"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
When I started Palm Beach Indivisibles, I warned our founding members that we should prepare for several potential concerns that I had observed during the turmoil of the '60s. (Yes, the '60s: I am that old.) It was inevitable to me that we would see infighting, grandstanding, resignation, and exhaustion, especially as the hope for early victories confronted the recognition that our resistance would be largely dismissed. And indeed, over the six months of our activities, we have seen elements of all of these.
If infighting and grandstanding rise from an excess of passion, exhaustion and resignation reveal the loss of it. That loss is therefore the greatest worry; it is evidence a fading belief in the efficacy of resistance as a tool. The depressive effect can sink a movement. No doubt our opposition counts on that depression to silence us over time.
Victories are an antidote, but they are likely to be few and far between, and to be seen less in the style of the dramatic vote of John McCain against the BCRA than in a persistent and frustrating standoff between opposing forces.
It becomes essential for leaders of a resistance to reinvigorate it by identifying new actions, targets, and ideas that speak to the movement at large and keep everyone energized. The best of those new ideas focus on positive outcomes rather than simply negative ones, express clear goals that can be achieved in definable periods of time, and conceive actions that involve everyone in the movement, not just the talented or well-connected few. And nothing incorporates all of those characteristics better than an election campaign.
So, we at Palm Beach Indivisibles see a new landscape for resistance emerging as the two-year cycle of Federal politics rolls forward. All the members of the House of Representatives, 33 Senators, and 39 governors are on the ballots: here in Florida, that includes one Senator and our Governor. We plan to play a role. While we remain non-partisan, we define that to mean "not party affiliated" –– it absolutely does not mean non-ideological. We intend, within the limits of our tax-status boundaries, to promote those progressive issues that best define our ideals, and to the degree possible we will identify and promote candidates who support those ideals as well. Our group can't participate in campaigns, but we can encourage our members to do so individually as they see fit. And while we are not, and will not, become an arm of any political party, we encourage our members to join with and support any party that they believe best promotes their hopes and desires for a better nation. Engaged citizens shouldn't only resist; they should also "prosist" –– undertake positive and constructive action that pushes back against the worst intentions of our political foes. If anything, the best act of resistance is to take the seats of representation away from those we oppose.