What Can I Do?
What can I do? Many people are asking themselves this question. Some of you have reached out to me asking what you can do to stand up against the Trump agenda and the situations that Trump has created. The political turmoil over the past eight months (can you believe that it’s only been eight months?!) is staggering. Many of us are watching our country's core values get cast aside right in front of our eyes. Recent events, including the domestic terrorist attack by white supremacists in Charlottesville, make it imperative that we all do what we can to maintain the values laid out in the Declaration of Independence (e.g., liberty; equality; opportunity). In the words of John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” The following suggestions serve as a starting point for getting involved to help to correct the course of our country.
Know your values.
What are your core values? What do you believe in? (Note: This question is not about religion.) Fairness? Equality? Justice for all? Clean and safe food and water for everyone? To effectively stand up for the values of our country, you must first identify and understand your own core values. Getting clear about your own values will help you align yourself with the cause(s) where you can make the most impact and speak your truth.
Don’t be silent.
Silence implies consent. If you do not consent to what’s happening, then speak up! The more people who are speaking out against the things being said, done, and encouraged by the Trump administration, the more likely others will follow suit. We need as many people speaking up as possible to resist the heinous acts being committed by the current administration and to defend the people who cannot defend themselves.
With so many things happening at once, it is hard to keep track, let alone become well-informed about specific situations and issues. However, educating yourself to get a better understanding about key issues and situation details is essential for making a difference. Getting informed helps to reduce the spread of misinformation and “alternative facts,” and supports productive political discourse (i.e., discussion).
Do something consistently.
The best thing you can do to help is to do something. In a previous post, I suggested picking an activity that you can manage along with everything else in your life (e.g., work; family; school) and participate in that activity on a regular basis. Such activities might include (but are not limited to):
- Sharing well-sourced educational content on social media to help educate others.
- Donating to civil rights organizations.
- Attending civic events, such as City Council meetings, townhalls, or school board meetings.
- Joining a local grassroots or community organization.
Regardless of which activity you choose, make sure to work it into your schedule so that you are participating consistently. Participation that is sustained over time is necessary for making positive change.
To stand up for our country, we each must do what we can when we can. As former President Barack Obama eloquently stated, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”