In recent weeks, I think many of us have wondered what’s next. As Trump continues to pick white nationalists, billionaires, climate deniers and anti-science extremists to hold some of the most important positions in America, it’s easy to believe that it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.
But as scary as it is, these feelings of powerlessness and fear are exactly what Trump supporters were acting on when they selected him at the ballot. We can’t give them that satisfaction.
In Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, progressive former Congressional staffers outline the ways in which the Tea Party used grassroots organization and local focus to accomplish incredible feats for an organization of its size. Although the piece reiterates multiple times that progressives are not the Tea Party, and that “The Tea Party’s ideas were wrong, and their behavior was often horrible,” he also shows that the Tea Party was, in many ways, effective in organizing, creating change and empowering people — even if we don’t agree with their values.
So if Trump’s election has motivated you to get political and get your voice heard, here’s how to start:
- Find a local organization of like-minded people (or make one).
- Figure out who your Congressmen, state senator and state representative are.
- Get your elected officials’ attention and hold them accountable.
Finding (or making) a local organization
The progressive staffers noted that Tea Party groups were “small, local, and organized,” and often had “ten people or fewer.” Compared to the intimidation of fighting an entire congress or president-elect, organizing ten people seems pretty doable, and that’s all you need to start influencing policy.
Effective groups can start as a group of frustrated, motivated progressives having coffee and discussing politics. Follow policy news and start thinking about how and when to contact your elected officials.
Finding out who represents you
You can use the govtrack website to find out who represents you in Congress. And just visit Open States to find out who your state senator and representative are. Familiarize yourself with their policies and records and jot down their phone numbers and email addresses.
Get your elected officials’ attention and hold them accountable
Once you have your group together, start planning a schedule of phone calls to Congressional offices, office visits and town hall meeting attendance. Getting your elected officials’ attention is easier than you may think. Just 10 phone calls to a statewide politician will let them know that there is movement and passion behind the issue you’re calling about. When you talk to them (or leave messages), be sure to make it clear where you stand on the issue and why, and let them know that you will continue fighting back against Trump-style legislation at every turn. Then, pat yourself on the back and start picking your next battle.
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