37 months ago
This past Saturday, one of the largest protests in history occurred on the steps of our nation's capital, and at hundreds of sister sites around the US and the world. Millions of US citizens, the majority women, took to the streets to peacefully protest the platform and promises that Donald Trump ran on, with a cornerstone of the march being women's reproductive rights. Regardless of your perception of the march, no one can deny that it was a massive demonstration.
Rather than acknowledge or receive this message, Trump first sent his press secretary out to quibble with the press about audience sizes at the inauguration. Then he derided the march participants on Twitter. Then he signed back into law an anti-abortion policy, blatantly ignoring the march and its message to him.
The ball was in Trump's court, and instead of reaching out to the millions divided by his campaign, he popped it and went home. A crucial and irreplaceable moment arose for an unprecedentedly divisive president to extend an olive branch, and he snuffed it out contemptuously. However, this does not mean it is time for those concerned citizens to give up. Ostensibly, the government still works for us, though it often doesn't feel that way. Perhaps you have never considered how you might actually influence legislation at the national level. Perhaps this post can help.
This is the switchboard for finding your district Representative in the House. You can also find them via your zip code here. Your state Senators can similarly be found here, and are often easily googled as well. You can call, write, or email any of your elected officials at any time. If you are of voting age (or heck, even if you aren't), this is a great avenue to voice your concern on upcoming legislation and other matters.
Next is to stay informed. Setup bookmarks; get a Twitter feed that isn't full of ********; use an RSS. Get to the facts. I recommend the Associated Press as an excellent source that largely sticks to facts and not opinions. I also visit Reuters and occasionally other sources. Read between the lines of partisan spin and see what is really being said, factually, if you must read partisan news.
Now maybe you think I am not being fair in my assessment above. My feelings on the matter are not hard to discern. Maybe you disagree with me vehemently. Perhaps you think Trump is the greatest thing to ever happen to America, or at least that he is "not that bad". That is ok; these resources are here for you too! Civic participation is for everyone, and I encourage everyone to bookmark these resources and use them frequently. A severe lack of participation is chronic in our society, and in my opinion a sad reality. In Congressional election years, routinely less than half the population actually votes. If you aren't even voting, I think it is fair to assume you aren't bothering to speak up to your elected officials during non-election years either.
For my part, I plan to utilize these links to an annoying degree as one aspect of my increased awareness and engagement. I encourage you all to do the same. Stay abreast of the topics of the day and the actions or inactions of your legislators. You'd be hard-pressed to avoid it, but keep in the front of your mind the actions of our new president as well. These people work for you and I and everyone around us in this nation, but only if you stay informed and speak up.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
Some common reactions to the march, with responses in advance:
"What was the march even about? Its message is confusing!"
Even the barest research will tell you this answer. The march was about human rights for a broad coalition of people who were directly or indirectly attacked or disenfranchised by Trump's campaign. It was about sending a message to the government that these people cannot be ignored and that the platform he ran on critically ignores or undermines issues important to these people.
"Trump won already. Stop whining!"
This isn't about contesting who won. The election is over and nobody is more painfully aware than those who marched. Despite the popular phrase "NotMyPresident" being common among those who marched, it isn't a literal statement of "I have a different president and it is a person who is not you", lol. It is a statement exclaiming that the person elected doesn't represent you or your values.
Further, dissenting with elected officials who do not represent your policy goals is not only acceptable but necessary. It is a cornerstone of American democracy, and something that far too many have become complacent, apathetic, or even hostile towards. To criticize those who speak out as "crybabies" or "whiners" is to criticize American democracy in action.
"Protesting doesn't do anything. It's a waste of time."
Protesting has been associated with dramatic social changes, or even revolutions, in the US and across the globe throughout history. I really shouldn't have to cite examples, but here goes: the Boston Tea Party, Ghandi's Salt March, the US Civil Rights Movement, Nelson Mandela's Defiance Campaign against apartheid, the Orange Revolution, the Peaceful Revolution in east Germany... etc. The point being that even if a protest doesn't accomplish an immediate specific goal the day after it happens, it can lead to changes down the road, especially with continued pressure.
"something something Rioters something"
Rioters suck. The Women's March wasn't a riot. In fact, it was incredibly peaceful. Rioters did come out in force on inauguration day, but that is a separate matter entirely. That is not what this is about, and that is not something I support.
"Madonna said she was gonna blow up the white house!!!"
Madonna is an idiot lol. It obviously wasn't an actual threat, but even if it were, I feel like the Secret Service would not have much trouble foiling her evil mastermind plots...
"You're just a butthurt lib-dem who can't accept Trump."
I'm an independent who cares about human beings and how they are treated by our government, alongside other issues I have with the new administration. When you are an independent, you get real used to being disappointed by presidents. This is the first time I've had an extreme aversion(to put it mildly) to an incoming administration, and it has caused a realization in me that sitting back and voting was no longer going to be enough for me to be satisfied.
"The march was just a bunch of butthurt shrieking hysterical feminazis who want to take away our right to look at boobies!"
I really don't think anything I can say is going to get through to you.