In a nation so polarized, there are outpourings of concern on social media and between friends during everyday life. It is natural for us to seek the like-mindedness of our friends and colleagues during these tumultuous times.
Carrying on this way can be comforting at first, but we have to consider the question, “what can we do to actually make a difference?” The United States is a democratic country. Despite what you may think, the people still hold power. Here are a few ways you can exercise it.
- Contact Your Government Officials
The president is only a single figure of the American government. Your local government officials still have a responsibility to communicate the things that are important to their supporters. You can write to them, call them or communicate over social media.
Speaking of that last option, if you’re going to go to social media, do it the right way. Visit your local representative’s page, form a coalition with others in your community or create your own activist page.
- Vote and Take Back the Democratic Party
Presidential elections aren’t the only things that determine public policy. As citizens, we actually have much more leverage in local elections than we do in national ones. A swing in control of the house and senate midway through Trump’s term can happen, and it can happen through our actions.
Congressional elections are next November. Start learning about the people running. By rebuilding our government in the image that we desire, we can help put a stop to Trump’s agenda.
- Donate to the Right Causes
Throwing money at political and cultural issues is not always the answer, but there are ways you can contribute meaningfully. Groups like the Stop Trump Legal Fund help pay educated legal professionals to examine Trump’s actions and call the President out when he oversteps his boundaries.
The Judicial branch has already demonstrated its power to block Trump’s attempts at illegal foreign policy. Don’t figure on that being the last time this man attempts things that aren’t legal.
- Support Dreamers
A plan that Trump has laid out to disenfranchise children born legally to immigrants in the U.S. has made targets out of more than 800,000 people. Many of them want only to lead a normal life in the country where they were born.
Local governments, school boards and private groups are taking action to preserve the rights of Dreamers. Work with your local officials, and political groups like United We Dream.
- Get the Facts
Getting informed might mean checking your facts from multiple sources. Expand your typical news sources to include foreign outlets. Don’t just rely on the internet, either. Turn to the radio and print publications that can’t adjust their message with the click of a button. Share what you learn, and challenge Trump to get the facts right.
Something remarkable is happening during this administration — the American people are being challenged to see if they still want to hold power in this country. The system we built 200 years ago might look very different today. It has been allowed to evolve in ways we could not have anticipated, but it is still founded on the same basic principles.
You have the tools and the responsibility to stand up for what you believe in. Doing it isn’t selfish — it’s American.
Kate Harveston is a political writer and activist. She enjoys writing about issues related to social justice and policy reform, but she also writes about a variety of other cultural topics. If you like her work, you can follow her on Twitter for updates or subscribe to her blog, Only Slightly Biased.