Mark Skogman Senior Reporter Spectrum 360 Media
The Awake Pinellas Coalition conducted a well attended meeting entitled “Preparing For Trump” at the Main Branch of the St. Petersburg, Florida Library on the evening of Tuesday, 22 November, 2016. There were 114 people attending and these following organizations participated:
Service Employees International Union, Dream Defenders, American Civil Liberties Union, Council of American Islamic Relations, Food and Water Watch, Planned Parenthood, Fight for $15, American Promise, West Pinellas National Organization for Women, League Of Women Voters and the Sierra Club.
The meeting started with a brief overview of the Awake Pinellas process for this meeting, lead by Fight For $15 organizer Kofi Hunt. Then the group split into small groups to focus on specific issues with specific organizations. Finally the small groups reconvened into the large group and verbal reports were addressed to the group with individual announcements closing the event.
There was a lot of energy generated and a lot of animated conversation happened during and after this meeting. The theme “preparing for Trump” has engaged local citizens and their local organizations with a concern and urgency that has not materialized at this level in recent months or years, certainly not in the months before the recently completed General Election 2016. But now it is the post- election period with a political landscape that has changed a lot with the reality of a President- Elect Donald Trump. People that are politically center- left have been very surprised with the result of the Presidential election and have reacted with alarm at the election of Donald Trump and what will happen with a Donald Trump administration.
There is concern with what will be unleashed on January 20th, 2017 when a President that many people consider manifestly unfit and unqualified for office will take office as President with no experience in government whatsoever. Citizens, be it as individuals or organized into groups, are dismayed at the 700 plus hate incidents since the general election was conducted that have been documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/18/update-incidents-hateful-harassment-election-day-now-number-701).
Just four days ago, on Saturday 19 November, 2016, there was the meeting at the Ronald Reagan building (yes, the Ronald Reagan building) in Washington D. C. by the White nationalist National Policy Institute where Richard Spencer spoke to the assembled attendees. This resulted in a a loud “hail Trump” chant being shouted in the room that was disturbingly similar to the “Heil Hitler” mass chants of the Nazi era in 1930’s and 1940’s Germany with many people in the room actually imitating the Nazi salute as well. The subjects discussed by Spencer include the superiority of the White race and reportedly anti- Jewish rhetoric as well. This garnered national media attention. Reports document increased incidents of bullying in schools since the general election. https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2016/11/23
With this changed political atmosphere in the last two weeks, there is a lot of motivation to resist what is perceived by many citizens as a tolerance of and an increase in racism, sexism, misogyny, discrimination, Fascism and corruption. After the Thanksgiving break, the coming weeks will be sprinkled with multiple meetings by multiple organizations addressing a range of issues with individual action plans.
Directly after this meeting, a meeting was conducted by the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Tampa Bay in another location. Today, there is a “Not Now, Not Ever March Against Trump” in Tampa at Gaslight Park.
This weekend on Saturday, 26 November, there is a Water Protectors demonstration and direct action in North Florida against the Sabal Trail Pipeline (https://www.facebook.com/events/1652875315010/?active_tab=about).
Tuesday, 29 November will see an event by Fight For $15 in Tampa, Florida billed as a “National Day Of Disruption” (https://www.facebook.com/events/210983786011459/) with at least two other events ranging from a peace rally to an anti- Trump demonstration scheduled for the same day. In December there will be multiple events.
On Friday, 20 January, Inauguration Day, there is a scheduled general strike and a demonstration (https://www.facebook.com/events/1068785513242447/) and the very next day there is the Women’s March On Washington (https://www.facebook.com/events/692127054269714/). What will actually be accomplished in the time between now and Inauguration Day? Time will tell. Stay tuned, politicos.
Copyright (C) 2016 Mark A. Skogman All rights reserved.