Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport

Ryan Ko
Ryan Ko
Jan 22, 2017 · 7 min read

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

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The Women’s March on Washington (and around the world) was AWESOME. What’s next?

SHORT VERSION:

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 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):

  • — Get informed, donate money if possible
  • — Even with just a few minutes a week, you can be a powerful, effective agent for progressive policies by contacting elected officials and voters
  • — Work on a campaign, become a local organizer, or, best of all, carry our banner and run for office!

LONG VERSION:

President Donald J. Trump has now taken office, and it’s now up to us to fight like hell

Do you remember what and 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 , and as well. This commanding majority provides the GOP and President Trump with everything they need to shove their down our throats, so the progressive movement needs all hands on deck.

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“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.” -Barack Obama

The post-Inaugural March on Washington was a good start! Let’s build on that.

Former White House Communications Director Jen Psaki :

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, . We’ve (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 . I’ll be more than happy to add it!

LEVEL ONE: THE BASICS — start here, please!

  • Stay informed: Consume news from across the aisle. Pay attention to not just the noise, but also what the Trump Administration is actually doing through sites like .
  • Donate to organizations that need it (if you can): There are of 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: and 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 . 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

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. 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 or (and add them to your phone !). 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 :

…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…

I mean, WTF, North Carolina…
  • A group of fascinating initiatives are springing up to implement 50-state strategies focused on state and local governments: , which highlights a few races every year, , 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), , 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 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.
Calling voters in Louisiana… from San Diego! Who says you can’t get involved from inside liberal bastions?

LEVEL THREE: BE THE CHANGE — Take matters into your own hands

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time... We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” -Barack Obama
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Appendix: Additional resources

Acknowledgements: This compilation wouldn’t have been possible without some wonderful help, feedback, and inspiration:

Ngiste Abebe, Matthew Carter, Billy Cline, Danielle DeLatte, Owen Derby, Eliza Eddison, Allen Kramer, Janet Li, Isabella Liu, , and many, many more

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