Like so many other Americans, I opened my eyes on Wednesday, November 9th, hoping Donald Trump was not elected as the 45th President of the United States.
I was deeply disappointed.
But it’s time to stop being angry. It’s not helping anything.
It’s time to write, to learn, to get involved. It’s time to ask questions and educate ourselves on how government works, if we aren’t sure.
I know I wasn’t. I barely remember the last three years of high school, so I can’t tell you if I learned about the government at all. I always said politics “weren’t my thing.” I didn’t care; I didn’t want to be involved. I just wanted to live in my bubble and go about my life, oblivious to what was changing around me. I was grateful for those who were fighting the good fight, but I didn’t want anything to do with it. It was scary, I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t want to look or sound like an idiot if someone actually cornered me into an intelligent conversation about politics.
But last year, I stopped caring if people were aware of my slim knowledge of politics. I started to ask questions—I had to. This time last year, I saw the potential for an American disaster coming together, the perfect storm of human ignorance and divine illumination.
I made a decision last November that I could not sit idly and helplessly by while the White House was filled with people I consider to be the ignorant leftovers of yesterday’s civil rights oppressors. They are super bugs of hatred and discrimination, the worst kind to infest the hearts and minds of the American people.
There is a fine line between fueling the fire with our anger and making our voices heard with it.
It’s easy to get swept up in the hype of resistance and protests. And it is alluring, yes, but is it effective? It can be, but we must be mindful. I did not jump at the chance to participate in the Women’s March. I believed that this issue had already been fought and won. Other than pay inequality, women had equal rights. But, I then realized there are still issues we face today, and I wanted to know what those were.
These are the questions we need to ask ourselves:
What are these issues? What are our local city council members and state representatives supporting, opposing, and generating for tomorrow’s agenda? Who represents me?
Making change in D.C. while living in mid-Michigan seems daunting, but I can get involved locally, and so can you. Here’s how:
Visit your city’s website, and find out who currently holds office and when they are up for re-election.
Take your concerns to these people. Oh, they aren’t listening? Then see who is planning to run against them at election time. Many of us have slacked for a long time in our involvement with our local, state, and national government. And this is one of the ways we got here, with a man-child for a president. It is time to be pro-active. We need to know who our state Congressmen are and how to be in contact with them, as they are the ones showing up in D.C. every month representing us.
I’m currently reading Becoming a Citizen Activist: Stories, Strategies, and Advice for Changing Our World by Nick Licata. It’s easy to feel empowered when you feel informed. It is inspiring to read about how everyday people like myself have been the catalysts for massive change at the local level, which has a direct and positive impact on thousands of other people and the environment.
Find out if there are local groups who are resisting the Trump agenda.
They are out there. These are groups that pull together to ask the hard questions at town hall meetings, teach us how to get our voices heard, and stay informed about current issues. We can all find strength in numbers. This is a great place to ask questions about anything that doesn’t make sense to you or things you don’t understand. I find it a safe place to ask “the stupid questions” I’ve been holding onto for a while.
I can’t say it enough.
It is time to educate ourselves. It is time to get re-involved. It is time to make our voices heard proactively the right way, starting where we are. It is not the time to share articles that trigger us with bait and switch headlines or un-researched, smart-ass memes that create more division. Call your representatives, spend time on their websites, find out what bills are being proposed, and find a local group to join, to support, and that will also support you.
I’m done being angry. I’m ready to work. Who’s with me?
Author: Dottie Fuller
Editor: Catherine Monkman