Let’s Move the Statue of Liberty to Portland?

Good News from the Resistance: Maine has the oldest and second whitest (Go Vermont!) population in America. So when 400+ asylum-seekers landed in the state this past summer, mostly from the Congo and Angola, many — including Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling — recognized an opportunity. “If we have discovered the magic wand that will bring young families to Portland to help us build the next generation, why would we want to stop that, especially when it costs us so little money?” the mayor said.

Why Maine? No one knows exactly. Some recent arrivals said they’d heard through the grapevine that Portland was a safe, aging city that needed more workers. Others had heard there was a strong safety net.

After making their way by air to Brazil, then by foot and bus through Mexico to the Texas border, what the migrants found in Portland was a welcoming community. When the city set up hundreds of cots in the Portland Expo and school gyms, 1,200 residents volunteered to help. In Cape Elizabeth, there was a Welcome! 4th of July picnic. The Portland City Council voted to allocate $900,000+ of private donations for the new arrivals’ housing and basic needs. Non-profits like the New Mainers Resource Center helped find the migrants more permanent housing in Portland and nearby townsProsperity Maine – whose executive director Claude Rwaganje was born in the Congo — provides financial education, “the first step to achieving your American dream.”

Last week, Luc Mpangaje flew from his home in Texas to Portland, to thank members of the First Parish Church for helping him in 2010 when he’d been an asylum seeker fleeing Burundi, where he’d been jailed and beaten by police for his political views. He’d arrived in Portland with $80, speaking no English, without his family. Now a U.S. citizen living in Dallas, and reunited with his wife and 10-year old son Malcolm and 13-year old daughter Yasmine, Mpangaje works as an airport shuttle driver. He’s saving to move his family back to Portland.

“If you do something good for me, you’ll always stay in my heart,” Mpangaje said. “That’s why I keep coming back here – because I feel like I owe something.”

Mainers, listen up! Ditch Susan Collins, and you’ll soon be topping another list: Best State in the U.S. 

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Good People
Ezra Levin

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope during these dark times. Today, meet Ezra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible, the nationwide, pre-eminent anti-Trump resistance organization. 

In December, 2016, shortly after the election, Ezra and his wife Leah Greenberg wrote the Indivisible Guide, a Google Doc manual on how to create a grassroots movement to resist the GOP’s rule. As former Congressional staffers, Levin and Greenberg had witnessed the Tea Party’s rise, and its ability to stall and sometimes block Obama’s agenda. They knew that progressives had much to learn from the Tea Party’s tactics. With so many of us desperate to do something, the Indivisible Guide quickly went viral.

Remember all of those people showing up to challenge legislators at Town Halls, and flooding Congressional phone lines with calls? That was the work of Indivisible— now a national organization that supports 5,000+ Indivisible chapters across the U.S., with at least one chapter in every Congressional district. This year, co-executive directors Levin and Greenberg made Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Leaders.

What’s Indivisible’s plan to beat Trump and save Democracy? Read on…

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Ezra Levin

It’s Obama’s Fault!

Good News from the Resistance: Have you been keeping track of all the culprits the Occupant of the White House (OWH) has blamed for the recent mass shootings? Here’s a quick recap: the mentally ill (specifically, a shortage of institutions to house them), racist Hollywoodfake newsvideo games, the internet and social media.

And what about the looming recession? That’s a conspiracy between people who want to see the OWH lose in 2020, selfish Democrats, the media, and his own “clueless” Fed Chair– who said he won’t leave if the OWH fires him. Further demonstrating the boundless fantasy-based derangement of the party of Bullets & Blame, Ohio GOP state rep Candace Keller blamed homosexual marriage, drag queen advocates, legalized marijuana, parents who defend misbehaving students in school, and Obama for the Dayton mass shooting. And while we’re on the subject of Obama, guess whose fault it is that the White House air conditioning system isn’t up to par? Bingo! You got it!

Good News Trivia Quiz: Who remembers the 1970’s jazzy disco song, Pick Up the Pieces? It’s mostly instrumental, except for, “Pick up the pieces!,” being shouted a couple of times throughout it. Why is it that a song I never really liked, and certainly haven’t thought about in 40+ years, is now playing an infinite loop in my head? Because it so aptly explains what so many are doing in response to the non-stop barrage of OWH-created tragedies.

After the Mississippi ICE raid, a pizza shop, pastors, and several hundred outspoken Latinx marchers picked up the pieces. In Chicago, neighborhood volunteers are picking up the pieces by accompanying undocumented immigrants wherever they go. NFL players picked up the pieces in L.A., by posting $50,000 bail for a student who had been jailed by ICE for three months. Lady Gaga picked up the pieces in Dayton, Gilroy and El Paso; The King of Sitcoms, Chuck Lorre, picked up the pieces with yellow IMAG hats; California professors picked up the pieces with see-saws; Brunswick, Maine picked up the pieces by hiring a cultural broker.

Democrats, listen up! We’ve got a campaign slogan and theme song for our presidential nominee: Imagine this playing as thousands of balloons are released from the ceiling at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The Good News? The band that sold over 1 million copies of Pick Up the Pieces is still touring. The Bad News? Average White Band is in serious need of a name change. Guys, you’ve got 11 months to do it. 

Yes, there’s even more Good News from the Resistance:

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Good People:
Errin Douglas

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope during these dark times. Today, meet Errin Douglas, Staff Assistant to Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. Full disclosure: I’ve known Errin’s family for years. With a fierce, big-hearted mother and a brainy, indefatigable big sister as role models, it came as no surprise that Errin landed her Dream Job right out of college. 

What’s it like to work for a member of The Squad? What have been her “pinch me I can’t believe this is my job” moments on Capitol Hill? Read the Good News …

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Errin Douglas

We’re Still Showing Up

Good News from the Resistance: Take this quiz: Name 5 Trump-related dramas (typically Twitter-induced) that got extensive press coverage the first half of July. Hard to do, right? There are just too many stories, changing too quickly. Yet, there’s one sticky issue that won’t go away: immigration. Our Racist-in-Chief is relentless in his efforts to rid the U.S. of all non-white immigrants. The white ones? He’s okay with those. Our forward-thinking Sexual Predator-in-Chief doesn’t want to limit his dating pool once Melania leaves him.

Here’s the thing: Contrary to predictions made after the 2017 Women’s March, we have not become inured to “the new normal” of racism and hate. Spiteful Executive Orders and callow Tweets still rouse us to action. In a weird way, the object of our resistance is protecting us from resistance fatigue, by handing us such a diverse menu of options. Does the mental health crisis in immigrant detention centers get you to call your member of Congress? If not, then perhaps the spike in children being separated from their parents at the border will. Do the threatened ICE raids motivate you to have that conversation with your neighbor about why she should register to vote? If not, then maybe the vitriol he’s lobbed at The Squad will. Our resistance has not fizzled. Rather, it’s become more creative, targeted, and diverse. It’s now big enough and strong enough so that when some of us need to take a break to recharge, others are ready to jump in and carry the torch.

Yes, we’re still showing up. At the beginning of July, tens of thousands of us rallied across the U.S. to #ClosetheCamps, and two weeks later we showed up again, at 600+ Lights for Liberty events protesting ICE detention centers. Japanese-Americans who were interned during WWII and #JewsAgainstICE are showing up in force with the message, “never again.” Latter-day Saints are protesting poor treatment of immigrants, whom they consider like-minded “pioneers”; a 90-year old nun got arrested in D.C., along with 70 of her Catholic colleagues. And during the World Cup, a group of French soccer fans joined the resistance by chanting “F*ck Trump” during a live Fox TV broadcast.

In Iowa, 50 moms took over Senator Joni Ernst’s office to protest the treatment of immigrant kids. In Phoenix, an abandoned school was turned into a Welcome Center for asylum-seeking families.. In Nashville, when ICE showed up for a father and his 12-year old son, their neighbors formed a human chain to protect them. Kindness keeps breaking through.

What do we have to show for our work? A recent poll shows Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as the country’s most disliked Senator, followed closely by Susan Collins (R-ME). In 2020, McConnell will have a strong opponent, and Collins just announced she may be retiring. States are passing laws ensuring voting rights and immigrant rights. ICE’s highly publicized sweep that was intended to roundup 2,100 undocumented immigrants netted 35 people. Lawmakers representing the RNC’s host city passed a resolution condemning Trump’s “racist and xenophobic” language, adding that it will not be tolerated in the city. And critics of the Administration’s immigration “policies” are winning the on-line messaging fight.

At the same time, large swaths of Trump’s immigration agenda are being held up in courts. This week, a judge issued a preliminary injunction against new restrictions that would have stopped most asylum-seekers coming into the U.S. via Mexico. His attempt to deny bail to asylum-seekers who have been jailed was quashed. And don’t forget –  the Supreme Court ruled not to allow a  citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Trump was ready to fight that, too, but ultimately backed down. Public pressure is likely to have had something to do with his decision. That’s you, that’s me, that’s us.

Yes, there’s even more Good News from the Resistance:

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Won’t You Be a Helper?

Good News from the Resistance: It’s been a horrible few days for Good News Seekers. Which means it’s time, once again, to turn to one of our favorite philosophers for insight: Mr. Rogers, who told us, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You always find people who are helping.'” Now’s the time for each of us to step up to be a Helper. Our voices matter.

This morning we reached out to Congressional aides to ask what we can do. Our immediate course of action is simple: 1) Send a message of support or call everyone on The Squad to say thank-you, we’ve got your back, 2) Call or send a message of support to the 13 GOP lawmakers who condemned the Racist-in-Chief’s remarks, and 3) Call or send a message of outrage to the 13 GOP lawmakers who supported the Racist’s remarks.

Don’t have time to send 30 notes or make 30 calls? Then check the lists to see if there is a lawmaker from your district, and contact them. If not, figure out what you feel most strongly about — supporting The Squad, thanking the 13 GOP Lawmakers with a Spine, or condemning the 13 Super Duper Extra Special Evil Racists. Just do something.

We’ve made it easy. Click on the link of the person you want to contact, and all the info you need will be there.

To send a message of support to each member of The Squad: (Note: Preferred method is to send a postcard or letter unless you live in the Congresswoman’s district; staff answering phones and email are being overwhelmed).

Ayanna PressleyAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Ilhan Omar; Rashida Tlaib

To send a message of support to GOP lawmakers who condemned Trump’s remarks:

Kelly Armstrong (R-ND); Troy Balderson (R-OH); Tom Cole (R-OK); Joni Ernst (R-IA); Mike Gallagher (R-WI); Bill Huizenga (R-MI); Will Hurd (R-TX); David Joyce (R-OH); Lisa Murkowski (R-AK); Pete Olson (R-TX); Rob Portman (R-OH); Marco Rubio (R-FL); Michael Turner (R-OH)

To send a message of outrage to GOP lawmakers who supported Trump’s remarks:

Ralph Abraham (R-LA); Jim Banks (R-IN); Bradley Byrne (R-AL); Dan Crenshaw (R-TX); Steve Daines (R-MT); Sean P. Duffy (R-WI); Lance Gooden (R-TX); . Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC); Andy Harris (R-MD); James M. Inhofe (R-OK); Jim Jordan (R-OH); Ralph Norman (R-SC); Scott Perry (R-PA)

Extra Credit: Forward this post to family and friends, especially those who live in districts represented by GOP lawmakers listed above. Politicians care first and foremost about getting re-elected. They need to hear from their constituents.

Sign Up. Show Up. Never Give Up.


Good People:
Colby Swettberg

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope during these dark times. Today, meet Colby Swettberg, CEO of Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM), an organization that  brings stability, love, and a sense of belonging to young people in foster care. This fall, Colby will be taking Silver Lining’s award-winning mentoring model nationwide, teaching other organizations to do what SLM does so well. Talking to Colby was a hopeful diversion to the news coming from the detention centers at the border. The Good News …

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Colby Swettberg

Let’s Get Patriotic!

Good News from the Resistance: There’s nothing our Baby Blimp president hates more than losing. So while he’s readying for our nation’s 243rd birthday by trotting across the globe tickling the palms of dictators, we’re celebrating the 4th by highlighting a few of his notable losses.

So let’s get patriotic, and make a game of this. Which of the following losses do you think provoked the most spirited Impotus Temper TantrumLosing  a) his Hollywood star; b) the ability to keep his financial records a secret; c) large swaths of his Wall in Arizona, New Mexico and California; d) his presence on Ravelry (a popular knitting site); e) big media’s attention; f) his Suckup-in-Chiefette; g) his truth-telling pollsters; h) the NRA’s political director, i) his whip-carrying Chief of Protocol; j) private vetting documents detailing dirt on his talented staff; k) the opportunity to meet Megan Rapinoe; l) immigrant detention centers run by his private sector cronies; m) his faith in baby boy Trump Jr. being able to drink safely; n) a defense secretary who claimed his son was acting in self-defense when he beat his mother unconscious with a baseball bat.

Extra credit: Which of these losses do you imagine our Racist-in-Chief took hardest? a) A “very fine person,” a.k.a. the Charlottesville neo-Nazi murderer, being sentenced to life in prison; b) 72 Philadelphia police officers taken off street duty for writing racist Facebook posts; c) Richmond renaming an iconic boulevard after Arthur Ashe.

Which is all to say, when bad things happen to bad people, it’s all good.  Yes, there’s even more Good News from the Resistance:

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Rikers, the Blimp and the Queen

Good News from the Resistance:  Pelosi continues to resist the  “I”-word, yet last week she uttered the “P”-word. Which got us dreaming about a Future-Convict-in-Chief, and wondering what’s up with his incarcerated former BFFs: Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. How are those good ‘ole Swamp Dwellers doing?

Attorney Michael Cohen is having the time of his life in “one of the cushiest lock-ups in the country,” where inmates are treating him like a celebrity, pumping him for details about his former boss and his intimate knowledge of porn stars. The Orange Grifter’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort? Not so lucky. He’s being transferred to Rikers – a prison infamous for violence and inmate abuse. At least he’ll have a private room, which should give the ostrich jacket-wearing dandy plenty of time to pump out a memoir. Suggested working title? My Personal Journey From Trump Tower to Rikers.

Meanwhile, the Grifter-in-Chief continues to live it up, checking off items on his Vacation Bucket List. Although, last week’s trip wasn’t quite as bodacious as he’d hoped. Hats off to the Brits! The Carnival of Resistance began before our National Embarrassment even touched ground. As Air Force One was landing, it was hard for the tiny-handed, stubby-fingered leader of the Free World to miss the giant penis and message “Climate Change is Real” mowed into a field below his plane. Talk about creativity.

From the 16-ft. tall farting presidential robot, to Larry the Downing Street Cat, the Resistance was out in full-force, with posters so good they put Americans’ to shame. Tensions rose when a knife-wielding Trump supporter yelled, “I’m going in!” and slashed the resting Baby Trump Blimp, but it was nothing a little duct tape couldn’t fix, and all ended well when the blimp took flight over Parliament, and the amateur surgeon was arrested.

While the Divider-in-Chief is trying his best to break the U.S. government, in London he was pure uniter, doing what no British politician has been able to do: bring together conservatives, liberals, and royals . Everyone snubbed him. Conservative Boris Johnson and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn both refused a meeting; Princes Harry and William refused him photo-ops; Nasty Meghan remained indisposed. And oh, what we would have given to be a fly on the wall when the Infant-in-Chief learned that his carriage ride with the Queen had been nixed because of the protesters. Hint to Melania: When you get back to NYC, put on a gown and a crown, squeeze your husband into a tux, and take a carriage ride around Central Park.

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Good People:
Determined Diva Julia Mejia

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope during these dark times. Today, meet Determined Diva Julia Mejia, a social justice activist in Boston. She is currently running for Boston City Council At-Large. When I caught up with Julia, she was coming from a meeting of the city’s leaders of color at the Museum of Fine Arts. The museum is under fire because of multiple instances of overt racism experienced by black and brown high school students on a recent field trip…

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Determined Diva Julia Mejia