The first rule of surviving this Trump White House: We don’t do the fetal position.
Each day we get hit with a new set of actions and statements that are as enraging as they are harmful. As #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza wrote earlier this week, “If there was ever a time to activate our organizer super powers, this is it.”
And here’s how we fight back: we assemble and deploy our own WMDs - Weapons of Mass Disruption.
1. Our votes. Quick – when is the next election? If your first thought is of the 1,374 days until November 3, 2020, then come sit by me, dear. If you’re aware that New Jersey and Virginia hold their state elections in November 2017, high five for you! But the real answer is that elections for state and local offices are already underway across the country. On February 7, the school board election in Albuquerque, NM will determine whether anti-LGBT tea-party-backed candidates are successful in defeating supporters of the district's new transgender-inclusive bathroom policy. Find out when your next local election is – then make sure to vote and get your friends to turn out too. Given that 36 states will elect their governors in 2018 – including nearly all of those states where governors will play a role in 2020 redistricting efforts – we need to start our voter registration and mobilization efforts today.
2. Our civic advocacy. From the Indivisible Guide to this weekly action checklist, there’s been an explosion of resources and efforts to help us engage our elected officials. We need to flood town halls when members of Congress return to their districts February 20 week. We need to call our public servants and hold them accountable not only for their votes but how they use their positions of power. (I’m looking at you Senator Schumer!) And if you’re a DC resident, you don’t get a pass. Trump lost 96 percent of our vote and, if each of us adopts five friends in swing states, we can mobilize 1.5 million voters together. Call it taxation with indirect representation!
3. Our ability to run. How bad does it have to get before you decide to run for office? As the old adage goes, if you’re not sitting at the table, you’re on the menu. Rather than simply advocating for or protesting against a bill, you can be one of the public servants who drafts and sponsors them. Ignite change with EMILY’s List and Emerge America. Build power with Latino Victory Fund. Move democracy forward with The New American Leaders Project. Don’t just march – run! – with the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute. Do it now. Run for something.
4. Our sustained activism. Tell me what democracy looks like! The Women’s March is what democracy looks like! Over five million of us joined together to take to the streets – including one million in D.C., making it the largest single-day protest in our nation’s capital. And it all started when a retired grandmother in Hawaii reached out to 40 friends to join her in protesting Trump. The full impact of the march is still TBD – and it largely depends on how much we return to life as usual. We’re in this marathon of resistance together, so sign up for alerts and donate to national groups like the ACLU and new efforts like #AllofUs. (Once again, DCers – no pass. Check out these tips on how to resist from within the Beltway.) Mark your calendars for April 15 (Trump’s Tax March), June 11 (National Pride March), and the TBA Science March, which is open to “anyone who values empirical science.” Yup, our scientists are marching. Sheet just got real.
5. Our legal champions. Quick – who’s your attorney general? If your first thought was “god help us if it’s that racist Sen. Sessions,” then come sit on the other side of me, dear. If you thought of your state attorney general, then high five for you! Some of our most powerful sources of resistance will come from progressive champions like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who won a $25 million settlement against Trump “University.” Our attorneys general will get assistance from wicked smart lawyers like Paul Smith at the Campaign Legal Center, who is using our judiciary to fight back against gerrymandering and other injustices. And with all that’s at stake with the Supreme Court, we need everyone involved in this fight as much as we need all life-extending thoughts sent to the Notorious RBG.
6. Our networks. Our power grows stronger with collective action. And no fascist sexual predator can match our power. We need togetherness now more than ever. And I don’t just mean the online kind. Our fight for marriage equality was successful in large part because we activated our networks and engaged in one-on-one conversations. So yes, stay informed through (fact-checked!) social media and briefings like the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s daily round up of the news. Then look up from your phone and talk with someone. Join and support your local and professional unions. If coffee klatches aren’t your thing, then organize a weekly Drinking Liberally happy hour, brunch for boycotts, or speed dating for protest sign makers.
7. Our faith. I saved this one for last not because it’s least important but because it’s at the foundation of all else. This marathon of resistance is a life-long commitment. It requires self-care and connection. Whatever your personal definition of spirituality is, we need faith to nurture our souls, keep us grounded in what we believe to be right, and guide us in the dark days ahead. Think of how hard this week has been. Now multiple that by 208, the number of weeks until the next inauguration. We need faith to keep us committed to the resistance and reminding us that so much of this is #notnormal. Especially during moments of moral atrocity like Trump’s executive order on refugees, we can speak out as people of faith and through our local and global faith communities. We can even use our voices to call out those conservative elected officials who wrap themselves in cloaks of Christianity around issues of family planning and sexual orientation, but seem to lose their voice when children are being murdered in Syria.
The resistance is strong. The resistance is fired up. Now let’s go deploy our Weapons of Mass Disruption. The other option is just too damn terrifying.