Do you miss Obama yet? Wish we could go back to 2016, live that forsaken year all over again if it meant the country could have a do-over? You’re not alone. In fact, the popular majority of American voters agree! But all bitterness over the Electoral College and the current state of affairs aside, let’s agree that we have a lot of work to do. Donald Trump’s vision for America is not one that I want to see unfold over the next four years, so I’ve compiled some resources to help keep his delusions from becoming reality. Consider this your comprehensive guide to resisting.
The first thing to remember about angry dissenters is that we’re capable of getting loud. The Women’s March on D.C., which occurred just after Trump’s inauguration, drew in record-breaking crowds across the world. Although plenty was said about the historic nature of that day, not much has been brought up about following up on the march. In fact, the Women’s March was never intended to be a one-and-done deal — the organizers of the event planned 10 actions to take place during the first 100 days of Trump’s term. The first action, of course, was the march itself. The second action, which took place during the first week of February, involved various “huddles” across the country — small groups of like-minded individuals who gathered to discuss ideas for future efforts and send postcards to Congressmen. The entire agenda of actions has not been announced yet, but you can add your email address to a list at womensmarch.com/100 to get notified about local events.
Another surefire way to be heard going forward is to take five minutes out of your day to make some calls to your Congressperson. While writing to your local representative is important and often a better way to articulate specific points of your concern, calls can be much more impactful for an important reason — tallies. Staffers keep a tally of calls received regarding specific issues, then report the numbers back to legislators as an indication of how strongly their constituents feel about the issues. The website 5calls.org is a great way to reach out if you have no idea where to start. The site uses your location to provide you with the most relevant contact information, and allows you to choose issues you deem important from a list. If talking on the phone is not your strong suit, the website also provides a script that you can use to make your message come across clearly and ensure your call is tallied. When you call, you may find that the lines are full for whoever you are trying to reach, particularly if a high-stakes vote is about to take place. Don’t get discouraged — leaving a message with your home address will ensure you are still added to the tally.
While we’re on the topic, if you’re going to be reaching out to your members of Congress, you ought to know how best to have an impact. How do you, one constituent among millions, get hard-headed conservative politicians to listen to your progressive agenda? One valuable resource to help you with this question is the Indivisible Guide, an online publication that you can download to learn exactly how to organize grassroots efforts to stop the agenda of the Trump administration through Congress. The guide covers how the Tea Party movement effectively blocked attempts at reform by the Obama administration and also lays out how members of Congress think. You’ll learn how to look into their voting record and campaign contributors, as well as other vital information that can be advantageous to know when reaching out to them. You can find the guide at indivisibleguide.com.
If you’re someone who likes the idea of taking to the streets, making clever signs, and marching the old-fashioned way, consider attending the March for Science on April 22nd. The march is planned to let the scientific community voice their concerns about Trump’s questionable stances on the fate of the EPA, conservation, performing and sharing research on climate and public health, and more. As with the Women’s March, the main March for Science will be taking place in Washington, D.C. while several satellite marches happen simultaneously across the country. For more information on the march in Dallas, you can visit dallasmarch.com or follow @ScienceMarchDAL on Twitter.
In addition to the political action taking place around the DFW area, there is plenty to take part in right here on campus. A great way to start is by joining one or more of the many political organizations that UTD has to offer. This includes, but is not limited to, College Democrats, UTD Democratic Socialists, and Texas Rising — all organizations with a progressive mindset and goal to fight back against injustices committed by our government.
Of course, in the coming four years, the absolute best way to make a difference in policy is to simply go out and vote. This seems like a no-brainer, but according to CNN Politics, voter turnout reached a 20-year low in 2016 — 59% nationally and only 51% statewide. Given that 2016 was a presidential election year, those numbers will only drop for the 2018 midterm elections. Compare those still to odd-year local elections, and our democracy seems pretty pitiful. The problem with local and midterm elections, however, is that they simply don’t get the amount of coverage and hype that we’re used to seeing with presidential elections. As a result, voters often find themselves hopelessly uninformed about their options. This is where the League of Women Voters comes in. The League is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization founded in 1920 to help educate voters and promote democracy. During each election, the League of Women Voters publishes a Voters Guide that includes information about what to bring to the polls and the candidates on the ballot, including candidate responses to questions posed by the League. In addition to the national League, there are local Leagues in all 50 states, and 27 different chapters in Texas alone. There is a local chapter for Dallas, Richardson, and Plano-Collin County for those interested in getting involved. You can find out more about the organization at lwv.org or find a local chapter at lwvtexas.org.
We have a long four years ahead of us. That doesn’t mean we have to sit idly by and watch the country divide further — we can’t afford to. Grassroots organization is a powerful thing, and every little bit of action helps. This administration is going to do everything in its power to test our strength as a nation. Are you ready to get to work?