Jonathan Kraut: Grassroots rallies: a new unity


This past Saturday the magic that was created with a Trump victory descended on our little valley in an unexpected and certainly unintended way. Well over 100 fired-up and focused people packed into the Vincenzo’s Pizza on Lyons Avenue to discuss reshaping Santa Clarita’s political future.

Might I add the magic, perhaps considered by some as “black magic,” brought many of our neighbors together with a common purpose: to take back our town from the harmful ideologies and slanderous tactics fostered by the Trump campaign, and now the Trump presidency.

The Trump phenomenon has awakened the often-silent and passive American public. More than 700,000 women participated in the Women’s March in downtown L.A., and easily half a million marched in D.C.

In Santa Clarita and in many towns small and large there are groups forming to identify and support candidates and policies that reflect the better nature of American society and its compassionate people.

It was clear the gathering was not interested in attacking the conservative right, with whom many Democrats and progressives may disagree but respect an honest difference of opinion.

Rather, the meeting was the first step toward mobilizing a local response by developing grassroots activism and participation.

The common thread among the crowd was to counter the reckless, narrow-minded and indiscriminate policies being implemented by a billionaire bully. The strategy was to develop support and influence for more moderate and respectful thoughts, speech and methods.

To many, our new president seems to be bent on intimidating his way into trade wars, alienating allies, demeaning women and Muslims, and dismantling many of the federal protections we now enjoy.

Most present seemed to know that Trump will be Trump and that he will continue to slander, malign and judge anyone who does not buy into his leadership or his wild messages.

The mood nevertheless was optimistic and focused on forming alliances and support with local leaders and candidates who can help soften Trump’s call to arms and moderate both the figurative and literal building of walls around America.

Although mostly filled with Democrats, Republicans were represented in the room and it was clear President Trump never had their votes. A common notion included that Trump’s wildness does not represent the values and the interests of the America we know, whether those values are right, left, or center.

I believe the economy, the environment, international harmony, and respect for women and people of color are weakened unless more mature and tempered approaches influence us to embrace long-term thinking, while taking on the restoration of respect for humankind and religious dignity.

Unlike the Tea Party movement that held Congress hostage to ideological absurdity and was against everything and anything Obama, this group pledged to be respectful, polite, and only fight the issues that need fighting.

Trump’s executive order putting a five-year ban on former U.S. officials from being foreign lobbyists, for example, was considered by many as appropriate and wise.

I was impressed – a lesser body would have gone for blood and would want all-out political chaos and obstructionism.

Good friend and co-organizer Henry Knebel put it simply: “We just have to get out and meet our neighbors, ask them what kind of America they want, and help them get involved in creating it.

“We can have an impact now with our neighbors and our local officials, in the election two years from now, and again four years from now. We don’t have to all agree on everything, just on some important things, and focus on those.”

Stripping away powers entrusted to the EPA that was chartered to protect the environment means more profits for the ultra wealthy. Repealing the Affordable Care Act, which gives the middle class access to health insurance, restores the old regimen where only the very poor, union members, and the wealthy get medical coverage.

Deregulating predatory business practices makes us all victims of scams, fraud and manipulation by Wall Street and the big banks.

Without a counter to some of Trump’s policies and rhetoric, interest rates, gas prices, the cost of food from Mexico and imports from China are going to rise, and killer inflation is but a few years away.

Without local political participation and congressional balancing, Trump’s polices are posed to make the rich richer on the backs of everyone else. Clearly Trump is building dead ends and not roads to a better America.

Contact any local political or social interest group and ask that your thoughts and beliefs be represented with others in the group. Make America humble again.

Jonathan Kraut directs private investigations and private security firms, is a published author, Democratic Party activist, and SCV Interfaith Council member. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.

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