3 Things You Can Do in 2017 No Matter Who You Voted For

You’ll notice this is a political post. I know, I know. Another one of those.

Don’t worry, no facts or figures. I think we could all use a break for a bit.

And plus, I’m not super politically savvy. But this isn’t really about politics, it’s about people.

I think we’ve made a big mistake.

Am I talking about Trump or Hilary? No.

The mistake we made was to make our political party the most important thing in our lives. It’s true that our vote reveals some of what we believe. But if we look to a political party to “save” our world, we’ll always see people on the other side as evil.

And we’ll say things like..

  1. “They are rich, snobbish bigots who are all racists”
  2. “They are tree-hugging, abortionists who want handouts”

Are these nasty extremes? Yep.

Did I find these words online? Yep.

Maybe we can agree on three things.

  1. We want what’s “best”, but have dramatically different ideas of how to get there
  2. There’s something we wanted to change about both candidates
  3. Neither candidate could deliver on their promises alone

With the election over, all of these problems are going to come at 100 mph. Maybe your candidate won and now you’re unsure if they will fulfill their promises. Or perhaps your candidate lost, and it seems like the sky is falling on your freedom.

Rest assured, both sides are holding their breath waiting to see what will happen. And the same questions are going through everyone’s head. You know, the questions that drive every election:

Will this candidate fight for the cause I support?
Will they really do what they say they will?
Will the group I’m part of be forgotten?

And finally..

Will I be forgotten?

But you don’t have to sit around. If you believe something is right (or wrong), you can take action. We have to, actually. That’s what a belief is.

So here are 3 things you can do in 2017.

1. Give to your cause

This one is simple. Well, simple to understand. Hard to do.

During election season, you had in mind the issues that are most important to you. These are the ones that swung your vote one way or the other.

Are you thinking of them now? Good.

No matter who got elected, your cause is definitely going to get some help next year.

…from you.

That’s right — your hard earned & diligently saved money.

You can find a trusted organization that helps the people you care about. And give to them.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not the government. But if we believe in a cause, we’ll need to put some real dollars to it.

Here’s a site that’s helpful for finding trusted charitable organizations. They are categorized by organization and platform.

2. Go to “your people”

We talk a lot about “issues” in our country. But behind every issue is simply a group of people in need: immigrants seeking citizenship, unemployed African-Americans, students with high interest loans, veterans, LGBTQ members. And so on.

During every election, our country asks “Is our government doing enough for these people?” And every four years, that questions is met with a resounding “No”.

But here’s what I believe.

Our government can never do enough to help all people.

…because they are corrupt? Not so fast.

…because they don’t care? Wait a minute.

It’s because there are just too many people. And solving a problem for one group inevitably creates one for others.

Again, it’s up to us. Find the group of people you believe need help. And go to them. Do your part.

Feel the veterans aren’t being appreciated? Volunteer at a veteran organization.

Think the poor are being left behind? Brighten someones day at a shelter.

Concerned for the next-generation? Spend time at a nearby school.

If you believe in something, you must act!

We must act.

30 minutes per week for your cause. That’s it.

We’ll make more change by showing who we’re for than by fighting about what we’re against

Here’s another helpful site for volunteer opportunities near you.

3. Get to know someone … in the opposing party

“What?”

Ok, just hold on.

Our media has done a remarkable job as painting one side or the other as devils. And even if that were true, it wouldn’t be the way to enact any change.

Have you seen the arguments on Twitter or Facebook?

Or..have you been part of one? It’s ok. Put it behind you.

You’ll notice that when one side accuses another of hatred, the other side responds by, well, hating the accuser.

And on and on it goes.

Unfortunately, in assuming hate, we actually create the outcome that we fear. We wish their destruction, and they wish ours too.

But that’s not what we want.

Both sides want the other to understand. That’s why when you tell someone who you voted for, you immediately follow up with an explanation. I know that wasn’t just me.

Every person on both sides has a story. If you learn it, they may listen to yours. If you disregard it, you’ll create more people that hate you (and your cause).

So, get to know one person from your opposing party. Ask about their story.

“Why did you vote this way?”
“What are the causes you care about and why?

Make sure they know you come in peace. And if someone asks for your story, tell them too.

I’m NOT asking you to change your views. Just listen.

I think we’ll make more change by understanding a single person than creating 10 enemies via twitter.

That’s it. Give, go, or get to know.

Oh and don’t forget to make a pledge for what you’ll do in the comments.

If you’re already doing one, post it for the rest of us that are getting started.

Here’s my pledge: 30 minutes per week at a local homeless shelter.

And if you think something in here is worthwhile, share it! Otherwise it’ll just be my own personal reminder to give, go, or get to know.

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