I hadn’t meant to be silent this long. I’ve written several partial posts, and early this month I wrote a complete post on third-party voting and protest votes that got swallowed by the great null, and I’m still upset about that because it was some of my best writing in the past few years.
Then the election happened. To be honest, I think that broke me a bit.
So here we are. We’ve elected a know-nothing huckster and a theocratic nightmare to executive office, we’ve handed both houses of Congress to the party of human suffering, and because the Democrats didn’t bother to fight over the Supreme Court appointment we can expect a conservative activist judge to replace the last conservative activist judge.
The Southern Poverty Law Center documented 701 incidents of hate in the week after the election. The “Alt-Right”, which I’ll remind you is just a re-branding of white nationalism, (yes, including actual fucking nazis) has been celebrating, and here in San Francisco there has been a palpable chill in daily life, punctuated by demonstrations.
I’ve heard several reports of young trans people committing suicide. I’ve not bothered to try confirming those, because I’m depressed enough already, but it’s worth mentioning that nobody found that hard to believe.
So what can we do about it?
First, find out which elected officials represent you. There’s an excellent tool for that here. There’s also some really good resources here, which is in general a site worth bookmarking for all the handy information on it. Get the contact information for everyone representing you, both the U.S. Congress and your state legislature, and make a handy list for yourself.
Then contact them. It’s actually pretty easy to make an appointment and see them in person, which probably has the best impact on them. Next is a phone call, and then writing a letter, and finally an email is still better than nothing.
I don’t know what your life is like, what resources you have and what challenges you face, so I won’t tell you how much to invest in this. But do something. Even if it’s just a form letter email that you change the names on and send out to everyone, that’s a hell of a lot better than griping on facebook.
I’m also going to echo the words of P. Andrew Torrez, from the Opening Arguments podcast, that if you only have health insurance because Obamacare forced insurance companies to provide coverage even for those with pre-existing conditions, you can make a big impact by making an appointment and looking them in the eyes and telling them how repealing the Affordable Care Act will affect you. Even Ted Cruz is not so reptilian that he’d be unmoved by looking at someone’s actual face while they explain that if the ACA is repealed they will die.
On a side note, if you’re not listening to Opening Arguments, you should be.
Get involved. Talk to your reps, even if you didn’t vote for them, even if their platform is everything you abhor. We have a representative government and it is literally their job to care what you think. Don’t be rude to them, don’t be defensive, there’s no need to even get confrontational; just make it clear where you stand.
Somehow we’ve forgotten that this is how our government is supposed to work. We get caught up in protests and big dramatic demonstrations, and those certainly have their place, but they mean nothing if people don’t participate in the government. It does no good to raise awareness if people, once aware of the problem, do nothing about it.
I’ll try to be back with more soon. I’m long overdue for a Constitution post, and also I’ve been falling out of the habit of writing, which must be maintained.
As always, thank you for reading, share your thoughts in the comments, and please take care of each other.