In the post election world there are a lot of issues that are dividing us. A Gallup poll from before the election really sums up this divide, it said that people who were supporting Clinton or Trump said they couldn’t agree on basic facts. Which makes the political system even harder to navigate if we as a people can’t agree on basic facts. It may be time to give up agreement.
The issues of division had been studied through the lens of political polarization for years, its what brought Obama into the national spotlight and divided those among political parties in the 2016 election. The issues are often the cause of this divide, LA Times points out that gun control, abortion, fracking, climate change, immigration, school vouchers, healthcare, and who gets to use what bathroom has put us all on high alert. Yet it is how we work to understand these issues and how we fight to make our voices heard. I will give various ways through the lens of what people are currently doing, to help achieve that goal.
If you don’t like what the government is doing, then you have to confront these issues head on. Over the week of Jan 18-26 Congress was on recess and many returned to their home districts, this time was suppose to be spent using town halls so representatives could speak with their constituents. Activists even planned their own Resistance Recess , where they planned to show up at Republican official’s events, town halls and public appearances to protest Trump’s and the legislatures political agenda. As many pundits are now calling it, protest is the new brunch but the silly turn of phrase shouldn’t take any of the importance away from these actions. The news has been reporting that these activists have been effectively questioning their representative’s apparent inability to fight back against the controversial aspects of Trump’s executive orders as well as the plan to fight against the Affordable Care Act. These protests are so important because they parallel what happened in politics in 2009. After Obama passed the ACA in 2009, the Tea Party created their own movement where they flooded similar 2009 town halls. These protests had clear effective change in the federal government, they even have the Freedom Caucus where they have 32 seats in the House of Representatives.
This is why resistance in the age of Trump is incredibly important, but this resistance has to come from enthusiastic grassroots organization not from established politicians. The Tea party movement worked because of conservative activists, the progressive resistance must work in the same way. While the resistance recess time has passed, we must continue to move forward. The first way to really contribute to resistance is to stay informed, what is happening in your community, and who are your representatives? When Trump opens his mouth or signs an executive order that you don’t like then call/email/mail your congressional representative, let them know that you are not in favor of this action and ask them to work for their constituents. This is the most basic way you can contribute to your community. There is one more way that you can act in collaboration with contacting your reps, and that’s by getting involved in your community, Ana Marie Cox on a recent episode of Pod Save America with Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer talks about one way to get involved with your community is to join a local dog walking organization. She says that getting involved with your community helps to inform you about what needs to happen in your community, as well as how members feel. These are two simple ways to stay involved, informed and active in a resistance.
If you want to take things to the next level, then I present the Indivisible Guide, a how to created by former congressional aids. At the site you can sign up for alerts, there is a link to download the how to guide as well as a link to take action locally. The Indivisible group is responsible for a lot of the action regarding the protests during the congressional recess.