Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport
OK, so you’ve Marched on Washington. What’s next? A simple three-step guide to fighting for progressive causes and resisting the Trump Administration
The Women’s March on Washington was AWESOME and a wonderful step, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us in order to fight like hell against the Trump Administration. This post is a compilation of resources to help progressives and liberals take action, even if they only have a few minutes a week!
There are 3 levels of #ResistTrump (full details below):
- LEVEL ONE: THE BASICS — Get informed, donate money if possible
- LEVEL TWO: BE AN ADVOCATE — Even with just a few minutes a week, you can be a powerful, effective agent for progressive policies by contacting elected officials and voters
- LEVEL THREE: BE THE CHANGE — Work on a campaign, become a local organizer, or, best of all, carry our banner and run for office!
President Donald J. Trump has now taken office, and it’s now up to us to fight like hell
Do you remember what Election Day and Inauguration Day felt like? Do you remember that moment when you realized could have done something to help stop it? It’s time to get up off the mat and take action.
It’s going to be hard work: nobody said this was going to be easy. Republicans control both Executive and Legislative branches of federal government, and dominate state legislatures as well. This commanding majority provides the GOP and President Trump with everything they need to shove their unpopular, archaic agenda down our throats, so the progressive movement needs all hands on deck.
The post-Inaugural March on Washington was a good start! Let’s build on that.
Former White House Communications Director Jen Psaki put it best:
In the midst of sharing Facebook photos, war stories about rain gear and snacks and extra layers, the most important step attendees can take is to determine what in their daily lives they will do to stand up to bigotry or sexism, to help encourage a candidate to get in the race, make an action plan for the year to engage in an issue or local race, defend a friend or coworker or even run for office. And we are going to have to get a little bit uncomfortable in our daily lives to do that by making time, by thinking hard about what we care about, by speaking up even when it isn’t easy.
The march shouldn’t be a moment to rest and celebrate. It should be a warm up.
I’ve grouped a wealth of existing resources into three levels below.
It truly will take all of us, working together. We’ve been in the wilderness before, and fought our way out (remember that Dubya guy? He doesn’t seem so bad now, huh…) and we can do it again — together.
Note: This is by no means a comprehensive list. If you have a resource to suggest, please call it out for me in a note, leave it in the comments, or contact me @ryanko. I’ll be more than happy to add it!
LEVEL ONE: THE BASICS — start here, please!
- Stay informed: Consume news from credible, reputable sources across the aisle. Pay attention to not just the noise, but also what the Trump Administration is actually doing through sites like Track Trump.
- Donate to organizations that need it (if you can): There are any number of non-profits that are in desperate need. Set up recurring monthly donations — they’ll continue to need the support. Some organizations will even aggregate for you, if you’d prefer some curation: Giving Circles Fund and FundForward come to mind, but there are many more. While you’re at it, don’t forget about the political infrastructure that needs investment, starting right with the DNC. Note: Not everyone can afford to donate — but please give what you can, no matter the amount!
- Don’t forget to sign up for the mailing lists of all of the organizations you are supporting. They send out periodic reports showing the impacts of your financial support.
- Pledge and commit your support publicly — on social media, or on something like #OffsetTrump
LEVEL TWO: BE AN ADVOCATE—Taking direct action is fast and easy!
- Progress is under attack, and the most effective way is to make Congress listen. Contact your elected officials in-person if possible, or by phone. This is super fast and easy, and Congressional staff all admit that it works. The Indivisible Guide is an excellent resource, written by former Hill staffers — both the PDF file and nifty “Find a local group” feature. You can find out who your elected officials are here or here (and add them to your phone here!). Making a few daily calls is fast, easy, and can be done in the time it takes to brush your teeth. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act has suffered many setbacks directly caused by legislative outreach. As Pod Save America details:
…it’s working… The moral of the story is that members of Congress scare easily. A few dozen people showing up at an event or their office or calling them makes a big difference…
- If you’d like some curation, a few different groups will send you weekly guidance: 5Calls, Weekly Resisters, 2 Hours a Week, 100 Days of Resistance, Wall of Us, Do A Thing, Calls for Change, Weekly Action Checklist, My Civic Workout for example — and Countable recommends hot-topic issues, and provides a cute venue for e-mail and video contact as well. A really, really fast, easy (perhaps too fast and easy) way to dip a toe in the water is 10 Actions / 100 Days from the organizers of the Women’s March.
- Pay attention to the upcoming redistricting fight and support the new National Democratic Redistricting Committee chaired by former Attorney General Eric Holder. There will be plenty to do there. In the meantime, many states are gearing up for efforts: VA, NC, NJ, PA to highlight a few.
- A group of fascinating initiatives are springing up to implement 50-state strategies focused on state and local governments: Flippable, which highlights a few races every year, SwingLeft, which connects you to the closest Swing District near you (you’d be surprised — they’re all over the place, even in solidly blue or red states), Win The States, which focuses on fundraising on state/local swing districts via a really fun “Adopt-a-State” function that donates directly to Democratic state parties, and Sister District Project which complements Win The States nicely by focusing volunteer capacity (door knocking, phone banking) on those same districts. Through each of these — donate and volunteer for campaigns, which always need canvassers, phone bankers, and other talent to help win these close elections that could tip the legislative balance in our favor.
- Get involved with your state and local Democratic party committees, which are fun ways to meet like-minded activists and influence the party locally.
LEVEL THREE: BE THE CHANGE — Take matters into your own hands
- Become a local organizer, just like a young Barack Obama. Organizing for Action has a fellowship program, as well as some useful tools on how to get started informally. Anyone can become an organizer! On the campaign trail, I met organizers who were high school students, retirees, and everything in between.
- Work full time on a campaign. Jobs are temporary and become available as campaigns kick into full gear: pay attention to races, reach out to campaigns on their websites, and use Democratic GAIN to put your best foot forward and find jobs.
- Most directly: RUN FOR OFFICE (we especially need women to do so). The resources are all there: She Should Run Incubator, Ignite International, and Emerge America are all focused on supporting women running for office. Run For America focuses on younger leaders, as does Run for Something. 314 Action supports scientists. There’s also good, old-fashioned books as well. Democracy at its finest!
Worried about the direction of our government? Don't just tweet. Don't just protest. Get in there and do something…www.slate.com
Appendix: Additional resources
- The Resistance Manual, a wonderful tool from #StayWoke
- We the People, for petitioning the White House
- GovTrack, for following legislative activity in Congress
- Lily Herman tweeted a very similar thread, as did Doug Foote on Facebook
- Subha Puttagunta writes a blog where she starts to outline how we can get even smarter by paying attention to conservative media outlets and their criticism
- Elena Butler has an awesome Action and Accountability Plan resource for helping busy folks to plan out their engagement (and stick to it!)
- Provide comment on agency rulemaking at Regulations.gov
- Worth disabling Ad Blockers on legitimate news sites to support them
- Municipal for super-local neighborhood engagement