Wake up. They are not defeated.

Capitol Police were ready for the insurrectionists this time.

Saturday’s rally in support of the January 6 insurrectionists appeared to be a bust. Hardly anyone showed up and the press far outnumbered participants.

This apparent failure sent the left into spasms of laughter and derision.

Do not be fooled. This was not the failure so many of us think it was.

Organizers realized late in the week that the Capitol was prepared for them this time and advised people to stay home. They claimed the rally was a government trap to identify people who still support the efforts of the former president to regain the White House. Thousands of people obeyed and stayed away

We don’t know their true numbers, and we honestly don’t know what they’re up to. Look at your social media feed and you won’t see their plans because they don’t do it all on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Besides, you likely have blocked most of them to avoid having them troll you, or to resist the temptation to troll them.

While hiding them makes our lives easier, it also makes it more difficult to keep track of their lies and their plans, and that’s dangerous.

All day yesterday, I saw posts about how the planned rally was an utter failure. It was not. It was a practice run for the next one, which we’ll all think will be another bust, and for which we might not be as prepared. That’s what they’re waiting for.

These people are bullies, and bullies back down when people stand up to them. They don’t necessarily stay down, though. These people are waiting for us to look away.

When more than one-third of Republicans still believe the former president will be reinstated , and half of Republicans still think Biden lost the election, we have a much bigger problem than the attendance at Saturday’s rally would suggest.

Before you celebrate the demise of Trumpism, look at the polls and what these Republicans still believe. You can’t argue facts with them because they operate with their own set of “facts,” provided by the hard-right. They do their research on Fox (or Newsmax or whatever right-wing source they prefer)-approved web sites. They don’t believe mainstram news sources because their right-wing conspiracy sources tell them these news organizatons are “socialist.”

The former president and his people are quietly replacing election officials with people who will help them overturn the next election. They have worked for years to make us believe elections in this country are corrupt as they also have worked to corrupt the system.

The joke of a recount in Arizona was actually not a joke. When they normalize such outrageous behavior, they bring us one step closer to fascism and dictatorship. The first thing fascists and other dictators do is foster doubt in the validity of elections, and in this country, a third of voters have bought into their narrative.

We are not out of danger. These QAnon folks are a real and present threat to our nation. If we are to survive as a Democratic Republic, we need to wake up and pay attention.

Holding out hope for the party

Kitty Schaller holds my favorite sign from Saturday’s rally.

I was ready to make a very public exit from the Democratic party if Tom Perez won the chairmanship, but other events Saturday raised my hopes for the party.

It started with the precinct cluster meetings in the morning. I’m vice-chair of my precinct (45.1 in Buncombe County, NC), and in previous years, the chair, John Parker, and I had to scramble to get five people out to a meeting so we could have a quorum. We had to make calls and get people to the meetings so our precinct wouldn’t lose our “organized” status.

“Can you just stop by for a half hour while we vote on resolutions and elect officers?” we begged. We were able to keep organized, but barely.

Yesterday, instead of begging for people to show up, we had 16 people, several of whom were young and progressive. The others were from a retirement community, and I was afraid they might be conservative Democrats like the ones who killed several progressive resolutions last year, but they were old-style progressives who decided to become active again so we could take our party back from pro-corporate influences.

Last year a conservative banker convinced people to vote against a resolution calling for re-regulation of the banks and against a resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. He wouldn’t stop talking until he had the votes to defeat these two resolutions.

This year, the banker was nowhere to be seen and both resolutions passed unanimously, along with resolutions calling for an immediate raise in the minimum wage to $15, plus one calling for a single-payer health care system. In all, we passed nearly a dozen progressive resolutions, all unanimously.

I wrote two resolutions — the ones calling for the $15 minimum wage and Medicare for all — and most of the precincts passed them without amendments. One precinct leader asked if the minimum wage resolution could be amended to phase in the $15 over three to five years. I told them no. If you’re making $7.25 an hour, five years without a living wage is not an option. The raise is needed now, and in five years, inflation adjustments should have it up to about $20. People need to be able to feed, clothe and shelter their families NOW, not in five years.

“Well, these a pretty conservative people,” the precinct chair said.

“Those are the very people we need to outnumber to take the party back,” I said. “Go ahead and write your own resolution, but mine stays as is.”

These new party activists were Bernie Sanders supporters, determined to move the Democratic Party back to its FDR progressivism, back to the days when LBJ signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. They were inspired by the organization, Our Revolution, which is comprised of progressive fighters.

I left the precinct meeting with renewed faith that we can do this.

From there, I went to speak at an Our Revolution rally downtown. We had 500 people turn out to call for improvements to our health care system, from support of keeping and improving the ACA, to a public option in the marketplace, to single-payer.

I told my son’s story and reminded people that 45,000 Americans died the same way every year before the ACA took effect. We’re still losing 15,000 to 20,000 in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid.

What I saw yesterday was a determination to take the Democratic Party left again.

When it was announced that Tom Perez won the party chair election, we were encouraged by the fact that the election was close and that our candidate, Keith Ellison, is now the vice-chair and that Perez has vowed to work closely with him.

I am encouraged. We have to remember that the Republican right wing has worked since the 1960s to achieve what it has, and that in one election cycle, we progressives have made remarkable progress.

So, let’s follow the Indivisible playbook. Let’s take this nation back in the 2018 elections, despite gerrymandering, despite voter suppression laws. We are the majority. If we work for this, and most importantly, if we vote, we will not fail.