Standing on the steps of our State Capitol with my two adult daughters, Cathy and Dr. Lisa Doggett, and my third-grade granddaughter, Clara, in front of 50,000 Texans, I had the privilege of addressing the recent Women’s March. Meanwhile, my wife Libby, who has just completed her responsibilities for early childhood education in the U.S. Department of Education, participated in the huge Washington D.C. march and rally. What an empowering day!
My message: We may be the Lone Star State, but we don’t stand alone in standing up for social justice and rejecting efforts by Trump and the Trumpets to drag us backward. I reject his anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican, anti-woman agenda. Working together, we can draw strength from one another to resist and overcome huge, pending obstacles.
Rather than attend the inauguration, I chose to support local efforts to tell President Trump: Respect, like Pennsylvania Avenue, is a two-way street. Instead of uniting our country, his unprecedented, unpresidential actions are further dividing it. By repeatedly taking the lowest road, he shows little respect for the highest office.
At marches around the world, including San Antonio, it was an inspiration to see so many joining together to express our determination to stand firm for social justice. My San Antonio staff joined the Mujeres Marcharán at the SA to DC Women March Against Hate that advanced from the steps of City Hall to Estella’s restaurant on the West Side. Groups that I have a history of working with, like RAICES, the Mission Democrats, Planned Parenthood, Unite Here and Fuerza Unida, gathered for this community display of opposition to the dangerous Trump agenda. But this involvement can only be the beginning of our march, not the end. If our involvement ended with these events, we would get nowhere.
We need to march and rally every day, not on the streets – though sometimes that is required – but in our daily lives. We need to be on the march at school, at work, in our neighborhoods, at group gatherings and at places of worship. This is no time for despair; it is a time for democracy.
Holding elected officials accountable is very important, but it is not enough. We may be effective on social media, but we also need to be more social—meeting those who have not always agreed with us, even with those who mistakenly thought they had discovered a shortcut to secure real change amidst the demagoguery and fake news of the past year. We have to bring along more as partners—to open closed minds and warm cold hearts. This demands the same level of commitment in this off year, as in an election year, because we cannot afford an off year.
Let us be creative, imaginative and persistent. One sign I saw read, “They thought they’d bury us but didn’t realize we were seeds.” With enough determination, our ideas will not only grow, they will thrive.
One way that I am continuing to work for change is by hosting a gathering with Congressman Joaquin Castro on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Daughters of Charity Services in support of the Affordable Care Act, informally known as ObamaCare. We must take every reasonable step to preserve families’ access to affordable health care.
While I will search for any potential areas of agreement with the new Administration, I will never, never back down from defending our values and advancing reasonable alternatives to the policies President Trump has proclaimed.
I welcome your comments. You can reach me downtown just off the sidewalk at 217 W. Travis, at one of the many community gatherings in which I participate in or at Lloyd.Doggett@mail.house.gov. If you want to receive email updates from me, you can sign up at https://doggett.house.gov/contact/newsletter.