Women’s march inspires action,so let’s get to work

January 26, 2017

OPINION by STEW JENKINS

Like so many local men, I participated in the Women’s March in San Luis Obispo on Jan. 21 the day after our new president belted out the most caustic inaugural speech in living memory. The gathering of between seven and nine thousand, overflowing onto streets boarding Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo , demonstrated energy, passion and commitment. It surely renewed faith that equality, sisterhood, brotherhood and justice in our democracy will not be defeated.

The former poet laurite of San Luis Obispo inspired, and organizers speeches tapped into the crowd’s widespread energy. A team of brightly feathered drummers steeled even the faint hearted after the march started as pelting rains beat down on activists assembled to resist a new administration threatening to rollback basic human rights, dignity and common decency.

Uplifting! Marching and rallies inspire, but are not themselves actions for change. But what now? What practical actions can foster progress?

The organizers of the SLO march announced one practical benefit of the march, $25,000 had been raised.

But in the wake of a losing campaign in which Democrats significantly outspent Republican, it is imperative to recognize that, by itself, money does not win elections. Most of the money spent in the last election cycle was spent in the wrong places, spent in ways that failed to persuade, or worse ran ads for progressives that drove voters to vote for their opponents.

Gathering to talk to only ourselves or repeating meaningless talking points does not persuade independents, conservative Democrats, or receptive Republicans; the people needed to move beyond the solidly liberal half of the country.

stew 1

Those who respond in kind to our new president’s profane, racists, sexist, and hateful statements play into his hands. It brings Democrats, liberal populists, and progressives down to his level; undercutting the content of our own character and blinding independents, conservatives and Republicans to the merits of liberal principles, proposals and programs.

Van Jones, former advisor to President Obama who spoke at the DC Women’s March, has the best advice to avoid sinking to Trump’s level. “The #LoveArmy is an alternative to hate and divisiveness gaining momentum in our communities and in our country. Democracy doesn’t just happen on Election Day. Democracy happens every day, through every interaction we have and every action we take. As divided as we may be, we have far more in common than not. Despite our differences, our common pain should give us common purpose. Let’s work together to bring our country forward.”

So how do we all get to work? By understanding the government that we have built, and acting through it to do two big things. Defend our democracy, first. Advocate, at the same time, for individual things that will build human dignity, economic justice, health care for all, racial and gender equality, freedom of religion, speech, and press, and a pollution free planet.

One easy to read guide is sitting on the web at www.indivisibleguide.org. Written by former progressive congressional staffers who studied how “the Tea Party beat back president Obama’s agenda,” is contains practical advice about what your member of congress (or your in-state representatives for that matter) care about, and what they ignore.

For instance, it contains advice like, if your Congressman Salud Carbajal, or Senator Dianne Feinstein is a Democrat defending or supporting something like the Affordable Care Act, phone, email or write to praise them for doing the right thing. That is the only way they will know that doing the right thing will keep them in office.

March 12

Don’t assume they will do the right thing, just because they are a Democrat. Phone, email or write to ask them to support the ACA, or to oppose reinstituting torture, or to support passage of an infrastructure funding bill. And representatives are more likely to pay attention to something you do that takes effort. I

n other words, clicking on an internet petition to say you support or oppose legislation will likely be ignored. It may make you feel good, but does little. But, a hand written card on flowered paper will likely get noticed. Driving to Dianne Feinstein’s office in Fresno (yes, that is the office that serves San Luis Obispo County) to deliver the card with 15 friends delivering their own individual differently worded cards will get even more notice. And when you write or call, ask for one thing. Don’t ask for 37 things. Focus the attention of the congressional staffer who is going to interpret your call or letter for the congressman or senator.

So, what does the indivisible guide say you should do with Republican representatives? First understand what doesn’t work. If you want to influence Kevin McCarthy, whose district is in Kern County you are wasting time and energy if you live in San Luis Obispo County. You don’t live in his district. He doesn’t care what you want or what you think. Unless you move there, you’re not a constituent and he doesn’t care that you and 15 friends from here show up with cards. If as a Democrat you want to influence McCarthy, the commitment it will take is the same commitment members of the Laborer’s Union made when members moved en masses from Southern California to Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo to live and campaign for Walter Capps.

By contrast, if you live here you are a constituent of Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham’s. Your individual cards, your individual emails, your dropping into or picketing outside of his Sacrament or San Luis Obispo office – with 15 of your friends – will get his attention if you want him at the state level preserve Obamacare or vote funding to protect clean water or expand school programs.

And finally, as Michael Moore said at the DC march, join groups. Join planned parenthood. Join the ACLU.

As Jack Kennedy said, the Democratic Party is the party of progress and prosperity. So, let’s all get to work to preserve our nation and state’s progress in economic and political justice and the prosperity that results from union organizing, project labor agreements, progressive income taxes, ambitious public works programs and a clean energy economy.

Stew Jenkins is a liberal San Luis Obispo County Democrat who supports the rights of working people to organize unions, the prudence of the cities and county growing the local economy through project labor agreements, the right of all people to health care and equal dignity. He is an attorney practicing in San Luis Obispo since 1978. Jenkins’ handles tax payer suits, municipal law, estate planning and family law.


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Callumm

Trump floated that the wall will be paid by a 20% tax on Mexican imports. Ah..what an economic genius. Hey US citizens, I’ll tell you Mexico will pay for it and then I’ll make Congress (I.e. you) pay for it and then have an import tax (I.e. you again are paying for it).


“Oops” said any trump supporter without a lobotomy.


SLOBIRD

Raised $25,000! Interesting, since the City of SLO Co-Sponsored this event and the fees (Police, Fire, General Employees – $45.00 overtime pay) were paid for by the taxpayers of SLO and the donations went to who, the Democratic Party? Who got this money? The Gay Police Chief and City Manager were key speakers and big supporters and I have been told that the City did not recover the expenses for this March. I wonder if they would do the same for the Women;s March? I am good with this but I think the taxpayers should know they picked up the tab for this March and someone (?) benefited from this March.


Otis

Jenkins states, “in the wake of a losing campaign in which Democrats significantly outspent Republican, it is imperative to recognize that, by itself, money does not win elections.”


But in California money does win elections. Over 60% voted for Clinton by citizens subordinated to the Democrat’s political dominance. Jenkins disparagement of Trump exemplifies the Democrat’s political irrelevance. Elections do have consequences. Mexifornia appears to be now in league with Mexico on the outside looking in. More may come while Jerry Brown arrogantly boasts of opposing Trump.


BeenThereDoneThat

Stew, I love your fairy tale. Now lets get to possible reasons why things are failing. First and foremost is the March. You talk about peace, etc. Was that peace in Madonna’s speech? Or Judd’s? Or how about one of the key not speakers, Donna Hylton? Yea nothing like having a torture killer as a speaker huh?


Let’s put that aside for a moment. How about your having a hissy fit about Trumps harsh words? Bill Clinton should have put that whole B.S. argument to rest with his arguing what is, is. Or his wife wagging her finger saying…………my husband did not have sexual relations with that woman. Oh yea that’s right blow jobs aren’t sex anymore. Guess that is why Madonna offered one up for votes huh. But that isn’t offensive in your twist fair tail.


How about Obama and his adding 10 trillion to the deficit? Yea probably still Bush’s fault. Hell on Obama’s death bed you all will probably blame Bush.


The problem isn’t that the message didn’t reach. It did. People saw it and said no thank you. Last weeks hissy fit against Trump’s election and abortion rights in disguise of Women’s rights, just drove the point home.


copperhead

If Kennedy were a politician today, the Democrat party would consider him a right wing zealot. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”… Those words would be (to quote the author) “caustic”.


Kennedy also proposed in 1963 to cut income taxes from the range of 20% to 91% to 14% and 65% and defended it by saying that a rising tide lifts all boats. He also proposed cuts in the corporate tax rates.


Sound Familiar? Here’s Kennedy’ speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEdXrfIMdiU


How about running Ashley Judd or Madonna for office? They fit in much more with today’s Democrat party than JFK would. It’s a shame.


billygatez

And we ALL know Reagonimcs trickle down is a joke, and a lie, and a doomsday Roman/Greek elitist scenario, ask anyone who has attended university in the last 20 years.


Jorge Estrada

Yes we could talk about the expensive overtime in law enforcement for this perfectly legal peaceful assembly or we could talk about the sore looser syndrome but what I’ve heard for years in this happiest place to live is the man shortage. Many of us have heard our daughters vocalize this issue and it’s no joke for many ladies that wants to find a good man that isn’t already taken. Many women just give up and find companionship with their lonely sisters, I would expect that new relationships were forged at this women’s march. The next one should be advertised on one of the many dating services. Who knows, maybe children will become the in thing again? For most Americans, their powerful march was to the voting booth or the mail box.


billygatez

I doubt there was any overtime. Really, but commit felonies and get admin leave?


analyticone

Jorge, that post is beneath you.


Kaiser Bill

Liberals, your protests and the violence that happened alongside it are also inspiring President Trump.


President Trump is now inspired to send in the Feds to deal with out of control street crime in Chicago.


President Trump is now inspired to build a wall on the Mexican border paid for by Mexican import duties, so Democrats can’t import more illegal voters.


President Trump is now inspired to investigate your leftist front and Agitprop organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center. It would be great if an IRS audit hammer comes down on the SPLC phony charity.


President Trump is now inspired to pass strong concealed carry legislation so citizens can defend themselves from hooded mask clad terrorists. The KKK wore white, these leftist terrorists cover their faces in shame and wear black.


Chinaski

Kaiser, Trump’s campaign ran on the “build the wall” rhetoric – he may have been inspired by the marches to follow through. His 20% tax on imports from Mexico is so pathetic a child can see how we all pay 20% more for Mexican goods. If you somehow fall for that one, man, you are not smart.

“The KKK wore white” and the “leftist terrorists cover their faces in shame and wear black”…um, try on your hood man, your face will be covered as well. Wow. You truely represent the ignorant racists with flying colors. Not a Hillary fan and didn’t vote for her but you are truely “deplorable”.


Moderator

Kaiser Bill Enough off topic. None of that happened at the SLO march.


rukidding

You said it very simply. It’s us against them and the strong will survive. Much more could be accomplished if there was ever a middle of the road that could be met. But like you mentioned there is way too much money involved on both sides for that to ever happen.


avidreader

Today’s Democratic Party is not the party of John F. Kennedy. This was the cry baby March. You lost, you can’t accept it and you hate and disrespect anyone who supports him. As for local politics, you’ve been in the minority for a few weeks and you’re having a hard time with that. Get over it and yourselves.


catdude

You just don’t get it, do you? It’s not crybabies, its not just that Democrats lost, it is the lack of quality of the winner. Sure, we’d be bummed if one of the other repulsive Republicans won, but it’s not about that, it’s that a pig of a human “won”; a lying, cheating, selfish, vindictive, childish swine of a human, bent on destroying everything Americans have built the last century. By the way, how are those “alternative facts” workin’ for ya?


copperhead

name calling is such an effective argument.


shelworth

That’s pretty much all they have left.


SamLouis

“…it is the lack of quality of the winner…”


WHOA, hold on one moment. Did you ever consider the “quality” of the only alternative come election day?


The hideously low “quality” of Trump’s only real competition played a big part in my vote for Trump.


billygatez

Marching for the sexual objectification of women is so over rated, said no one. Especially in San Luis Obispo, where i personally, have aided in helping objectified women from battery of a male in public, and stopped it, risking my life, it happens down town all the time at night, mainly a demographic of Cal Poly men, statistically speaking “facts”. To march for that, and other topics, is amazing. I bet sales of local businesses skyrocketed, drew large media attention; THIS IS GOOD, to all you naysayers about police overtime; Doubt it. And if your a cop, you can commit a felony and leave with payed leave- Calcoastnews has many examples, including the K9 attack recently. It’s not like it was some radicalized peoples out there; it was a calm, conservative event, ask anyone who attended, i know many. Women have been objectified for eons, and for men on this forum to protest against that, makes you a misogynist, by definition, It was not just about Trump. And since when has San Luis ever seen a gathering of that many for a peaceful demonstration; answer, never. And ya, Bill Clinton is an adulterer. So was Kennedy, and he was Catholic. And Reagan funded to end HIV and AIDS, diverting millions to science, solely because of a gay friend contracting it whom he worked with. So there.


billygatez

Apologies for shpelling*


billygatez

Ya, get over rape and sexual violence. No thanks bud.