RESISTANCE US RADIO – EPISODE I
This is Resistance U. S. Radio. Resist and progress. I’m your host Stu Chuang Matthews and I’m here with my co-conspirators Jax and Linda.
Linda: Hi there.
Since this is our first podcast I’ll just say a little bit about myself. I am a happy father of a little boy and a proud husband. I live in Nevada county California. I work as a software developer. And every day my mind is on politics sociology and the future. I’ve been involved in activism for a long time including some past involvement in nonviolent civil disobedience.
Right after the election in which Trump miraculously won (but it wasn’t that surprising to me, so I was kind of preparing for a little bit), right after the election my wife and I decided we had to become politically involved again. So I started this group called Resistance US which began as a series of meetings to talk about what we do about Trump and his authoritarian and hateful tendencies.
At these meetings I met Linda and Jax and a bunch of other people. Linda and Jax and a few other people of have stuck around and we’ve planned three different protests, two around our local congressman, Doug LaMalfa, who represents, or misrepresents, California district one in the US House. We view him as a collaborator with Trump so we’ve been going after him. Since those three protests other groups have sprung up, mostly in the Indivisible movement, and they have a lot of people in them. And so we haven’t seen the same need for us to be the only ones, or the main ones, doing the protest planning because they’ve been doing a great job around the town halls and such.
So we’ve kind of regrouped and said, “Okay what’s our role now?” And we decided that we wanted to be the voice of the left and make sure that this movement didn’t move too far back toward the center and toward compromise, because we see that that’s part of the problem that got us here; so, we call it holding the left.
About a month ago I heard one of the most recent This American Life episodes in which they talked about the recent history that delivered Trump to our doorstep, really starting in 2014 in the mid-term elections when all the conservatives were so fired up about Obama. And they used a case study of this guy David Brat, in Virginia who unseated Eric Cantor the speaker of the house which was seen as a really massive upset. And one of the things that really struck me about this race was that this guy, David Brat –he’s, you know, your kind of stereotypical misguided Ayn Randian economist, and, so he was trying to nerd out about his incorrect economic ideas, but he would go out on the campaign trail and all people wanted to talk about was immigration, and specifically people were fired up about giving amnesty to the children of undocumented immigrants. And this guy David Brat would get on talk radio, you know Rush Limbaugh, or I don’t know if he would get on Rush Limbaugh, but I think he was on Hannity and maybe Ann Coulter, I forget exactly which one of these shows he was on, but they would keep talking about immigration over and over and it just it showed, first of all, the power of talk radio, the power of these ideas getting out there. But it also showed just how much hate there is in the American right, and in the general population even. So we came together as a group, Resistance US, and said, maybe this is something we can do, not to the extent of a Rush Limbaugh where he’s making up incorrect facts, well, I can’t call them facts… he’s making up these myths and repeating them over and over. So we’re not going to stoop to that level and make up facts; and were also not going to hate whole groups of people based on the color of their skin or their religion, or stereotypes. But we can keep talking about these issues and talk about them in serious terms, and hold our elected officials accountable for the positions that they take. So that’s what we’re doing. The purpose of this podcast is to fire up the left and also to shift the narrative of what is good enough for the progressive movement in this country, and really say that, you know, if for instance the Democrats put out a centrist candidate who supports fracking, or someone who’s ten or twenty years behind the public on some important social issue, we’re going to say that’s not good enough and hold them accountable. So, we are all in Nevada county California and we want to be especially relevant to local people here, and so most of our guests that we want to have on will be local guests, and every episode should have it a guest on it. They’ll be local guests talking about mostly national topics — topics such as climate change, sex work, drug policy, universal basic income, Israel/Palestine, healthcare, education… And, since I wrote those seven or eight down, I’ve already thought of several more that I would add to that list; so, we’ll have no trouble thinking of things to talk about.
So now that you’ve heard a bit about what we’re going to be up to, I’m going to shift to a conversation with my co-conspirators Jax and Linda.
I’ll start with Linda. Linda can you tell us why you are politically engaged now?
Sure, thanks Stu. Political activism is a relatively new endeavor for me. I would say that in the past my activism was typically limited to volunteering for social justice and environmental causes. Politically I would say that I was active to the extent that I tried to be an informed voting citizen and never miss an election.
But things really shifted for me, as I think it did for many people, after the recent presidential election. I was blind-sided, I think, by the outcome, and devastated not only for the most obvious reason, but because it was suddenly clear how out of touch I must have been with what was happening politically and socially in the country.
Clearly, the progressive micro culture bubble in which I had spent most of my life, had skewed my sense of reality it seemed.
So, it was not long after the election, I would say, that I decided that wallowing in despair, crying, and complaining, weren’t really helping. Whining wasn’t going to make things right and lead to the kind of change that I wanted to see, ultimately.
For the first time really, I would say that, you know that over-used saying about being the change that you want to see in the world, it really spoke to me, and I decided that I wanted to contribute any extra time and energy that I had to resisting this new administration whenever policies seem detrimental to the American people. And I just basically came to the conclusion that, or I always knew that, complacency and inactivity are tantamount to acquiescence. But I felt like I really wanted to start living that way. So, for the well-being of the planet, and its community of people, I just really want to do whatever I can now to try to influence change and hold our elected officials to at a higher standard of public service.
That’s great I really appreciate that you’ve been getting involved. Would you say that it’s made you feel any different, like emotionally spiritually, energetically to be actively involved now.
Well, I think that I set high standards for myself, in the sense that I feel I’m never doing enough. Just.that day to day life does get busy, and so I think that I end up doing less than I’d really like to do, so I’m a little bit hard on myself about that. But I think, ultimately, you know, when I am feeling like I’m being a bit more active, I do feel a sense of a little bit more satisfaction in that, at least I feel like the griping that I do, you know, is backed up by a little something, not just making empty complaints. So it does help make me feel a little bit more emotionally, better anyway.
Yeah well, we all do what we can and we’re trying to do this on top of whatever we already had going on November nineteenth, or whatever the day before the election was.
And Jax, what would you say your vision for the future is?
Well, I didn’t know that Linda was gonna be so articulate and wish that I had something a little more prepared.
Well, it’s not my usual M.O., so I can see why you were surprised.
By the way, she’s always very articulate.
It’s a lie; fake news.
So I had actually put this question to my husband and I’m remembering some of his response and he, like Linda, does a good job of sort of putting to words the ideas in my head that I am having a harder time articulating. But I remember him mentioning that it’s really important for the left to start appealing to people’s baser instincts, and by that he meant, concerns that we all share. And he pointed out that it’s very painfully obvious that HRC tried the tactic of, you know, what you were talking to earlier about truth; that she’d at least try to correct forty-five when he would start spouting his nonsense, and that really didn’t seem to have the intended effect; and so his idea might, I kind of agree with him in the sense of, not just trying to appeal to, you know, college intellectual levels, but really trying to, as you say firing up the base which is really more trying to speak to everybody and trying to figure out what issues that we have in common: human rights, civil rights, ACA…, which is a lot of what we’re seeing the indivisible groups do — taking on real broad issues that really appealed, really even across the aisle, as they say, and not simply… you know, it shouldn’t matter what your politics are you don’t even have decent health care; so I really appreciated his point of view really kind of trying to broaden the appeal of the left, and I’ve always thought that progressives do that naturally –always sort of. trying to make things better for everybody. So yeah, and there’s plenty that, I don’t know, I even reach towards the politics of the Occupy Wall Street folks and sort of have that 99% mentality of, you know really, we’re all in this together, and continuing to get that message out there, and getting people inspired really, in their own self-interest — the interests of the planet are their self-interest — and kind of helping get people on board with those ideas I guess now. Like I said, I forgot that we had homework and I apologize.
That is perfectly alright. So it sounds like we can move from just fighting for people on their behalf to fighting for people with their participation.
That’s exactly what I’m trying to say, thank you. Again, see you do what Linda and Aaron do for me – put in words, exactly what I’m trying to spit out, yes.
No, it was great; it’s great. Well this is just our introductory podcast. I hope it sounds interesting to you. Like I said, we’re going to be having some guests on. We’re going to be pushing these out, at least to start, once a month, because we all do have families and jobs. You can contact us if you have any ideas for shows. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our website is resistance.us.org. Thanks for listening.