If you ticked any box in the general election, other than Republican, (and maybe a few who ticked the Republican box but for other candidates in the primary) during the last month you have probably felt as though your head was about to explode. I know I have. I spent the first two and a half weeks after the inauguration being so angry and disheartened that day-to-day functions were difficult. Even my partner, who was a registered Republican when I met him, then became an independent and supported Bernie in the primary, was more affected than I could have ever imagined.
Fortunately or unfortunately, this is a president with regard to whom we do not need to use our imaginations to establish how bad he is, both as a person and as a president, even after four short weeks in office. Stories on the Internet about his tyrannies abound and they are easily believed. We are eager to read about his personal, familial, business and financial shortcomings and authors, reporters, and bloggers are more than willing to supply us ample fodder to stoke the fires of our anger.
But being angry without direction or purpose just consumes us just as a fire consumes the wood which is the fuel for its flame. Fire, put to good purpose, serves us well. The flame illuminates the night, warms our homes, changes iron to steel.
Here is a short list of my suggestions of ways to channel our anger and work to make a difference in this administration, and work toward taking back our government in the near future.
- WRITE YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES!!! They do listen! If you don’t know how to contact them, visit the Resources page on this site. It contains contact information for your US Senators, House Members and information on how to contact your elected local and state politicians. If you are contacting more than one on the same topic, just copy and paste the body of the email into each one.
Living in liberal San Francisco, I used to think that communicating with my elected officials really didn’t matter. After all, they all shared my values and views on the world, right? Not at all! Just like anyone else, they needed to know what I thought, and not only what I thought but what my neighbors thought. So I started writing. I got on their email lists. I started getting updates about what they’re doing and the actions they are taking in Congress. Some of them I agree with, and some of them I don’t. When I agree, I send them heartfelt thank you, and when I don’t I tell them.
My partner and I have had some robust discussions after he has remarked about how lucky we are to live in such a liberal state is California. Virtually all of our elected Democratic officials are beholden to the establishment Democratic machine, and soon after being elected (if not before) are beholden to big money interests, in San Francisco especially to real estate developers.
A good friend of mine once scolded me for using the term neoliberal in referring to these politicians saying that most of them had their hearts in the right place. Unfortunately, for me their hearts are located too near their pocketbooks. I have never had much luck in love when it comes to politics.
- Just because you read it on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true. We must verify the accuracy of the information we receive. This is fairly simple to do. Go to Snopes.com, factcheck.org, or any one of a number of other organizations dedicated to making sure the information we receive is correct and factual.
- If you see a story on the internet that makes your eyes pop (like Trump Orders Nuclear Attack, for example, assuming you are still alive and the planet outside your window isn’t a heap of smoldering ash), hit your search engine (Google it) before you share it, type in a few search words and see if anyone else is reporting on it. If not, it’s probably not true.
- Do your own research. Wikipedia is a wonderful resource and a springboard for deeper research into topics we don’t understand.
- Turn off the main stream media, or at the very least broaden our sources of information. If we are getting all of our information from any of the major networks whether it be MSNBC, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC PBS, or Fox news, whether it is our local newspapers, radio stations or television stations, we simply must broaden our source of information.
I can tell you that on many days while watching Meet the Press Daily with Chuck Todd on MSNBC, a supposedly liberal media outlet, the dogs get up and leave the room because I’m yelling at television.
I have taken to recording Fox News Sundays with Chris Matthews just to see what the alt-right crowd is saying. Truly, if you want the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, this is a show not to miss.
I am also considering an online subscription to the New York Times and to the Washington Post. A friend posted the graph at right illustrating the right versus left leanings of various outlets which I have found helpful. You may as well.
- Get involved with OurRevolution.com, the organization established by the Bernie Sanders movement. They are currently supporting hundreds of progressive candidates across the United States from the local level all the way up to the federal level, as well as progressive causes all across the country.
- Check out the Indivisible Guide, written by a couple of former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. They know how to make Congress listen. You can find a group of like-minded folks near you. You can even download their 26 page action guide or start your own group.
- Join commoncause.org, another grassroots progressive organization leading the way on progressive causes.
- For more local California issues, get involved with the Courage Campaign, couragecampaign.org, another grassroots progressive organization involved in candidates and issues affecting Californians.
- Campaign for progressive candidates and causes! Phone bank! Knock on doors! If you are able, kick in a couple of bucks! It all adds up!
Look, it is not too early to begin working for change in the processes and people who led us to this place. So, I’m going to work for change in the process. I am going to vote for progressive, truly progressive, candidates. I will not support neoliberals or the political establishment or the corporate elites. I will work to get big money out of politics, but for now I simply just minimize the destruction caused by a madman in the White House.