This is What Democracy Looks Like

Three weeks ago, 5 million people around the globe participated in the Women's March. I was one of the 1.3 million in Washington D.C. and can easily say it was one of the most important and significant events I've ever been a part of. The air was electric and full of firey optimism. The kind of desperate hope that can only come after all hope has previously been lost.

(Photo: Katie Orlinsky)

(Photo: Katie Orlinsky)

Then the next weekend people turned out around the country yet again to protest the illegal Executive Order by President Trump/Bannon, banning refugees and immigrants form 7 Middle Eastern countries.  Protesting felt like the natural thing to do. 

This past weekend, there were even more protests, this time about the ICE raids of illegal immigrants. As one of my favorite podcasts said, protest is the new brunch. I've taken the last two Saturdays to rest because resistance is a marathon, not a sprint. Literally every single day the new administration has done something inexcusable, illegal, or ill advised. My goal has been to call my Senators every day of the first 100 days. It's exhausting and some days I've not even known where to start because there are just SO MANY things I'm upset about. 

I've been trying to spend time evaluating what my role in the resistance is. I am terrified of the collateral damage that will be done by the Trump administration, but I am also willing to fight and keeping fighting. There will Donald Trump's last day in office (probably sooner than later) and there will be a day when a candidate who reflects my values is in the Oval Office. Until them, I paint posters, write blogs, and make a ridiculous amount of phone calls. 

I have a number of friends who have stayed far from politics until last November and are wondering how to stay engaged and sane at the same time. I've compiled some of the resources that have been most helpful for me:

  1. Resistance Manual
    1. This is an incredible resource, brought by DeRay McKesson and the team behind Campaign Zero. There are categories for basically every issue and gives you updates about what is happening. Don't get overwhelmed. Sick to the issues you care most about.
  2. The 65
    1. This is another fabulous resource. They have weekly action plans and phone calling scripts.
  3. Swing Left
    1. The entire House of Representatives are up for reelection in 2018 and this website has identified the 30 swing districts that Democrats can win back in two years. Find the one closest to you and get involved. 
  4. Women's March- 10 Actions in 100 Days
    1. The official Women's March has 10 concrete actions for the first 100 days. They're very doable and keep you connected to the movement. 
  5. Countable App
    1. Find out what your representatives are doing. This is a great app to have on your phone. If you log in, it gives you your representatives phone numbers and everything.

My hope is that you will be involved in politics, not just on election day, but in all the days between elections well. I won't tell you what the right thing to believe or do is, but I will say there is infinitely more that unites us than divides us. Democracy only works when everyone shows up. So show up- at Town Hall meetings, at rallies and protests, and at the ballot box. In their own way, this is what democracy looks like.