Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lots of activities for liberal activists this week in Cheyenne

Sixty people attended last night's Laramie County Democratic Party's monthly meeting in Cheyenne.

That may not seem like a lot to you, dear readers in more populous places. But here, that's a good crowd.

Why so many people, and newcomers, at that?

Donald Trump -- he's making our Dem meetings great again.

New Faces. New energy. Groups represented that didn't exist this time last year, groups such as Indivisible Cheyenne. Juntos has been around for awhile but their mission helping immigrants has gone from necessary to critical. "People are in danger of losing everything," said Juntos leader A.J. What he means, of course, are the people who are being rounded up in ICE raids. They can be snatched, Gestapo-like, in the middle of the night and spirited away to camps and then back to their countries of origin. These raids are a byproduct of Trump's immigrant ban, announced a few weeks ago in a fever and promptly shut down by the courts. Trump doesn't have his multi-billion-dollar wall yet, so the ICE raids will have to do for now. Juntos needs volunteers. If you can help, go to the Juntos Facebook page. Juntos hasn't had a chance to work with local faith communities interested in becoming sanctuary churches. Kathleen Petersen announced at the meeting that the Unitarian Universalist Church has taken steps along this path. The congregation held a "community conversation of becoming a sanctuary church" on Feb. 5. Other churches will follow. UUCC is always a leader in social justice issues.

Attendees elected ten new precinct committeemen and women. Anyone signed up by the close of last night's meeting now can vote for county party officers at the March 20 meeting. Many of these precinct people were newbies and one was a Republicans this time last year. The precinct is the trenches of the political wars, one we haven't fought very well. We know that grassroots organizing is the way to get people elected. But it's hard work and you have to actually talk to people, engage them on a one-to-one basis. People -- you know how annoying they are! But without them, well, look what happens. Take a look at our current legislative session. More extremist legislation this year as a result of the Republican juggernaut. Mary Throne was House minority leader from Laramie County but was beat by a clodhopper on Nov. 8. She spoke about the horrors of this session. As is the case with many of us, her kids are out (or almost out) of the local K-12 system. "If I had kids in the K-12 system now, I'd be really worried," she said, noting that we are looking at the "potential destruction" of our education system, recently ranked as one of the top ten in the country. A scary thought. But that's the Republican plan nationally, now that we have the anti-education Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the helm. The Wyoming Republicans have their marching orders -- scorched earth for public education.

Wyoming Republican senators spend their days bashing educators when they are not busy waging war on women, gays, wolves, Mother Earth, wind power, etc.

Mary Throne summed it up this way: “No family is going to want to move here, no business will want to move here, without a great education system.”

So much for diversifying the state's economy.

This sums up the attitude of Republicans in Wyoming: “Let’s make Wyoming worse than it is now.” Some wags have called Trump’s ascendancy “the Alabamafication of America.” You know those polls that always show Alabama dead last in education, children’s health, income levels and almost everything else? Well, the folks who gave you Alabama now give you America which includes Wyoming last time I looked.

The Dems argued a bit last night, as is their wont. We should be arguing after our piss-poor showing in November. There is energy in the discontent. That must be turned into action.

Wonder what you can do?

Attend the Laramie County Democratic legislative reception on Thursday, Feb. 23, 6-10 p.m., at The Suite Bistro, 1901 Central Ave., in downtown Cheyenne. Admission is $15, which includes a free drink and cool jazz by the Jane Robinette Trio. Also schmoozing with Dem legislators and other local liberals. A chance to get acquainted.

If coffee or tea is your bag, attend the letter-writing party on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 5:30-7:30 p..m., at the Paramount Café, 1607 Capitol Ave. Materials and letter-writing experts will be available to help with ways to write the most convincing dispatch to your legislator. Helpful hint: no cussing.

If you were part of the Trump post-inauguration Women’s & Allies March in Cheyenne, and you’d like to participate in upcoming marches, including the March for Science and The Tax Day Rally, come to the Laramie County Public Library, 2200 Pioneer Ave., at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26. This energetic group gathered more than 1,000 people on a cold day in January to register our disgust with Trump and Trumpism. Fed them all, too.

I am at our local library right now using the public wi-fi because my home wi-fi is not working correctly. If you are looking for a place to blog surrounded by books that our president doesn’t read, this is the place. Support your local library in any way you can!

Indivisible Cheyenne also is planning events. You can find a link to its site on the right sidebar.

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