Regardless of which side of the fence (or wall) you occupy, the 2016 Presidential Election has probably drummed up some strong emotions in you. You’re either furious, disheartened, sickened and anxious, or you’re jubilant, encouraged, validated and optimistic.
It’s time to channel all that energy into something good. It’s time to end the gloating, or the wallowing, whichever the case may be, and actually do something. I’m talking to myself here, too!
Since we don’t all have the ability or the desire to run for public office, here are some suggestions for walking the political walk as an active and concerned citizen.
- Pay attention. Arm yourself with knowledge of what’s going on in Congress and with the Executive Branch. Read the news from different sources. Don’t take everything at face value. If you see a politician say or do something that concerns you, contact that person’s office and let your opinion be known.
- Put your money (and time) where your beliefs are. Are you passionate about certain causes and groups of people? Make a short list of organizations you would like to support. Then decide how you will support them—with time, money, or both. Budget your time and money for the coming year accordingly.
- Start at home. Many a movement has started in a hometown and branched out to the entire country, or even to the world. Think about what you can do locally to improve your community. Will you tutor or mentor underprivileged youth? Will you donate or raise awareness for the local food bank? Will you help gather Christmas gifts for struggling families? Will you volunteer to speak at local schools? How will you serve your friends and neighbors?
- Dial down social media. If you’re inundated with political vomit in your social media news feed, try uninstalling the Facebook app from your phone for a few days. You can also unfollow or unfriend people who steal your joy with their incendiary and ignorant posts. It’s just not worth the headache.
- Get in touch with your political representatives. Visit this site to find your representative in the U.S. House: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. Visit this site to find your U.S. Senator: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/. Click here to find information on your state legislature: https://www.congress.gov/state-legislature-websites. It’s as easy as a phone call, an email or a letter.
- Above all else, don’t lose hope. Here’s a little glimmer of inspiration for you.
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”— Harry S. Truman
“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”—Alexis de Tocqueville
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”—John F. Kennedy
God bless America, regardless of her many imperfections.
Here are some articles with wonderful ideas on specific causes you can support:
If You’re Overwhelmed by The Election, Here’s What You Can Do Now
What Can I Do Right Now?
Forget “Why?”, it’s time to get to work.