A new political movement is gaining momentum all across the country. The current political climate has many answering a call for resistance against the current administration, including members of the Winona community.
Indivisible, a coalition of volunteers formed to counteract the Trump agenda, is a rallying point for citizens that are looking to make the biggest impact they can in their government.
“This group really focuses on what an individual can realistically do. We’ve really focused the efforts on the community.” Indivisible member Amy Hermodson said. “It’s not really partisan, it’s all of us, where we are, doing what we can together.”
The defensive strategy follows much of the playbook used by TEA party activists when the legislative tables were turned under the Obama administration. Though ideology of Indivisible directly contradicts those held by the “Taxed Enough Already” organization, they recognized which strategies used by the TEA party worked for them.
At the beginning of this year, a chapter in Winona was organized, and the committee quickly grew with members eager for engagement.
Nancy Pellowski said her reasoning for becoming involved was that “I would rather, in some future day, look back and say ‘I did what I could’ rather than ‘I just sat by, let it happen and ranted about it.”
For many, the 2016 election results were a wake-up call that invigorated a new drive toward a politically engaged population. For Indivisible member Rachel Hentges, it presented an opportunity to take a hands-on approach to the democratic process.
“When you mobilize in your local communities, and you empower people, and help them realize that they do have a voice and the things they care about do matter, you give them resources to explore those values that they hold true and help them realize at the core of humanity we all care about the same things,” Hentges said. “It’s not us vs. them, we’re all a part of this.”
In an official statement released by the Winona chapter, the organization said “We focus on stopping the implementation of any agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption. In order to work together to achieve this goal, we must model the values of inclusion, respect, and fairness.”
Another Indivisible member, Joan Francioni, said the political atmosphere feels different because before “You just used to vote for who you wanted, and then it was their job.” Now that Francioni is more involved in the process, she says she “feels empowered.”
Politicians are always concerned about their re-election, and it is this avenue that Indivisible shows its members how to give their message teeth.
Much of the movement is based on having the right education. “Resistance Training,” as it is called, reminds the public of their rights as Americans and what tools are available for making a stand. Such a session took place at Outpost Winona, where about 20 people tuned into a live Facebook feed from Harvard University historian and activist Timothy McCarthy, as he laid out a curriculum constructive dissent. The discussion brought perspective to the ideals held by the crowd, as they were reminded of their “values and nonnegotiables.”
Based on the strategy laid out by the Indivisible Guide, the discussions were focused on objective action that could yield measurable results.
The 26 page PDF is accompanied by a subheadline that reads “A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.”
It includes methods that strengthen the ties local legislators have to their respective constituents.
Actions as simple as calling a representative’s office or attending city hall events have a track record of reminding politicians who they work for in Washington.
“In reality, that’s what democracy is supposed to be,” Indivisible member Jamie Harper said. “It’s not supposed to be a single vote, and hope those people do what they’re supposed to do in good judgement, because they’re affected by their constituents, they’re affected (by) money. We’re the constituents […] if our perspective isn’t added, then we’ve dropped the ball.”