EVANSTON, Illinois — Twelve days after Donald J. Trump stunned the world with a decisive victory to win election as the 45th President of the United States, over 400 Chicago Democrats gathered Sunday in a collective “shiva” — a Jewish term for mourning — as Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) began her “Post Election Community Meeting” with “a kind of opening prayer of sorts.”
Quoting from a rabbi’s Facebook post, the 72-year old Schakowsky urged the crowd to resist the Trump administration and fight.
“As Judaism teaches us, after seven days of Shiva, we stand up. We emerge from the dark, we don’t have to accept, we don’t have to run. But we stand up! We were taught that the righteous do not complain of the darkness, but rather create light. Today, we are given to create light. And we do so as resistance and we fight, and we fight, and we fight –for good, for love and for justice. Congregation, say Amen! Welcome to the resistance!”
State Sen. Dan Biss (D-Evanston) echoed Schakowsky: “We can be sad, we can be heartbroken, we can be angry, we can be scared, we can be frustrated, but we have to leave room for defiance. Because defiance and resistance is what will get us out of this, but will get us out of this stronger … willing and passionate and progressive defiance will give us a better world soon.”
Schakowsky and Biss were joined by four other Illinois Democrats: Chicago 48th Ward Committeewoman Carol Ronen, who moderated the event; State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), State Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview), and Cook County Board Commissioner Larry Suffredin.
The gathering was held at a Unitarian Church in the heavily “progressive” city of Evanston, IL, which is home to Northwestern University, and where Schakowsky and her husband, Democratic operative Robert Creamer, reside.
Creamer, a convicted felon who was recently exposed by investigative journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas as directing a scheme to incite violence at Donald Trump rallies, was at the post-election meeting wearing a baseball cap and talking to people.
“This is a way for people to talk about where they’re at, rally together and get hopeful,” said one woman with a clipboard as she took names and emails for future events. “To help them keep fighting the good fight.”
Biss recalled election night, when President-Elect Donald Trump was victorious: “At about three in the morning, I went upstairs to my children’s bedroom and I looked at Theodore’s peaceful, sleeping 6-year old face and Eliott’s peaceful, sleeping 8-year old face, and I asked myself: What are we going to do?’ And I started to sob.”
“The next morning on the street, I saw a woman wearing a hijab, with her small daughter. My stomach was in knots, but I asked myself ‘what have we told you about whether we want you and appreciate you and value your safety?’”
The 39-year old State Senator then took aim at President-elect Trump’s new chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon (on leave as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News: “And that weekend, when Steve Bannon was appointed to one of the most powerful positions in the White House, I just asked myself, ‘Do we laugh, or do we cry, or do we give up?’ We. Never. Give. Up.” The audience cheered.
Suffredin doubled down on creating bigger government, exporting Illinois’ “blue bubble” to neighboring states, and protecting illegal immigrants.
“It means continuing to fight to make sure those who are undocumented can get health care and that we can keep them within our systems. It means not allowing ICE to tell our Sheriff that they want us to detain people based upon their word, not the word of a federal judge.”
Suffredin made clear the Democratic Party’s efforts to take over other states: “Now we live in a blue bubble. Our blue bubble makes sense. And it’s something that we gotta spread to other places. We tried to spread it to Iowa, we tried to spread it to Wisconsin. It didn’t work. But once we stabilize our own local situation, we’re back to doing missionary work in those other states. And one state I want to make sure we are in next time is Indiana!”
Residents took turns at the microphone, offering a wide range of suggestions. A Northwestern University professor suggested trying President-elect Donald Trump for treason after hearing an NPR report where, she claimed, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had cited “evidence Russia manipulated our election” with the aid of the Trump campaign.
Another resident demanded “no compromise—not even an inch!”
The Facebook page for the event showed over 700 people “interested,” but the location could only handle 400. Half an hour before the gathering, organizers reached capacity and closed the doors, leaving people literally outside in the cold.