An organizer I met years ago asked on Facebook: “Radical and organizer friends: Is it significant that the movement forming against Trump isn’t about a specific cause or platform, but in opposition to an entire government? Should we give ourselves permission to pretend that today was much more radical (though NOT more effective) than it actually was?”
My response was an abbreviated version of the following:
Marches-in my opinion are not effective. But the collective anxiety, anger, disapproval of Trumps policies (not the entire government) could only be physically manifested by well a manifestation or march. So, it speaks to how many people are active now. Sadly as you and I know from experience, everyone who voted for Obama 08 or believed in ‘Hope’, or marched on 1-21-17 didn’t stay and won’t stay involved in policy, details of the grind, calls to legislators on bills etc. Without ongoing collective meaningful action, things don’t change – but yesterday was a moment of doing something – anything with all those feelings.
I for one wasn’t going to march because I don’t think marches are particularly effective. But then I saw a post around 9 am on my Facebook newsfeed originally posted by Andrew Mayzak and shared by Jennie Ekdahl.
I decided to march after all for two reasons:
1. To show DJT that the numbers actively against his agenda are ‘yuge’ – since numbers really build or bust his ego.
2: For Hillary. In honor of her years of fighting for the very rights (and more) that are on the table agin and again.
The post read as follows:
“Can we talk about this for a minute?
This is a Yale-educated law professor, First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State who:
-Endured 25 years of smear campaigns
-Lost the Electoral College by 80,000 votes
-Won the popular vote by 3 million votes
-Attended her opponent’s inauguration
-Received no handshake from Trump
-Was booed by the crowd when she appeared
And goddammit… LOOK at her. Polished and confident, wearing white for the Suffragettes, her husband taking *her* arm instead of the other way around.
This is the godmother of New America, a rational, pragmatic, imperfect human being who was born 50 years too early for her gender to be a non-issue in an election.
While she missed the presidency, she arrived just in time to show us all, in unflinching terms, the deep undercurrent of sexist double standards in our society.
And in doing so, she taught generations of girls and women that yes, you DO matter and yes, you CAN do anything.
This is Hillary Clinton.
Lastly, a lot of people are left wondering: Now what?
Because there is no way to redirect all that action I suspect many if not most will return to what they were doing before – this time sinking their head underground even further – because no good news is coming anytime soon.
I find that there are four alternatives for effective action which luckily are non-mutually exclusive:
1: Love more – seems corny but really it’s a hard thing to do – it’s choosing to react with love towards a neighbor when they are aggravating, annoying or irresponsible because we don’t know what’s the circumstance and we can only control our reaction and what we put out in the world. Maybe one person changing their attitude a day isn’t much but – 2.9 million might. That’s the same as the number of marchers yesterday. This may seem like the easiest option of the four but appearances can be deceiving.
2. Volunteer – whatever issue made you put on your shoes and give up a Saturday, find an organization in your city that works on that issue and volunteer. Most advocacy nonprofits do amazing work with little money and little staff and could accomplish SO much more with a sting volunteer force. Imagine a 2.9 million volunteer influx!
The Santa Barbara Independent – our small town free paper – published a pull out catalog called ‘A Practical Guide to Action‘ which lists advocacy nonprofits by issue along with a small description and an info blurb. You can get online and find local organizations or if you live in a conservative area you can call national organizations and ask if they have small but local chapters.
3. Donate – If you can’t give of your time, maybe you can donate. Recurring donations even small ones have a big impact on small organizations.
4. Engage in local politics. It’s not going to be pretty and it’s not easy. But just like with any other endeavor worth undertaking, it so satisfying. The american rating of Congress is at an all time high and everyone abhors career polititians – or at least pretends to then reelects incumbents over 65% of the time – so then the question is do you trust yourself to take better decisions? If so, join a board or a commission. If not, are there friends or family members that you would trust? Encourage them to get invilved and support their process. Get involved in local campaigns. You get to meet likeminded people that are passionate, you get to learn a lot about politics and the process, and you’ll learn to appreciate our elected officials a little more after all that. Remember Donald Trump is an anomaly, usually presidents don’t come out of nowhere, they come from congress or the senate who come from state office who come from city councils who come from…you guessed it: boards and commissions.
So there ya have it. You decide what comes next!
I did see the Woman’s March website has these additional action steps for the first 100 days.