A new grassroots movement for a better tomorrow
by Georgia Logothetis @glogothetis
Like many in this state and across the country, the election of Donald Trump initially left me in shock and disbelief. I was heartbroken, and as reality set in, I became terrified for my country. Now, weeks later, the heartbreak has given way to acceptance and, well, anger.
Nothing has infuriated me more recently than people imploring me to “get over it,” claiming it’s “just politics,” or asking “why do you take it so personally?”
To paraphrase what the ancient Greek statesman Pericles said, just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean it won’t take an interest in you.
Politics is personal. Policy is personal.
Obamacare saved my mother’s life so she could see me get married last year. My cousin has served overseas, and his life depends on the whims and temperament of the Commander in Chief. My sister is a teacher in an overcrowded and underfunded Chicago Public School system, so when Donald Trump chooses someone like Betsy DeVos — an unqualified, billionaire Republican donor to be Secretary of Education — yes, it is personal.
In the weeks since the election, tens of thousands of people like me across the state have joined forces to fight for our families and our values over the next four years and beyond. Inspired by the national “pantsuit nation” movement — a Facebook movement which gained over 3.9 followers during the election — our Illinois group is growing by leaps and bounds every day.
Within days of the election, we organized in regions across the state. Now, nearly a month later, we have local chapters in dozens of regions across Illinois, from Chicago to Champaign. Meetups of the group are already standing-room only, with some meetups seeing 200 or 300 people showing up to take action. In six months at our current growth rate, if our movement were a city, it would be one of the largest cities in Illinois.
This is not a flash in a pan. It is not a fleeting burst of anger, and it is not solely a consequence of Trump’s win. What we are seeing at the grassroots level is a true awakening. People of all ages and demographics were jolted awake from their daily grind by the election and have been called to fight — not just against the Trump administration’s harmful policies but for policies that improve their local communities, their state and the country they love.
Importantly, our movement is not about building just another email list or adding to the cacophony of special interest groups. Rather, the core of our movement is citizen empowerment and grassroots lobbying with real results.
It’s why we’re soon releasing a unique set of seminars and interactive workshops on everything from Advocacy 101 (what works and what doesn’t when trying to contact lawmakers), The Art of the Argument (how to persuade others — even some Trump voters!), Policy in 60 Minutes (boot camps on complex policy issues like pensions, health care, and foreign affairs), Yes, You Can Run For Office and more.
It is not enough to bury our heads in the sand for four years and hope society will eventually get better. It is also not enough to rely solely on a small set of leaders hoping they alone can bear the enormous burden of pushing for progress at every level. We must all participate to ensure we have a better tomorrow.
As President Obama, has noted several times, “the most important title in any country is not ‘president’ or ‘prime minister.’ The most important title is ‘citizen.’”
We are going to spend the next four years and beyond proving that maximum true. We hope you join us.
Georgia Logothetis is a Contributing Editor at DailyKos.com and founder of Pantsuit Nation Illinois.