So many thoughts and feelings swirling in the last few weeks: Shock, then awe, that Trump could have pulled it off. Then anger and questioning: were the elections rigged, as he insisted rigged, though, to support him?
I wanted to find out what everybody thought. Whoever held a meeting near Burlington, I went. Here are some of the things that I heard:
The NAACP, Champlain area chapter 11/15: Deep concern: “I’m experiencing cultural grief.” “My students are really scared.” “I’m going to expand my own courage to show up more.” “I’m tired of my child being hurt.”
The International Socialist Organization, UVM 11/17:“There will be no peace for this monster in his castle.” “People want deep explanations. They need to read. We need to go into fast motion on recruitment.” “We have eight union members in our branch. But most of the union movement nationally is taking its clue from Hillary: conciliate.” “The opening for socialism is great now because of the failure of the Democratic party.” “We’re in political combat.”
An International WILPF webinar 11/18: The triumph of Trump led international members of WILPF to question their countries’ subservience to US foreign policy. From Norway: “Norway is always doing what the US wants. Why so many US bases overseas?” Australia: “We’re tired of complying with US
foreign policy.” A US WILPF member: “I agree with Trump. We should have better relations with Russia, and pull back on Syria. We need to END THE NUCLEAR ERA!” WILPF International president Madeleine Rees: “We are seeing a revolt against the machine, as there was in Brexit, against the failed neoliberal economic order… We must avoid picking up the gauntlet of vituperative discourse, of
showing contempt for those who disagree with us. It is what has happened in the UK over Brexit on both sides and it will for sure happen in the US. That binary has to be resisted….”
Feminists Against Trump 11/18: Women crowded into the small living room in the Lakeside community of Burlington: “It’s happening so fast: a kind of toxic masculinity has taken over. The left, too, needs to account for its misogyny. Women in some parts of the country are turning to the Jane Collective, an organization which provided safe abortions before Rowe vs Wade. Now its services are needed again.” “What’s needed is a keening and wailing cry-out.” A Public Panic Attack is planned for January 14 at
2:30. Meet at the top of Church St.
Vermont Workers’ Center 12/4: venting: “Trump is a reactionary ‘cheeto’ who does not have a mandate.” Need for coordination across groups. Massive education. Buses from VT will be streaming down to Washington DC for the Women’s March on January 21. There will be a Women’s March in Montpelier the same day, followed by a Unity Rally at the State House. A new Social Justice League is forming at UVM…
By mid December, people were calmer but determined.
350VT Meet-Up 12/12: Twice as many people as expected crowded into the second floor office on Champlain St. Newcomers had questions: “What is a die-in? What is a ‘node’?” The three full time staff people in Burlington coordinate the ‘nodes’ or independent meetings throughout VT. Intersectionality was the theme for some. Climate change is caused by militarism’s outrageous use of fuel and resources for war, and military spending is increased by fears of terrorism caused by people displaced from the land. It goes both ways.
Black Lives Matter VT 12/12:a huge and supportive, largely white crowd filled the auditorium at the Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler Elementary School. President Ebony Nyoni explained that racial profiling was happening before and after Trump was elected. “I was born in New York, but it was when I came to Vermont that I met racism.” Members described ongoing projects: solidarity with the people of Rutland who will be welcoming Syrians refugees to their city in early 2017; a photo exhibit at the state house “I am Vermont too.” In addition, a plea for funds led dozens of people to step forward and pledge.
Webinar with Global Grassroots Justice 12/12: A speaker from Political Research Associates said “60% of those who voted for Trump didn’t think he would win. We need to encourage the betrayal these folks will feel” in the coming months.
Rep. Peter Welch, talk with constituents, Fletcher Free Library 12/13:“I am personally stunned at what happened.”
In the midst of all this, I tuned in to the two-day streaming video of the People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War sponsored by Code Pink(www.iraqtribunal.org). Many people who were on the cutting edge of the effort to stop the Cheney/Bushillegal war effort gave powerful testimony. The tribunal confirmed the reality we now face: how can we think we live in a democracy when the violators of the UN Charter lied to get us into war and continue to walk around as free men?
Finally, in search of a shred of hope, I attended a (re)introduction to the work of Joanna Macy led by Ruby Perry. 12/13: “Dealing with the pain of our times will require our greatest creativity and courage,” Joanna points out in a video. “The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying our world – we’ve actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other. This awakening makes the Great Turning possible.” For more go to www.joannamacy.net or contact Ruby at [email protected]