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Productive Engagement in Trump’s America: National Action

As a follow up to Tuesday’s post of action items organized around Local Community Activism and Monday’s post of action items organized around The Personal Is Political, here is part three on our series regarding productive engagement in Trump’s America — National Action.  Again, the idea here is that we actually need to roll up our sleeves and get to fixing things.  

We started at the individual level, moved to the community level and now are looking at what we can all be doing on a national level.  

National Action

Participate Politically.*

telephone-cartoonThere’s been a lot of arguing back and forth about who has the mandate coming out of the election.  Notwithstanding Trump’s entirely made up allegation that millions of people engaged in voter fraud, the popular vote — which does not determine the presidency but does determine how much or little of a mandate the President-Elect has — is decisively not with Donald Trump.  In actual fact, at least 2.5 million more Americans voted for Hillary than for Trump.  As Slate explains, that lead in the popular vote is “larger than that of nine previous presidents” who won the electoral college.  In other words, we all should take comfort in the fact that a majority of voting Americans is not on board with the political course Trump is charting.

This matters because your members of Congress — Senators and Representatives — care what it is that voters think and want.  A whole host of resources have been published to help you participate in politics effectively, including this article by a former staffer on what carries the most bang for the buck.  In addition, there are some great crowd-sourced materials.  For example, there is this spreadsheet by Monica Jahan Bose’s daughter of more moderate Republicans who, at one point or another, spoke out against Trump in the past, along with contact information and other handy reference information.  Or this widely-circulated google document “We’re His Problem Now,” which is basically one-stop shopping on reaching all the right people.

You can make it a fun thing on your family calendars.  I imagine something along the lines of Taco Tuesday — maybe Making Calls Monday?  Mayhem Monday?  Whatever works for you.  Pick a day.  Pick a time.  Be active regularly.  And focus on the mid-term elections.  We’ve got two years to get ourselves back on a better path.

Donate.  

donateTimes as scary as this often feed the impulse to scale back spending and save for whatever emergencies we fear may come.  That’s natural, and I’m on board with being cautious with your money.  But. We’re already in an emergency.  This emergency calls for us to spend some of our money that we might otherwise spend on non-essential things on donations to those nonprofit organizations  that are going to throw whatever resources they can at protecting our governmental institutions and our rights from the transformations (or mutilations) promised.

This emergency, though, is going to be an ongoing one.  Rather than just flooding your organization (or organizations) of choice with a burst of money now and then forgetting about them in a few days/weeks/months, set up a regular donations at a rate you can afford.  If you deal with the business of life the way I do, absent something automated, those payments likely aren’t going in.  There are numerous organizations you could donate to — more than I could ever pick.  John Oliver highlighted some of his favorites, so if you’re looking for ideas, that’s a place to start.  Here’s his whole episode on responding to Trump, but the good stuff on volunteering (which we covered Tuesday) and donating — what he terms “actual sacrifice to support people who are now under threat” — starts at about the 19 minute mark:

March.  

marchLarge, collective action on a national level can make a real difference in any government.**  Don’t forget what marches and civil unrest have helped accomplish in American history.  And draw inspiration from what has happened in the international community as a result of marches: India’s Salt March, Iceland’s Women’s Day Off, or Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.  Lots of people together garner attention nationally and internationally.  That may be even more true in a time like ours, where conceptions of who we are as a nation and what we value as a people are being debated.  Also, we have a President-Elect who seems to be preoccupied with how others perceive him more than most, so there’s that.

Currently, a march is being planned for January 21, 2017 — the day after Trump’s inauguration — in Washington DC, our nation’s capitol.  After controversy around the name and leadership have been largely resolved, the march is being called the Women’s March on Washington, designed to echo Dr. King’s famous march and, to be very clear, intended to include both women and men.  While the exact location of the start of the march is still being finalized, it is happening on that day and time.  Other progressive marches are being organized that same day, so D.C. should be flooded with people seeking to make it clear to the incoming government and to the world at large what values they stand for — literally.  Find friends, family members, churches, motels, air bnb’s, or whatever else is necessary to arrange for sleep and transportation.  But do what you can to get there and bring as many people with you as possible.  There are moments for dramatic statements.  I think we can all agree this is one of them.


I have to start with a caveat.  You need to participate politically at the local level too.

** Obviously, marching at the state and local level can make a big difference too, particularly in your local politics and in swaying the views of your federal legislators. 

Katherine Kimpel

Katherine Kimpel

Kate Kimpel is the Senior Editor of Shattering the Ceiling and is also an accomplished civil rights lawyer. She represents women and people of color in discrimination cases (and other kinds of employment and civil rights matters).  When not lawyering, she likely is bragging about her hound dog Ulysses, inventing cocktails to serve at her next dinner party, or convincing her husband to watch reruns of a Joss Whedon television show (any of them will do). 

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