If you are one of those who do not appreciate the recent uprising the day after the inauguration, this post is probably not for you.
Or actually, I do have something to say to you. Yup, I was one of the millions who peacefully marched worldwide at the Women’s March and I will not apologize for it. You know why? I pay the full tax rate, I have no children, I’m under full employment, I have full health insurance from my employer, and I own a house. Why does that matter? Well, my tax burden is disproportionate to what my actual financial burden to the federal and local system is. In addition, I also purposely don’t shop at Walmart because I do believe the patriotic thing to do is support American-made and produced commodities and to support enterprises that pay American workers a fair wage. I would rather shop local when I can. So people like me are the same people who shop at Whole Foods and farmers markets and the coop because we believe the right thing to do is snub the food producing factories and instead shop local and small so we can directly impact rural America. So before you give me grief about my being a “liberal”, pause and think if I am not entitled to it for a second. If anything, I should be fighting to lower my taxes and argue against pay my “fair share”, because my fair share, in real terms, would way lower than what I actually pay.
So long story short, I don’t even need to be doing this. I don’t need to protest because my life is going to be just fine. But that is not what being a “liberal” or “American” is about. It is in my core to believe that we do better as a nation when we look out for each other and when we pull each other up. People like me (and an immigrant, at that) are fighting for you and your children’s public school education and future. People like me are fighting for healthcare for as many people as possible so that nobody goes into financial ruin when a family member is struck by serious medical conditions. People like me are looking after for the welfare of the many, so that our interests go first before corporate America, so that corporate profits are not prioritized at the expense of our mountains, our rivers, our planet.
Now that that’s out of the way, we are in extraordinary times and I can’t sit this one out, head buried in the sand. I care about this country too much, but most especially, I care about the people here too much. And if you feel discouraged and afraid, I urge you to get involved, too. We need you in this fight.
And with the influx of organized protests, I think it is important more than ever to get very strategic and organized to coalesce on actionable agendas that will affect policy change. It is one thing to feel energized and bring your grievances to the streets, but we have to be realistic. Change – sustaining change – would have to involve change at the legislative level, be it in your municipality or state. Washington seems like a behemoth right now, but I agree with what many organizers are saying: we need a widespread, far-reaching ground game. And we need to be in this for the long haul, with eyes set on a long-range target. It does not end at the March.
I've been extremely emotional lately as I am sure many of you have been, but now is not the time to hunker down. If the Women's March was any indication, there are many of us and if we fight together, cohesively, strategically, we have a chance to beat this thing together. So here’s what I’m suggesting we do:
1. I cannot stress this enough. For sustaining and far-reaching change, we need to affect it on the policy level. You know those City Council members, Governors, Congressmen and Senators? They have a responsibility and are accountable to YOU, the constituent. You are the reason they are in the position that they are in and YOU are paying their salaries and pensions.
I seriously believe that we cannot let up the pressure on our legislators. If you are lucky enough to have legislators who are going to protect our agenda, build alliances with them. If any members of your Congress who are up for re-election in 2018 (THAT’s NEXT YEAR, PEOPLE), inundate them with calls and correspondence about the issues that matter to you.
If you’re in Northern Nevada, State Senator Julia Ratti (I LOVE her!) and Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle are hosting a forum tomorrow, January 29th, 3PM at the Discovery Center in Reno to discuss what is on the agenda for this year’s Legislative Session and they will go over ideas of what we can do. ACTIONABLE and STRATEGIC. This is the type of organizing I’m talking about.
2. There are so many worthy causes to support, but in order to make realistic progress, let’s not spread ourselves thin. Here’s what I suggest. Pick one. Pick a cause and give all you’ve got into it. Pick the cause you are most passionate about and throw yourself into it. Thanks to the current sitting president, you have an infinite number of options. The environment. Women’s rights. LGBTQ rights. Social justice. Healthcare. Education. Racial equality. Then get behind the folks who have already been fighting that cause and figure out how you can be an asset to them.
This blog has generally been platform for bringing you adventures in the great outdoors. The fight for the environment is an obvious choice for me since issues surrounding its conservation and protection has always been the one of the few things that come close to keeping me up at night. I get REALLY ticked off when I see garbage on the trail that people left so I am LIVID about the potential threat to our mountains, open spaces, oceans, and waterways on a MASSIVE scale due to deregulation by the current administration.
3. Reach into your wallet and donate. Last night's heroes were the attorneys at American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) who filed lawsuit after lawsuit to allow legal residents with valid visas to enter the country after the catastrophic Executive Order signed on Friday to ban immigrants from seven countries from entering the USA. We know that our civil liberties are threatened and we need to stand behind organizations like ACLU who will take up our agendas to court, if necessary. You can donate to ACLU here.
4. Did I already mention that 2018 is an election year? You have to start paying attention to these things. Look up which seats are going to be open next year and work with your local party offices to figure out how you can help. Here in Nevada, if you have been paying attention, Nevada has one Republican Senate seat up for grabs in 2018 (Dean Heller's seat), and the Governor’s seat is also going to become open. That is only one year away. If we want to get people who will protect our democratic ideals elected, our ground game needs to start here and now.
So let us galvanize. "Courage is contagious", one protest sign read. It is true. I'm out here, ready to fight. Time to put these big-girl panties on.