a meeting to get to.
Now I had to find time between conference calls and shooing deer away from my veggie patch to get to know my new representatives. Nevada County, the little gun-shaped county that was my new home, had turned blue for the first time in the 2016 Presidential election, but the rest of the district was aggressively red. My District 1 Representative, Doug LaMalfa, a guy with a Santa beard and cowboy hat, looked friendly enough. A few more clicks clarified that he was a extremely right Republican representing this massive chunk of California. I mean, just look at it:
Who knew? So, given the advice I found on the internet, I started making daily phone calls to Mr. LaMalfa. I would chat with his sweet D.C. staffer who always hung up with a “thank you for calling, Miss Mohr.” Putting in my two cents about the Muslim Ban and the ACA helped me choke back my paranoia about my wife and I being run out of town for not conforming to conservative values. We started hanging out at the coffee shops with the “Everyone is Welcome Here” sign in the window, and lowering our voices when discussing matters that clearly identified us as a couple. Without close friends or family here, I felt like a stranger in our new home town. Our adventure into the new and unknown suddenly felt dangerous.
Meanwhile, LaMalfa just kept ticking the box on every single Trump-supported proposal coming his way. FiveThirtyEight gives him a 100% Trump Score (vote that line up with Trump’s position) as of today. Maybe my calls weren’t getting through …
Then those intrepid Indivisible kids put out a directory of local groups intent on resisting Trump’s agenda. The map showed several right in my backyard! I started following along on Facebook, feeling things out, screening for crazies. I finally had to dive in and show up to a meeting for Indivisible Women Nevada County.
“We are a results-oriented collective of women who are committed to engaging more fully at local, state and national levels to transform our political process.
Resist, Persist, Inform, Reform”
No lie, 500 women piled into the venue. Local presenters, literally the girls next door, talked about identifying fake news, how to dialog productively with friends and family across the aisle, when and how to most effectively comment on legislation, and most importantly, how to get involved locally. Sitting at the back of a room of strangers, I was filled with new sense of pride. These gals weren’t afraid to make a ruckus, and sounded like they would have my back if I wanted to join in. The fear and uncertainty melted away, and I walked out ready to fight the good local fight.
The membership of Indivisible groups in Nevada County is 3500+ people strong and growing, and there are protests here and in Auburn weekly. Activists who earned their stipes in the 60s stand shoulder to shoulder with soccer moms, professionals and college kids who are committed to seeing change in our district. Whatever the political party, I just want to see our representation listen to and reflect the community, which is nuanced and diverse no matter where you live in California.
And I’m going to fight for it. It will be an uphill battle for any local candidate to effectively oppose LaMalfa.
More on the liberal resistance in Trump country, next month…