Monday, August 07, 2017

The Resistance: Heart and Soles

Slate has an article describing the Instagram posts of Pete Sousza, President Obama's official photographer.  Of this parade of photos from the Obama years, the article accurately says:

"The timing of each upload is deliberate, designed to contrast the former POTUS’s grace and poise with the current one’s flailing malice. Souza’s Instagram, which now has about 1.5 million followers, feels like a magic mirror swimming with images from a brighter past."

However the writer, Katy Waldman, offers this to castigate it as more evidence of liberal laziness and self-regard.  Of course, if people did nothing more than live in this past, it's not going to make for a better future.  But these posts fulfill several legitimate functions.

When things are so awful that the Obama presidency seems like it couldn't have happened, it's important to know and remember that it did.  It's important to keep in heart and mind that politics and the presidency don't have to be mired in such intense darkness and shame.  There has to be a model.  Not just promises or a plan, but evidence that it can be real. Emotionally, spiritually as well as intellectually. ..So check out the article for the examples offered, or better yet, go to the source.

Meanwhile, Obama's legacy is precisely leading to action.  Politico profiles the organization once known as Obama for America, which reorganized itself as Organizing for Action, keeping the same identifying initials of OFA.

The article concludes that among organizations fighting in the Resistance, OFA is the best prepared and most skilled in political action as well as grassroots organizing, and training succeeding generations of organizers.  They meet people in their neighborhoods, churches and community functions, as well as through social media and email, in what used to be called shoe leather politics.

After organizing responses to Republican unhealthcare proposals, OFA is currently sending organizers to town hall meetings and district offices, taking to account those who voted for these proposals.  On the agenda for the near future: "It's already looking at plans to go into 2018 with a massive voter registration drive that could become its main project ahead of the midterms."

But OFA deals with more than election politics itself.  Organizing to spread true information on healthcare and the climate crisis are continuing efforts.

All of this as an independent organization with no formal relationship with President Obama, though things may change when he reemerges to focus on redistricting issues and gerrymandering.  Yet the relationship with his presidency endures:

"Yet six months into a presidency geared toward undermining the legacy of the man these young operatives still revere — more as someone who shaped not just their politics but their entire political consciousness — OFA has found new life. It’s become the lead organizing hub of the Trump resistance."

"Most of the opposition groups that have sprouted up since Trump won are election-oriented and inexperienced in coordination. OFA believes it now has the tools and know-how to keep the fight going when others will fade or stumble.

“Mobilizing in the moment,” Warner said, “is different from organizing in the long term.”  You gotta have heart, but you gotta apply those soles to the job as well.

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