Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Talky Tuesday: Where We Go From Here

It's never too late to become an engaged citizen! Especially if right now you're an enraged one. Here are the easy things to do that don't involve uncomfortable conversations with people you care about:

1. I will repeat what others have been saying for a while now: call your representatives. I mean, if you want to make any point to them ever, you need to call them, but if you give a shit about anything touched by the Trump presidency then you need to conquer your phone anxiety and call them right the fuck now. Tweets and Facebook comments are useless; letters aren't quite as useless but aren't as good as phone calls. Here's an example of what to say to them (concerning Stephen Bannon):
If your congresscritter is a Democrat or Independent: “Hi, I’m [Name], one of [Name’s] constituents. I am calling because I strongly believe that the [Senator/Representative] should follow the lead of their colleagues, such as Ed Markey and Nancy Pelosi, in condemning President-Elect Trump’s appointment of a white supremacist misogynist, Stephen Bannon, as his chief of strategy and chief counsel.” 
If your congresscritter is a Republican: “Hello. Hi, I’m [Name], one of [Name’s] constituents. I’m calling to ask if you can confirm your candidate’s position on white supremacy and white nationalism for me.” 
After they answer, then you say, “In that case, I would call on the [Congress(man/woman)/Senator] to condemn President-Elect Trump’s appointment of a white supremacist misogynist, Stephen Bannon, as his chief of strategy and chief counsel in no uncertain terms.”
They may ask your address. Give them the address from which you vote. It’s how they confirm you are for reals.
You can fill in any cause you think is important, of course.

2. Also, call all your representatives. If there's one thing I learned from The Great Suppression, it's that local elections and regulations can be significant bulwarks against bullshit. They can also be great promoters of it. Who represents you at the state level? Get their contact information and give them the same spiel. Remember to vote in those piddly little dog catcher races as well.

3. You can pony up some cash and/or time for good causes: the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU might be a good place to start. Volunteering is good if you have the time and ability to do so.

4. You can also pony up cash for good reporting. ProPublica is a place to start. Also look for who's doing investigative reporting on a more local level. (For me, it's Walter Brasch.)

5. Don't forget to also follow the good reporting once you pony up. Snopes is another good place you can add to your RSS feed so that you see bullshit stories debunked before your racist aunt shares them on Facebook.

6. Read this article on how to engage with everyday bigotry. Knowing what you can say, or how you can articulate your feelings when you are too flabbergasted to think properly, can be the difference between speaking up and staying silent.

(We should all make the good faith effort to have the uncomfortable conversation with someone we care about, especially the straight and white among us. But sometimes we can't and that's okay.)

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