Just for a second. I know I wrote a couple days ago about how we need to move forward, but some things are getting out of hand. As protests around the country continue, violence has also continued. While I have no problem with people protesting and demonstrating — the right to do so is in the First Amendment — violence will do nothing for us.
And as some protesters in Portland, Oregon have already been raising money to help cover the damage caused by the few violent ones, the violence is continuing. And others, like Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly are suggesting that a civil war may be brewing.
Let me be clear about something, the left wing in this country cannot engage in a civil war. You know those 300 million or so privately-owned guns in this country? We don’t have them. Violent protests about the election are pointless. They can only serve to undermine any potential progressive agenda. If you want to show the world that you don’t agree with the results of the election, do so peacefully, and then we need to take a step back and choose our path forward.
Have a Plan
Aside from letting our President-Trump-fearing allies around the world know that the election results don’t sit well with the American left, there doesn’t seem to be much of a plan to move forward. And make no mistake, just protesting won’t be enough. There’s nothing that can prevent Donald Trump from becoming the 45th President of the United States, other than members of the Electoral College making an unprecedented turn to vote against the people of their states. Don’t bet on it.
We must have a productive plan to deal with what could very likely devastate progress that’s been made on a number of fronts — looking at you, environment and open access to reproductive healthcare for women. The Democratic National Committee and the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses will need to have a solid plan for the next two to four years. Personally, I hope they don’t try to be obstructive the way Republicans were during the Obama Administration. That won’t get us anywhere.
The leaders of the protests need to have a plan, as well. It’s not enough to just march in the streets. They can become leaders for real change. They’ve started something, and they need to keep it going. They need to keep being active and keep being activists.
Likewise, we, as individuals, we need to become activists. Find an organization to volunteer for. Personally, over the last few months I’ve given time to NextGen Climate making calls and sending texts to get out the vote. I’ve made calls and met with other volunteers to help make plans with Maine Citizens for Clean Elections over the last couple years. And I’ve canvassed in my area for the Maine Democratic Party.
I’ll keep giving time — and money, when I can afford it — to those organizations when I can, but I’m not going to stop there. If any of us really care about the progressive agenda, we need to find organizations that can use our help. I’m going to find time for Maine Conservation Voters and Planned Parenthood. The environment and a woman’s dominion over her reproductive choices face certain attack. I, personally, can’t just sit around or merely march in the streets while those attacks get underway.
If you’re a liberal, don’t just sit there. Give time.
When Rick Santorum was running for President in 2012, I started a petition on Moveon.org to make him stop exploiting innocent sweater vests. My wet blanket of a girlfriend at the time was upset because I was using resources that should otherwise have been used for more “worthy causes” (her words, not mine). She didn’t even sign it.
I’m pretty easily manipulated, so I felt bad. I then started responding to a crapload of petitions from a variety of organizations. I even started donating money to some environmental and other liberal causes. My email inbox has never recovered. I’ve signed hundreds of online petitions and sent hundreds of emails to my state and federal legislators.
I’ve learned, however, that all that online activism doesn’t do much good. Emily Ellsworth, a former congressional staffer recently gave some advice on Twitter about engaging with our elected officials.
The sheer volume of emails makes them impossible to sort, let alone read, and you’ll only get a form letter reply. Calls get attention. So if there’s an issue you want your legislators to know your feelings on, call them. Staffers will have to listen to you. It’s a method that’s helped the NRA get a great deal of attention. NRA members call their representatives all the time. It’s as important as the donations they receive.
Hundreds of calls will get more attention than thousands of emails because they take more time. I’ve resisted making calls to my legislators on a number of occasions because I had a limited number of minutes in my call plan. I know. That’s dumb. My cell phone bill taking precedence over the liberal agenda, how selfish of me.
Well, I have unlimited minutes now. I’m going to be making a lot of calls from now on. We must do this to make sure our voices are heard, especially if we have a Republican legislator. They need to hear our voices even more than Democrats.
We have to give time and use our voices. If there’s a Million Liberal March on Washington, I’ll go there if I can afford it. If President Trump comes to Maine, and there’s going to be a demonstration to show support of progressive issues, I’ll be there. But I’ll also be giving time and making calls. This is something we have to do.
Let’s Be Objective
I know. There’s already objective evidence of President-Elect Trump’s lack of respect for women, minorities, the environment, etc. But there’s also objective evidence that he’s willing to say just about anything to get elected, and he’s already toned down his stance on Hillary Clinton, saying that we “. . . we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.” That’s a far cry from saying that he would make sure she’s incarcerated, but time will tell.
He’s also toned down his stance on the Affordable Care Act. He was going to repeal it and replace it with “something terrific,” but now he’s talking about keeping a number of the law’s pieces in place.
The campaign was full of drama, and Mr. Trump brought the fear of his presidency and his policies on by himself. But we must remember that we live in a republic with checks and balances in the government, and many Republicans were as horrified by some of the things he said as we were. While he may not have a history of expressing a very complex understanding of the Constitution, those Republicans understand it pretty well, and they won’t have a problem reeling him in. . . I hope.
I may not be a fan of Donald J. Trump as a man, I have to respect that he won the election. He will be our President. Saying that “he’s not my president” means nothing. It meant nothing when Republicans said it about Presidents Clinton and Obama. The President of the United States is everyone’s president.
I wasn’t a big fan of President George W. Bush, especially after the start of the war in Iraq. I felt at the time — and feel more strongly now — that he wanted that war as revenge against the man who tried to kill his father. There’s a lot of evidence to support that, and I was angry that my life could be put in danger because of it.
However, I didn’t get out of the army reserve. When I was mobilized as an instructor to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, I went. I reenlisted when my contract was up. I even volunteered for a combat tour in Iraq (but I was replaced on that mobilization list).
We don’t have to agree with our president or any other elected official, but not accepting him as our president is meaningless. Any bill he signs into law will still be the law of the land.
Donald J. Trump is going to be our president. If we aren’t fans of that, we can still do something. Give time. Make calls. Give money if you can. There are plenty of ways that we can be active in the face of the upcoming years of a completely Republican government. Just be active.