Representative Joe Cardenas of the 29th District of California (my district). He was one of the Democrats barred from the meeting with ICE officials, a member of the Hispanic Caucus.
At the town hall meeting, many people expressed worry regarding the future of the ACA, how the law helps them when they were sick or injured and kept hospitalizations from bankrupting them. How Planned Parenthood helps them and others in low income areas, urban and rural both. And fears about ICE raids in our city tearing apart families over minor traffic violations. And Russian interference.
One constituent, an older Latino man, said “if I worked hard on rebuilding my car engine and a neighbor hops the fence and demands he fix it, I get angry and tell him to leave. Where’s the anger amongst Democrats? They should be getting angry!”
Rep Cardenas assured him he does get angry, but wanted to do something constructive with that anger.
The audience was overall calm. There were signs, but no shouting or screaming. Rep Cardenas is trusted to not make poor or misinformed decisions here. We clapped at criticisms, but there were few promises from a man who said “we are playing defense.” Ultimately, even as he says the solution is to vote, we citizens know the battle is on the ground right now. Push our supporters to get loud and raucous enough to raise a fuss and make press when injustice occurs. And continue conversation across the nation to get folks of all stripes back on the progressive path, and making their voices heard by those proud of their nation and what America promises everyone. That nobody should live as a second class citizen based on their sex, sexuality, ethnicity, identity, nation of origin, religion, or political affiliation. And everyone should be held accountable to the law. No matter how much money or influence they may have, or what letter stands beside their name.
The lesson I’m learning is change comes from the ground up. It’s the roots that support the tree.