La Resistance

Michael Moore, Congressional Democrats and local progressives: How they are resisting Donald Trump's agenda

click to enlarge FROM LEFT: Filmmaker Michael Moore, Washington Sen. Patty Murray, local activists Taylor Weech and Liz Moore.
FROM LEFT: Filmmaker Michael Moore, Washington Sen. Patty Murray, local activists Taylor Weech and Liz Moore.

Michael Moore knew that this was going to happen. Last July, the filmmaker and activist predicted that Donald Trump was going to be the next leader of the free world, and he was right.

Since the election, Moore has announced "100 Days of Resistance," beginning the day after the inauguration with the Women's March in Washington, D.C.

"We have to throw everything at this," Moore said earlier this month on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. "This man is slightly unhinged, if I can say that. And he's a malignant narcissist. He cares very much about what people think of him, he wants to be the popular guy, and he's going to be very upset if there's a lot of people there."

Beyond the march (there's a Spokane/North Idaho march set for the same day, starting at the Spokane Convention Center), political commentator and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has an agenda for the first 100 days of resistance on his website. The list includes efforts to boycott Trump's brand (hotels, stores, merchandise), donate to opposition groups (ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, MoveOn, Economic Policy Institute, etc.), engage independents and Trump supporters, and call senators and representatives, expressing disapproval of Trump's cabinet nominees and campaign promises.

Protect American Families

Sen. Patty Murray (and other U.S. Senate Democrats) introduced a bill that would (and we can't believe we're saying this) block a federal registry based on religion, ethnicity, race, age, gender, national origin, nationality or citizenship.

Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, also called to postpone the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for Secretary of Education. Murray's demand came after the Office of Government Ethics said it had not yet completed its review of DeVos' financial disclosures (she's a billionaire) and ethics review.

6th District Democrats

Mary Wissink, chair of the Democratic Party in the 6th Legislative District, has been inundated with emails and phone calls since the election. On the other end of those communications are people who listened to Trump talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act, brag about groping women without their consent and propose a ban on people coming into the country based on religion. People want to know how they can get involved, how they can help, how they can resist.

In response, Wissink says, she's looking to launch a local version of the effort known as "Indivisible," a nationwide grassroots movement to resist the Trump agenda.

Former congressional staffers have assembled a step-by-step guide for how to make current members of Congress listen to their constituents' concerns. The guide is modeled after the small but powerful influence of the conservative Tea Party, according to the group's website.

"I've never had so many people call me asking what they can do, how they can get involved," Wissink says. "They want to be part of the change and hold Trump accountable. People are really scared of what's going to happen."

Wissink says the group's first meeting will be March 7, from 6 to 8 pm, at the Shadle branch of the Spokane Public Library.

ACLU: Ready and Waiting

Immediately after Trump was elected president, the American Civil Liberties Union planted its flag firmly in the "we're watching you" camp. The nonprofit legal organization called several of Trump's campaign promises "un-American," "wrongheaded" "unlawful" and "unconstitutional." It vowed to file lawsuits challenging actions that violate basic human rights. Since November, the ACLU has gained at least $7.2 million in donations and tens of thousands of new members in Washington and nationwide.

As its attorneys wait to see how Trump's administration will impact civil liberties, the organization is already taking action in the form of "Know Your Rights" presentations, says ACLU of Washington spokesman Doug Honig.

"We're starting to give workshops on free speech and protest rights," he says, adding that the organization is working on printing up wallet-sized cards explaining free speech and protest rights, similar to the ones about interacting with police.

After the March

Following the Women's March in Spokane, organizers for the Peace and Justice Action League are planning a eventful day. Their event — People Rise Up! A Community Invitation to Action (Jan. 21 from 2-5 pm at the Community Building, 35 W. Main) — will feature an "Action Bar" with postcards, petitions and contact information for local elected officials. The postcards are intended for Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, to encourage their efforts to actively oppose Trump's agenda, says PJALS director Liz Moore.

The petitions are for local elected officials, encouraging them to support immigrant communities, especially considering the upcoming vote on Initiative 2015-1 in the city of Spokane. The initiative, on the ballot this coming November, would erase language from city law that prohibits Spokane police, and any other city employees, from asking people about their immigration status. The initiative also seeks to remove the provision that prevents SPD from detaining an individual based solely on their immigration status.

"So someone walking into City Hall to pay bills or get a permit could be harassed because they seem like they don't belong," Moore says.

The contact sheets are meant to encourage people to call the state legislature hotline.

No call to action opposing Trump would be complete without a "tweet table." If you don't have an account, PJALS will help you create one. Or they'll let you tweet from their account.

"The whole idea is that we have to move into motion now," Moore says.

The event will also feature speakers, and a kids table with supplies to make costumes, coloring sheets of famous peacemaking figures, and a screening of the 1992 movie FernGully: The Last Rainforest.

Love and Outrage

Spokane is no exception to the rule that art flourishes in times of turmoil. That notion is perhaps most apparent in the Love and Outrage Collective — a group dedicated to amplifying local voices on issues from police misconduct to gender equality and, most recently, government and accountability.

The idea is to provide an outlet for creative types to express their frustration in ways other than marching, rallying or showing up for protests.

The group, founded by local activist Taylor Weech, publishes a quarterly zine with poetry and prose from local writers. They host a reading at Boots Bakery & Lounge ahead of each issue. The Government Issue is slated to be released later this month, with a reading scheduled at Boots (24 W. Main) on Jan. 27 at 6:30 pm.

Writing not your thing? Love and Outrage has also started a choir that performs in public. Look them up on Facebook (Love & Outrage) or email to get involved.

"A lot of people feel like now is the time to express what they've been feeling for a long time, but also want to do something fun," Weech says. "It feeds them. It can be really draining to be only fighting all the time." ♦

ArtFest 2020 @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Fri., May 29, Sat., May 30 and Sun., May 31
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About The Author

Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.