By the time I post this, countless others will have offered their take on what the firing of Comey means for the nation. But I wanted to share my thoughts on the feeling of helplessness these actions create in me, and how I’m trying to tackle it. The first version of this post was super angry, reflecting my own feelings of despair. But now that I’ve had some time to sit with it, I’ve decided to go with a post that has more suggestions than insults. Not because I don’t think that people have the right to hurl insults, and not because I think a certain tone is more worthy of respect than others. But because that’s what I want to do right now.
I’m not going to get into what I think about the current administration. I don’t think there is a redeeming quality among them, and I don’t think anything short of impeachment or voting them out of office will get them to stop. The President, Vice President, and House Speaker have made it quite clear that they loathe all people in the U.S who are not like them: white, male, and rich.
There are some people out there who could theoretically do something. Literally any of the Senators in the GOP could make things happen. Sen. McCain could stop clutching his pearls and act like the statesman he pretended to be when he ran for president in 2008. He could call upon his fellow Republicans to demand an independent investigation. The Republican majority in the House could demand impeachment proceedings begin.
But nope. That’s not how any of these individuals work. They don’t care so long as they are in on the game. We know House Republicans have no interest in the humans they represent – they just voted to kill a whole mess of people by removing access to quality health care. They are all doing nothing of substance.
So where does that leave us? When the most powerful people in the U.S. care only about power and harming others, what options do we have?
Look for glimmers of hope. There are Democrats who are holding town halls in Republican districts where the representatives are too craven to show up. There are Democratic Senators and Representatives who are making strong statements and demanding — as much as they can — that action is taken.
Call and thank your elected officials when they do the right thing. Because I am lucky enough to be represented by humans who generally speaking actually care about other people, I struggle with what I can do beyond looking for that hope. I know that my Senators and Representative actually want to make life better for as many in the U.S. as they can, not just the rich white dudes. So I call to thank them. I call to urge them to keep up the fight. I call to ask more of them when I see them falling short. And I do it regularly – every week if possible. Consider doing this.
Encourage friends to contact their elected officials. If you are reading this and you live in a GOP-held area, please consider making more phone calls. I know, I know, everyone has been saying this for months. But please keep it up. It can work, especially with those who are up for reelection in 2018.
Focus on things closer to home. If your city holds elections in off years, get involved. Volunteer for a campaign. Make calls, knock on doors, stuff envelopes. Show up at council hearings when you can. Show up to testify before the state legislature on bills you are passionate about. Meet with your state legislators. Write emails, letters, postcards.
Pick a non-profit to volunteer with. Find one that you think does really important work for the most marginalized in your area, one at risk of folding — or needing to increase capacity — with each vile action the President and his staff make. Dedicate your time or talents to helping them out.
Commit to taking one action every day, or one every week. I’m dedicated to taking one action every day. Sometimes its just signing a petition, sometime it’s writing a postcard, sometimes its making a phone call. But every single day since November 9 I have done something to fight back. If all 66 million of us who voted for Hillary Clinton for president, along with everyone who was disenfranchised in this election, was able to find the energy to take one small action every day, or one larger action every week, can you imagine? Can you imagine 66 million postcards arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
I know that time and money are scarce for so many of us, especially those who are being harmed by this administration. That’s how it works: the Republicans seek out those without as many resources to pick on because they are weak bullies. So the rest of us need to fight back harder. If you’re part of any majority group, please focus on ways you can use that access to amplify the voices of those who are marginalized.
Stay pissed, but also enjoy life as much as you can. Hillary Clinton should be our president. The current President should have been forced to crawl back to his gilded cage to live out the rest of his days bitterly. Each new horrific action makes me angry, stresses me out, and causes me to lament my fellow white people who elected him. But I also know that as much as is possible, I need to keep living a life that represents my values. Part of that is fighting back, but part of that is taking a step back when I need to so I can regroup. I literally can’t read Twitter all day every day, and that’s okay.
You aren’t in charge. You may think you don’t have power. But you do. We all do.
Don’t give up.