“What can we do?” people keep asking me. “What can we do to stop Donald Trump?” So many tell me they feel too frozen to do anything to save our democracy.
There is a solution, and it’s not what you think. It’s this: Stop making it about Donald Trump. Shift your focus to the issues — and American values, which are worth fighting for. Call your elected officials and express your opinion. Put their numbers in your phone, and use them.
Do you want to keep Obamacare, Medicare, and Social Security? Do you want Congress to address climate change? You have to remind the people who will be voting for or against any legislation.
No one else is coming to your rescue. If you are constrained from speaking, give money to organizations who will speak on your behalf. (Remember when Ben Franklin said, “A republic, if you can keep it”?) If the only voices your elected official hears are from the opposition, they will vote accordingly. I can’t stress this enough.
- Are you horrified at the Trump nominations to cabinet positions? Call your elected officials and ask if they’re going to support them. Make it clear you do not support his choices, and say why.
- It’s better to call the satellite offices than their D.C. locations. They pay more attention to local calls.
- It’s even better if you write a letter or postcard. (Email petitions and email forms on their websites are almost worthless. Same with tweets, or Facebook comments. Sorry!)
People say to me, “What’s the point? My senator’s a conservative Republican.” Don’t give up. The Republican leadership asks them how many calls or letters they got against an issue. Yours will help.
Some people are reluctant to take part for personal reasons — undocumented status, for example. Certainly, no one expects you to take undue risk. But for those of you who are uncomfortable with calling because you’re shy, or you’ve never done it before, get over your discomfort. Your country needs you.
Remember: Elected officials work for us. There’s nothing unreasonable about telling them what you want them to do.