The group's already assembled when I arrive, late, and peek through the doorway, a group meeting in a private room in a bar. They're talking loudly, laughing, drinking wine and writing... postcards?
They look up and I have to laugh. I know half the people in the room.
They're teachers at my kids' schools, writers in my SCBWI writer group, regular customers at the bookstore where I work. I have a weird thought that here I've been interacting with these people all along and had no idea what their political opinions were, that they even knew each other, never mind that they've been meeting up regularly since the Women's March in DC. Actively resisting. Making phone calls for candidates, raising money for progressive causes, working on schedules to drive voters to the polls.
An agenda on the table shows that they'll be "decompressing and venting" for 20 minutes and then, a visit from Rick Neal, a Democratic candidate for Congress hoping to win the primary next Tuesday so he can run against incumbent Steve Stivers in November.
I am All In with this group already (not with the venting part. I am tired of venting) but with the ordering a glass of wine and grabbing a stack of postcards to fill out part. The gist of the postcard (which I copy out multiple times) is a reminder to vote on May 8 in the primary election because the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted likes to remove people from the roll if they don't vote in every election. (Not cool, Jon Husted!)
I drink my wine. I write my postcards. I chat with the women around me while they decompress and vent. Did you hear what [fill in the blank with the name of a corrupt Administration member] did today?!
Yeah, oh yeah. I heard.
And then Rick Neal strides into the room. He tells his story. How he's never run for office before because he's been busy being in the Peace Corps and fighting humanitarian crises overseas and standing up for marriage equality in Ohio and raising his two adopted little girls with his husband. How angry he was at the tone of the new administration, their attack on healthcare and their huge tax break for the wealthy that will widen the income inequality gap even more.
And how ticked off he is at our congressperson, Steve Stivers, who's not only standing by while Ohioans are hurting, but who is refusing even to meet with his constituents. I squirm a little in my seat because I voted for Mr. Stivers, one of the dumber things I've ever done in my life-- throwing away a precious vote on a guy who later called me a paid agitator.
Okay, he didn't say that to my face. (Because he doesn't meet with his constituents, unless they also happen to be big donors.) But he did say it in the Columbus Dispatch.
I could vent more about this, but, noooooo, I am past the venting stage. I am in the Action stage. The stage where I drink wine and write postcards and attend meetings and make plans to campaign for the guy who --even if he can't take Steve Stivers down-- can at least give him a solid run for his money.
The guy, Rick Neal, has a plan to make healthcare affordable for all, ideas on how to combat the opioid crisis, (Ohio is currently ranked number three in opioid deaths out of all states), how to improve education, and how to make pancakes.
Just checking to see if you are still reading. Yes, Rick Neal can make pancakes.
I'm voting for him on May 8th so the Secretary of State Jon Husted won't remove my name from the voting roll. If you happen to live in Ohio, I highly recommend that you do so too.
But first, watch Rick Neal make pancakes.
And if you live in the Columbus area, come visit the next ReSisters meeting. We'll drink wine and write postcards and decompress together.