Individual Kansas (KS-03) is part of a national Indivisible movement to resist the Trump agenda. Crafted by former Democratic Congressional staffers, its goal is to take action against the President. Last night's meeting--for the first 5 minutes anyway--ran more like a Liberal Voters Anonymous meeting. We sat in a circle while everyone introduced themselves and explained how they were "woke." Attendees checked their privilege, explained how terrified they were for themselves and especially their minority friends, and bemoaned their common belief that beginning today, police will be shooting protesters in the streets and sending Democrats, Muslims, minorities and members of the LBGTQZYEIZLOEK (Do they have all the letters yet? I can't keep track?) to the internment camps.
As we went around the table of individuals describing the challenges of privileged white people with government jobs living in wealthy communities like Prairie Village, I was trembling in fear. I was going to have to say my name. There are days I really wish my parents had the good graces to name me Jane. Or Carrie. or Emma. Or Jennifer. Fortunately, as I began introducing myself--long before I got to the part about my actual name--the wife of one Democratic Kansas House Representative j'accused, "You're Gidget!" She told the people that I wasn't one of their tribe, and so they should be careful what they said. Head desk.
They didn't kick me out--they were very welcoming--but I suspect my presence scuttled their real plans. Instead of planning an "action"--which is what the Indivisible group leader guide suggests doing in an initial meeting--they talked about elections, Johnson County's decommissioned voting machines, and the 13,000 provisional ballots that were thrown out due to a glitch in the state's voter registration website. It was all very innocuous and really, not crazy. There was no dancing. No bongos. And there was only one person who seemed to have an unhealthy, unrelenting general anger. (Otherwise, mostly a group of really lovely and pleasant people who care about our country and our state. Thanks for being so kind to me.)
I suspect their action--when they plan one without me--will be to stage some kind of sit-in in Congressman Kevin Yoder's office. I don't think they'll limit their efforts to emails and phone calls. As one person put it: We need "disruptive and effective" tools.
And obviously, their short term goal is to find a viable liberal candidate who can beat Yoder in 2020. A very common refrain was--we just have to get through the next two years, though one person intoned: Are we all worried that 2020 might not come? (Because Trump may just stop future elections from occurring and name himself Supreme Leader forever.)
The group was comprised of 12 women, including me, and 3 men. There was one Millenial. I'd say the average age of the group members was mid-40s. Two of the men did the majority of the speaking, along with the wife of a Democratic House member. Oh, the patriarchy. That's not where the irony ended, however. Members remained suspicious that Republican were paying brown people to pose in photos at rallies and political events. Um... the only brown person in that room last night was the conservative--so I'll just leave that one there.
I did want to give them all a hug. I have been EXACTLY where they are right now, circa 2008. I still have some questions about shenanigans that occurred on Election Day 2012 in Pennsylvania and other critical states. I was worried that there may never be another election, and that Obama was going to take all of our guns and send us all to re-education camps. I didn't generally wear my tin foil hat in public, but I had one.
I feared the worst. The last eight years were pretty unpleasant politically, but for the most part, I came out the other side unscathed, as liberal Facebookers remind me almost daily with memes about how no one collected conservatives' guns.
In a few hours, we have one of the greatest privileges in human history, a peaceful transition of enormous power. Conservatives came out the other side of the Obama Administration unscathed, and in four or eight years, my new liberal friends, you will, too.