The concept of a “loyal opposition” is an important part of a healthy body politic. It illustrates that we may “may oppose the policies of the incumbent government … while maintaining deference to the higher authority of the state and the larger framework within which democracy operates.” Note that this is not rote obstructionism (examples of which we’ve seen used against the previous President to good effect), but rather a patriotic model for responsible citizenship.
This page has suggestions for living this.
Accept the results of the election and move on from re-litigating it to engaging with the results.
It will be tempting to stay focused on the 2016 election and to fight over it. It’s human to want to stay on a root source of our current issues, especially when others may disagree with twhy and how it happened.
But doing this is not an effective way to engage on the issues and events that come up during the Trump administration. It’s ‘fighting the last war’ when we are all needed in the what’s going on here and now.
Affirm to yourself and create a reminder: “This is not normal.”
John Oliver, in his post-election wrap up, at one point made a very important point that is worth watching and reaffirming: That what we have seen thus far is not normal and that it’s dangerous if we ever grow accustomed to it.
We should be open to being surprised by Donald Trump governing responsibly and respectfully. If he does, we should support and encourage that. If that is not the case though, it’s incumbent on us not to grow used to a ‘new normal’ that he may promulgate.
Sign up for (and support) legitimate news.
- New York Times daily
- Washington Post
Support (and sign up for) core organizations that support American democracy.
- Center for Public Integrity
- Reporters without Borders
- Union of Concerned Scientists
Support (and sign up for) progressive causes that need you.
- Planned Parenthood
- Sierra Club
- Center for American Progress
- Head Start
Find a small way to be out and proud.
Whether it’s wearing a safety pin on your shirt, putting a bumper sticker on your car, or adding a button to your backpack or purse - something small and present can make a regular difference to others, and serve as a reminder to yourself that we are all called to serve in times like these.
Speak up in everyday moments.
This is probably the most difficult of these and you won’t always be up for it. But there will be tiny, everyday moments when someone around you casually affirms the some of the disturbing trends of the Trump presidency. When you can, try to politely but sincerely speak up at some point to disagreemenet or concern.
You don’t need to try to change the other person’s mind (it’s often not possible to do that in one moment), but it’s critical in these times to try and speak up in support of what we believe in and to show that good people can disagree on the direction the country may be going.
Find local events where citizens are coming together to discuss current events, plan for ways to organize and push back, and support each other. You’ll find strength and reinforcement in these groups and your showing up give energy to everyone else coming to those.
- Search for progressive or interest groups that you are passionate about in your area on meetup.com.
- Look up your local Democratic Party and find out when they meet.
- Look up the phone numbers for your US Senators and Congress members and, whenever ssomething seems particularly wrong headed - call them and tell them so. You’ll either speak with a low level staffer or get their voicemail, but they make a note of how many people call, on what issues, and what side they are on, so this matters..
- Write a brief letter to the editor of your local paper. They print those and people read them.
Make a Plan
All of the above are ideas for activity, but ideas don’t matter if they don’t lead to action…
Allow yourself to still laugh and be happy…