There’s been so much happening here in Rep. Paul Cook’s district during the congressional recess, we thought we’d do a round-up:
WHERE IS PAUL COOK?: The campaign initiated by Indivisible chapters in Victor Valley and San Bernardino Mountains has gone viral and was on the front page of the Feb 25 Hi-Desert Star. We’ll post a link when the electronic version becomes available. It’s also been featured nationally and internationally on Rachel Maddow, CNN, the BBC, and elsewhere.
YUCAIPA: The newest 8th District chapter of Indivisible held its first visit to Paul Cook’s Yucaipa office, with great energy and a turnout that surprised the organizers, who said, “We went during the publicly posted business hours and of course it was closed again. But we put up our ‘missing’ poster and had our event. We have only just begun!!” Watch their video.
JOSHUA TREE: #notmypresidentsday was marked by local participation in “Bad and Nasty” at the Sun Alley Stage, led by Tania Hammidi. Per the front page of the Hi-Desert Star, “Bad and Nasty stands for Bad Hombres and Nasty Women and is a nationwide movement….The movement spurred a series of DIY performance events held around the country and the world Monday that aimed to mobilize ongoing resistance to the current administration and channel their anger into art and activism.”
ACROSS THE BASIN: In that same edition of the Star were hard-hitting letters from Melissa Spurr and Eric Mueller, responding to Cook’s statement disparaging his constituents who are requesting he provide a town hall. As well, this week’s Star and The Desert Trail have been full of letters addressing hate and discrimination.
AND FROM THE FRINGE: In the wake of Cook’s statement Melissa has also started a Facebook action, “Notes from the Fringe”. Per Melissa’s description: “California’s 8th district representative, Congressman Paul Cook, has dismissed the large minority of voters who didn’t vote for him as ‘fringe local agitators’ with an ‘extreme political agenda’ with whom he refuses to meet in a town hall forum. Please join us in sending him a ‘Note from the Fringe.’ Let him know that we on the so-called ‘fringe’ are ordinary people with legitimate concerns….You don’t need to leave home to attend this event. To participate, you simply need to write a letter to Congressman Paul Cook letting him know just how you feel about being dismissed as a fringe element. Please invite anyone who may also want to participate. And feel free to fringe the edges of your letter and be as creative as you please. And please post photos of your letters if you don’t mind going public with them. They will serve to inspire and encourage others, and a large collection of them will help to underscore constituents’ frustrations with their lack of representation.” Find Cook office addresses here.
On Valentine’s Day 2017, approximately 35 people from the district 8 Indivisible movement rallied at Apple Valley Town Hall for a “Be My Representative” event at Congressman Cook’s office. The purpose of the rally was to demand that Congressman Cook plan a town hall meeting during the upcoming district work week, Feb. 20 – 24. Congressman Cook has voted in 100% support of Trump’s racist, sexist and un-American agenda despite a continuous avalanche of calls from Indivisible supporters and other concerned constituents. He has shown complete disregard for the voices and opinions of those constituents and has stated that he has no plans to convene a town hall. As part of the event, satirical Valentine’s Day cards had been made that called out Congressman Cook on his lack of response to his constituents. Cards had such sentiments as “Dear Valentine, I’m so disappointed. I’ve been calling. You haven’t been listening. I DEMAND A TOWN HALL MEETING!”. 37 of those cards had been made the day before in Joshua Tree at the Harrison House card-making event. Thanks to E. and D. for pulling that event together on such short notice.
At 2pm, we assembled with placards and signs in the plaza outside the Apple Valley Town Hall building. We marched in a circle and made some noise for about an hour. Then we all trooped into the lobby where we met with Matt, Paul Cook’s staffer. T.C. of Indivisible San Bernardino Mtns., delivered a very clear and well-informed statement of our demand for a Town Hall meeting as well as handing over the 103 Valentine Cards.
A Town Hall building bureaucrat then kicked us out of the lobby although we had every right to be there. Matt came out with us and listened to some very passionate responses to his lack of information on Congressman Cook’s intentions.
More rallies are planned at Congressman Cook’s office with the hope that more and more people will join, media attention will follow and we will “change the narrative” to focus attention on the fact that our Congressional representative refuses to represent us.
The following was sent from the Indivisible Guide team:
“A note for all of us who feel defeated after Sessions from the Indivisible Team: This is the long game. We are going to lose a lot. We are going to get good at losing. We are going to lose cabinet votes for terrible nominees. We are going to lose bills that are offensive and appalling. But while we are losing, something else is going to happen. We are going to keep raising our voices and slowly our representatives are going to start listening to us. We’ve seen it happen.
“It won’t happen because of next week’s call to action. It’ll happen over months, where you keep showing up, regularly. Then, we are going to start winning. It’ll sneak up on us. We won’t understand why we are winning. But it starts with losing in a particular way- where we raise our voices and call it out when we aren’t listened to, where we get close but not quite there.
“The first 100 days of a President’s term are the honeymoon period, the moment when he’s most likely to get his agenda enacted. Trump is spending his first 100 days mired in controversy, scandal, and backbiting – and that’s because you haven’t for a moment let anyone in Washington forget just how unpopular he is.
“Every time we change the narrative, every time we delay, every time there’s a newspaper story about a member of Congress avoiding his or her constituents, that’s a win. And it matters.
“You have already made history. You’ve delayed the confirmation of Trump’s cabinet picks longer than any time in recent history. You stopped the gutting on the congressional ethics office. You’ve made Republicans so nervous about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act that it’s been pushed further and further down the road. You caused an uproar of historic proportions over Trump’s Muslim ban and saved lives and reunited families in the process. You’ve inspired people who have never before taken action to make their voices heard and learn how to do things like check how their members of Congress voted and call them out for it.
“We’ll never even know about some of the victories – because those will be the fights that this Administration considered starting and then realized it couldn’t win.
“We’re in this together. Every visit. Every call. Every loss. Every win. That’s just what friends do. #StandIndivisible