Indivisible Bluegrass Resistance Report

March 3, 2017

Indivisible Bluegrass Story

Our story starts with a Lexington book club. Like the majority of Americans, none of the 15 club members had voted for Donald Trump, and they were angry and frustrated that someone who had expressed such animosity to the disabled, the poor, immigrants and others had been elected President of our nation. They decided to write letters to our Republican members of Congress (MoCs) to express their opposition to specific aspects of the Trump agenda. The members knew their sentiments wouldn’t turn the tide in Washington, but they felt they had to do something. And the letters were a start.

As the book club friends talked to more friends and family, many of whom were Obama supporters, interest in forming an organized resistance to the Trump agenda spread. Within a week, about 70 people were eager to be involved.

Many of us had read about the Indivisible Guide, an online blueprint on how to influence your local MoC’s politically by using the successful tactics of the Tea Party (focused and persistent visits, calls and post cards on specific issues).  We knew the guide was inspiring thousands of local groups to form around the country so we decided to start one here.

We held our first meeting at the Lexington Public Library downtown on Feb. 5. We hoped 70 or 80 people would come―240 showed up!

Most of us have not been politically active before, but we all are passionate about fighting for a return to decency, compassion and inclusiveness in government. At that first meeting, more than 150 people joined the group, and dozens also volunteered to work on specific committees.

We have made remarkable progress in six weeks: Indivisible Bluegrass has 400 members and grows every day. We have a steering committee, a website with alerts and resources, a Facebook page with over one thousand followers, and a fast-growing Twitter account.  We have organized 18 office visits to MoC offices in Kentucky’s Sixth District on specific issues such as the immigration ban, Cabinet nominees, and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and we’ve helped organize four successful rallies during last week’s Congressional recess (see following article).

But our mission is long-term and much remains to be done to keep the momentum going. We need people to:

  • Monitor the activities and schedules of our MoCs so we can act strategically.
  • Recruit more members from minority and rural areas within the district.
  • Serve as liaisons with other resistance groups to coordinate efforts.
  • Join in some of our weekly visits to our MoC offices.

Review our alerts to learn more.

They ducked, we persisted
Republican MoCs around the country got an earful last week as angry constituents at packed town halls voiced their objections to the repeal of the ACA, corporate tax cuts, the immigrant ban, and other troubling aspects of the Trump agenda. Here in the Sixth District, we salute U.S. Rep. Andy Barr for having the courage to hold two public events last week while our senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, ducked their constituents by appearing only at small, RSVP-only gatherings.

Robust protest rallies shadowed McConnell wherever he went last week. The events were planned by Indivisible Bluegrass, the Kentucky Democratic Party, Together We Will, and Indivisible chapters in Louisville and Northern Kentucky. (See below to learn how Rand evaded his constituents). Here’s a recap:

Lawrenceburg rally

One thousand protesters showed up outside Mitch McConnell’s speaking venue in Lawrenceburg.

  • Tuesday: Nearly one thousand protesters gathered outside American Legion Post 34 in Lawrenceburg for a rally that was widely covered by local and national media. Waving  signs protesting Trump policies on health care, environmental protection, immigration, education and other issues, the demonstrators were there to confront McConnell, who was speaking at an Anderson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Speaking to 80 or so paying guests inside, McConnell dismissed the protest as merely sour grapes over the election.
  • Wednesday: More than a hundred people filled the Montgomery Country Courthouse Annex in Mount Sterling for Rep. Andy Barr’s “Coffee with the Congressman.” Many booed and hissed when Barr defended the repeal of the ACA and removal of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires financial advisers to act in the best interest of their client rather than seeking the most profit for their business.
  • Wednesday: In Jeffersontown, some 400 demonstrators met outside the Louisville Marriott East hotel, where McConnell spoke at the Jeffersontown Chamber of Commerce luncheon. After the event, a reporter asked McConnell if he planned to hold a town hall during the recess. “I thought we had a lot of the general public here,” he senator replied breezily, referring to the RSVP-only luncheon. “I’m perfectly open.”
  • Thursday: Hundreds of protesters greeted McConnell outside the Hotel Covington, where he spoke at a joint luncheon of the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Chambers of Commerce.  At the luncheon, one protestor who had purchased a $65 ticket stood up and challenged McConnell’s claim that the protesters were concerned only with the election results and demanded that he listen to their concerns at a free town hall. Police promptly escorted her out of the room.
  • Saturday: Indivisible Bluegrass members were among the 60 or so constituents who attended a “Coffee Talk” with Barr at the Frank Hinton & Son Feed Mill in Wallingford. About half the group voiced their opposition to Barr’s support of Trump policies.

…. Meanwhile, where was Sen Paul last week?

Indivisible Bluegrass members were initially told by Paul’s staff that the senator would not be in Kentucky during the recess. As it turned out, he was. He spoke in Bowling Green, Fordsville and Louisville at small, invitation-only events that were not publicized beforehand. Paul is the architect of a House bill to repeal and replace the ACA. His proposed legislation would affect hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who are now covered under the ACA and would lose coverage if it is repealed.  It is unconscionable that he refused to hold a single public event last week to listen to his constituents on this critically important issue.

Items of Note
BE PREPARED:  Talking points for visits to MoC office are now posted on our website under Resistance Tools.

GENERAL MEETING: Indivisible Bluegrass will hold its second public meeting at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 3564 Clays Mill Road, Lexington.  Dr. Ian Norris, Associate Professor of Marketing Economics and Business at Berea College, will speak on how to talk across the political divide.

WRITE, CALL: Read our alerts for more information on our coordinated mail and phone campaigns. Before the election, MoCs got eight mail or phone contacts from conservatives for every one contact from a progressive. No wonder they felt empowered to obstruct Obama! Since the liberal uprising of the last two months, that has been reversed.  We must keep the momentum going. If all 400 Indivisible Bluegrass members wrote just two letters or made two phone calls a week, that would be 800 contacts!

REACH OUT: The Outreach Committee is looking for members to serve as liaisons with other resistance groups so we can coordinate activities for maximum impact.  The committee also seeks members to recruit more minorities and young people to Indivisible Bluegrass. Those interested may contact Harry Neack.