One of the things we've noticed about the marches is that many people who were never active before are engaging like never before. That was one of the themes in today's NPR program Here and Now about the way that the so-called 'left' is organizing in a real, grass-roots movement. We see introverts and people who have avoided conflict suddenly become activists.
The show featured a guest who was one of the authors of a wildly popular document "Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda." People who are new to politics in this way are seeking guidance and practical advice on what to do. They know that marches are not enough. They want to do more and to have an impact (It's worth noting that the server was down for a while due to traffic for people downloading the document.)
These are not just a lot of young impressionable people. Many are older men and women who are well-respected in their professions, with children and grandchildren, with friends and families who have people in them that have been labeled as "other" by the administration. The administration and its supporters are trying desperately to label the protests and the protesters as something other than what they are: ordinary Americans caught in an extraordinary situation.
These are not "paid protesters" or "professional protesters," but the kind of people we work with every day. And they are taking a personal risk in doing so in this environment. These are people who deliberate, who think, who read, who maintain good relationships. In general, these are people of good character. They are stepping out of their comfort zones because they see something happening that is not right. It's not just one thing, it's several things. A lot of the things they see will have an impact on them, their families, and the people they care for and about, with education, with health care, and with the ability to make a living in an economy where opportunities are available for everyone, regardless of background or identity.
Unfortunately, the host of the program insisted on using the term 'left' over and over. The author of the document tried repeatedly to correct him, with a more moderate "progressive." We think that even 'progressive' is too much of an ideological label. These people are pragmatists. Unlike many of the people in Washington, these people have to deal with the consequences of their own actions and the policies that are being made. They are in the year of living dangerously because they really have no choice. They have to do something or the consequences will be dire. It's not about being on the left. It's about being reasonable citizens and responsible Americans.