It has been an interesting time being a progressive, left wing democrat. I have taken the inside/outside approach. Inside being the fact that I am a member of the RI Democratic Committee and on the Glocester Democratic Town Committee. Outside because I really consider myself to be a “Berniecrat” bordering on left-wing (ok probably not bordering) .. the past 10 days I have taken part in events incorporating all 3 personas.
On March 25th members of Our Revolution-RI joined in at the counter Make America Great Again Rally. The decision to join with our brothers & sisters of Providence Against Trump and other groups was met with trepidation. It was suggested that it was too risky and might not look good on our recently formed organization. After a group discussion and approval from the national organization about 15 of us or so went ahead with our plans. And we were all so glad that we did. The protest rally was amazing – through Our Revolution-RI we secured What Cheer Brigade and The Big Nazo Trumper. Some of us marched from City Hall others scoped out the State House yard – but we were all there to support the efforts and disrupt the pro-Trump rally – and it was a complete success. The citizens who protested truly represented the resistance. It was well attended by people of color and people from Providence and all across the state which was great to see and to be part of.
The following Friday in a drenching rain and uncomfortably chilly night I ventured out to Boston with the hubby and others from the progressive community to attend an Our Revolution- MA Rally spearheaded by Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren. The rally was definitely reminiscent of a Bernie campaign rally. It included some fun musical performers, speakers from the local area who represented different backgrounds, and an overly white audience. All the speakers were great and Senator Warren especially gave a rousing anti-Trump speech. Bernie’s speech was critical as it pointed out the flaws of the Democratic party as well as forgiving Trump supporters and how they were too long ignored by mainstream politicians. However, it was almost comical how anyone could tell the Clinton supporters from the Bernicrats at the event. All in all, it was a very worthwhile rally and I for one, left energized and had my much needed Bernie fix fulfilled.
On Monday, April 3rd, I put on my Inside Democrat hat and went to an event put on by the RI Women’s Democratic Caucus headlined by Governor Raimondo and well attended by many women GA members. This event, as did the previous 2 meetings which I also attended, focused on women running for office, and what we can do as motivated women to make a difference. Here I met up with a member of our Anti-Power Plant movement, helping with Save Burrillville sign holding privileges. To the Governor’s credit, she recognized our efforts as a way women can make a difference and be heard. This gathering, unlike the other two meetings this was held in Central Falls vs Warwick but the demographics were identical – an almost 100 percent white audience – something that Rep. Grace Diaz rightfully pointed out.
My Bernie voice could not stay quiet, however, as I was compelled to bring up the fact that one of the reasons we are not as effective as we should be as Democrats is because we have a divided party and leadership that does not believe in our own state’s party platform. I specifically called out Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello. How do we as a party and as women reconcile that the most powerful democrat in the state is anti-choice, pro-gun, against undocumented immigrants, against free tuition and for tax cuts for the rich? There were quite a few people clapping after I spoke which I very much appreciated. I also mentioned that the Party and leadership needed to embrace Bernie’s message of Medicare for all, and free college tuition and progressives have an important role to play in Rhode Island.
All the events were symbolic of the overall strategy to confront and defeat Trump’s policies, his misogyny, his racism and his contempt for marginalized people across the country. We need to have a unified voice to fight the President & his swamp filled cabinet who want to obliterate civil rights, environmental protections, and social safety nets. These events were all important and provided 3 unique perspectives. I am grateful to all who attended and organized and help to continue the fight and be part of the resistance.