Earlier this month, I spent time with my mother and my aunt. Since they are both in their 70s, we usually eat a tasty meal, enjoy a beverage, and talk A LOT, including about politics. It has only been a little over a year since then- Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump clinched the election over front-runner Hillary Clinton yet, with this roller coaster of an administration, it feels like it’s been a lifetime.
Mom and Auntie wanted to know, “Darryn, what in the world is going on in Washington?” I found myself at a loss to explain. As a younger voter, I have never experienced so much overt racism, sexism, homophobia, underlying prejudice or hate coming from the White House. One thing is for sure: this is not normal! I told my family and friends that instead of focusing on the White House turmoils, I keep sane by paying attention to all of the positivity and organizing taking place across our nation.
The day after the Inauguration, people on every continent participated in the Women’s March, advocating for legislation and policies defending and improving protection for human rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, racial equality, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights.
Last summer, my friends and I replaced our LA Pride swag with protest banners, and participated in LA’s Resist March. To us it wasn’t just about identifying as a member of the LGBTQ community, but celebrating that all Americans and dreamers are more powerful when we unify our unique, diverse, and intersectional voices. Ironically, Nonetheless, for an administration that appears to thrive on division, it is definitely bringing many of us together!
Growing up, my parents played Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Newsflash! From the Women’s March to Black Lives Matter and everywhere in between—this revolution is indeed being televised, streamed and going viral! Recently, thousands of students across the U.S. participated in the National School Walkout in protest against gun violence after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And instead of advocating for change in our separate silos, as we have done for decades, today’s movement highlights the intersectionality of power.
It is important to remember that impeachment starts in the House of Representatives, now controlled by a Republican majority. So Democrats need to win a House majority in November 2018 before any consideration of misconduct could begin.
Personally, I am using my spare time volunteering with Congressmember Karen Bass’ Leadership PAC, Sea Change, which is supporting the resistance movement and training and mobilizing an army of volunteers in Southern California to do strategic voter education, engagement, and registration by knocking on doors and phone banking to take back the House. That way, we have a better chance of fighting Trump’s policies, which are rolling back decades of social progress and ripping away protections for people, including LGBTQ folks, and leading to devastating funding cuts in public education, healthcare, environmental protections, and services for low-income Americans.
Trump is undermining the ability of our government to function with his ever-shifting cabinet of unqualified billionaires, his willingness to ignore Congressional mandates and laws, and his focus on loyalty to him personally over loyalty to the nation—otherwise known as patriotism. He is also threatening America’s ability to play a leading role in the world, with his disregard of long-standing treaties and agreements, his ignorance of other countries, and a foreign policy that appears bent on driving us toward war.
I know that my work at Sea Change is not in vain. We are standing up for the rule of law, and for immigrants, women’s rights, working families, children, and basic human rights at home and abroad.
And as a volunteer in the resistance, I am participating in a transformation, a national awakening. With results! Democrat Doug Jones won a Senate upset in Alabama and Danica Roem defeated an anti-LGBTQ incumbent to become the first openly transgender state legislator in Virginia. Even here at home in California, activism has led two sitting members of Congress to announce their departures: Darrell Issa and Ed Royce.
Since We, the People, have begun to understand our power, progressives are now winning at state and local levels all over this country. Most importantly, we are winning in areas that have been labeled as “conservative” and unwinnable. The latest was Democratic House candidate Conor Lamb’s victory over Trump’s choice in a reliably Republican seat— a district that Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016.
So when Mom and Auntie want to know what’s going on, I tell them the world is changing, and sometimes that means a lot of crazy for a while. As a gay man, though, I am just overwhelmed with pride. And I am encouraged to fight on! Join me!
Darryn Harris is a political strategist and is the Founding President of Black Los Angeles Young Democrats. Find Sea Change on Facebook.