The Way Forward: Do Something!

By Barbara Altman, Editor

It’s barely two weeks after the election, and my stomach won’t settle down.  The punch in the gut from the Electoral College results has subsided to a constant low-grade indigestion.  Instead of feeling well-earned elation from Brad’s, Tammy’s, Susana’s, and others’ hard-won victories, I’m feeling despair about the future.

Nothing that the incoming administration has announced to date is alleviating those feelings.  We’re contemplating an opponent of strengthening the Voting Rights Act, with a record of racist rhetoric, as Attorney General, an Islamophobic hawk with ties to Putin as National Security Advisor, a promoter of White Nationalist ideas as a special advisor, and an unprecedented merger of family, business, and government to a degree that takes concerns about conflicts of interest to a whole new level.  As someone very near and dear to me put it, Trump appears prepared to drain the swamp straight into his own pockets.

What to do?

Hoping for the best is not an option.  For the good of our world, our nation, our communities, our families, and ourselves, we must take action.  Here are my suggestions, in no particular order.  (In a post-election conversation on November 21, these suggestions, and many others, were discussed by more than 200 deeply concerned residents of the 10th Congressional District.  A report of that conversation can be found on p. __.)

  • Join Tenth Dems and become an active volunteer. There is power – and there is solace – in teaming up with like-minded people who share a common goal.
  • Donate to organizations that work for what you believe in. Whether your concerns are the environment, Social Security, Medicare, women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, gun violence prevention, voting rights, or all of the above, there are organizations that will use your money to promote your beliefs.  And that includes Tenth Dems.
  • Make your voice heard by your elected officials. Write to legislators.  Call their offices.  And don’t limit yourself to communicating with Democrats.  Yes, strengthen the resolve of Democrats to stand up for their values.  Then spend an equal amount of energy telling Republicans how strongly you disagree with what they’re planning to do.  Write letters.  Make phone calls.  Then do it again.
  • Participate in peaceful demonstrations.  History shows that protests can move policy.  Stand up for what you believe in.
  • Listen, learn, and speak out. As difficult as it may be for those of us privileged to live in Chicagoland, we need to listen to those we disagree with.  Yes, continue to watch MSNBC and CNN.  But tune into Fox News often enough to know what that network’s millions of viewers are hearing.  Listen respectfully to opposing viewpoints and try to find common ground.  But if someone repeats untruths or maligns other people, whether individually or as groups, respectfully call them out.  And read enough so that when you do call people out, you know what you’re talking about.
  • Stay engaged in the political process. Many of us worked our hearts out over the last weeks and months to help elect Democrats up and down the ticket.  It was not in vain.  We made a difference.  Our district voted overwhelmingly for nearly all of our candidates.  We must continue this effort, through the 2017 municipal elections (today’s mayors are tomorrow’s statewide or national leaders), and on to the 2018 congressional and gubernatorial elections.

Join us! Help elect Democrats in our area:

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