Thursday, October 11, 2018

I Don’t Know If You Noticed

But there are more trans people running for office and more trans people are taking an active role in politics.
Four reasons why transgender people are running for office in record numbers
LGBTQ Nation
By Gwendolyn Smith
October 10, 2018

The 2017 election cycle may had more transgender people elected to office than ever before, but 2018 has the most transgender people running for office. Transgender people across the country are seeking everything from congressional seats to local school board positions.

What’s behind this move, and why is it happening now? Here are four big reasons that are driving the push to run for many transgender people.

Donald Trump
Much like gains in women and other groups running for office, the election of Donald J, Trump has pushed others to answer the call.
Danica Roem
On the other side of the coin, Danica Roem has also influenced transgender people to seek office. While Roem was not the first elected transgender person, she has been one of the highest profile to date.
The transgender community is growing up
While transgender people have existed for centuries, it is only in the last 25-30 years that there has been a “transgender community” of sorts.
Society has changed
As the transgender community has shifted and grown so has its visibility. No longer tabloid and talk show fodder, transgender people have become more and more visible.
I think it is a “perfect storm” as Ms. Smith said between Trump, Ms. Roem, and the change in our community and society we now have more trans people taking an active part in politics but also the ballot questions that are on the ballot around the country and the realization that we can make a difference.

My education into politics started in 2006 – Albany Trans Rights Conference – National Center for Transgender Equality and by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Grassroots Organizing, Albany New York where Mara Keisling and Lisa Mottet (then at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) and in 2007 – Grassroots Organizing, New York Power Summit, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury NY. In 2008 – Lobbying Training – Connecticut Lobbying Conference, Gallo & Robinson, LLC, Hartford CT (Ms. Gallo is retiring and she will be missed dearly).

In 2006 I started attending UConn School of Social Work for my MSW specializing in community organizing and through the school I attended the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work, Campaign School.

Some of the key points that I learned…
  • Don’t bother with those who are set against us, it is a waste of time; thank those who support us, and then concentrate on the “movable middle.”
  • Both the inside and outside game is important. By that I mean lobbying legislators is the inside game and protests is the outside game. The protests keep the issues on the front page, while lobbying concentrates on the fence siting legislators (like Sen. Collins… but sometimes it doesn’t work).
  • It you protest do it in a way that the protest puts pressure on the target.
  • The best way to motivate people to become involved is through their emotions, self-interest, and sense of fair play.
And if you read anything at all read Community Tool Box and Saul Alinsky
Rules for Radicals recommends mostly working within the system—though in the twisted way Machiavelli is reputed to have done (whether or not he’s been interpreted fairly). Below, you’ll find Alinsky’s list of 13 “Rules for Radicals,” offered with his proviso that political activism cannot be a self-serving enterprise: “People cannot be free unless they are willing to sacrifice some of their interests to guarantee the freedom of others. The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people.”
  1. “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. 
  2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. 
  3. "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. 
  4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
  5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. 
  6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. 
  7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. 
  8. “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. 
  9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. 
  10. "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition." It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign. 
  11. “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. [My emphasis]
  12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. 
  13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Alinsky’s rules can and have been used for anti-democratic designs. But he defines the U.S. as a “society predicated on voluntarism.” His vision of democracy leans heavily on that of keen outside observer of early America, Alexis de Tocqueville, the French philosopher who “gravely warned,” writes Alinsky, “that unless individual citizens were regularly involved in the action of governing themselves, self-government would pass from the scene.”
Alinsky realized that only a very small number of people get involved and you can be used effectively.

Notice #11 “Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.” and that goes for us also, violence no matter how attractive just doesn’t work.

Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. learned that. They believed in non-violence demonstrations and you just have listen to what Sen. McConnell and Trump are saying “The Democrats are a menace to public safety” and how Trump wants to band protest because the “violence” (see rule #11).

We need to watch out for infiltrators who will stir up violence and blame it on the peaceful protesters.

The trouble is the Republicans have also listened to Alinsky at the same time as they condemn him for being a Communist. How many of those rules does Trump follow? How about #5 & #11?

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