The Keys To Political Activism - The Fold

The Keys To Political Activism: How To Get Involved Here and Now

We've no time to waste, so today we are breaking down the steps to engaging in American democracy, here and now.
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Original artwork by Rosie Bowker

Original artwork by Rosie Bowker

Justice Kennedy is out, incivility is in, and it's all a mess. We're fighting for reproductive rights, for immigrants and their children, for women to feel safe in the workplace (and every place), for religious liberty, labor rights, common sense gun reform, accessible healthcare. The list goes on, and yet many of the women I know are looking for a way to answer the ever-present question, “But what can I do?” 

Barack Obama said at a fundraiser recently, "If what you are doing requires no sacrifice at all, then you can do more. If you are one of these folks who is watching cable news at your cocktail parties with your friends and you are saying 'civilization is collapsing' and you are nervous and worried, but that is not where you are putting all your time, energy and money, then either you don't actually think civilization is collapsing…or you are not pushing yourself hard enough and I would push harder."

Decide on your rules of engagement and engage. We need it. A few suggestions for doing so: 

Understand the stakes. Right now regarding the Supreme Court: "Our rights hang in the balance," here's what happens post-nomination, and here's who the establishment is supporting. There is historical evidence that may tip the scale against reproductive rights, so keep a close watch on confirmation hearings. And here are a few ideas for immediate action. Regarding immigration: It’s now a family detainment policy, but long-term detainment is being fought, and the A.C.L.U.’s battle to reunite families is happening. Regarding mass shootings: It’s almost always men, and “the fight is also about the idea that any woman owes any man anything.”

Acknowledge history. It feels like democracy is burning down here and now, but people have been forced into unrest for as long as our country has existed. If you are uncomfortable with our current state of affairs, acknowledge the communities who have felt under attack for decades.

Vote. This is a midterm election year, which means that in November, we will decide where the balance of power lies. Do not underestimate this singular power of yours — four years ago, only 36 percent of Americans cast ballots in the midterm elections. If you sit out, you allow someone else to take your seat.

Donate. Money matters. Needles are moved with resources. It may not seem like you are "doing enough" by donating, but know front-line advocates wouldn't be able to lead the charge without funds.

Care more. Speak up and out and often, but also listen. Find your voice on issues you care about. Talk about privilege, inclusivity, marginalized communities and racism. But also, listen to others about sexism, gaslighting and gerrymandering. Democracy is best upheld through an open mind and a willingness to give opposition due process. But know your boundaries, and respect theirs and yours.

Tell us, what is going on in your community and in your spaces? Are you reaching out and engaging? How can we help?