I just returned from the Women’s March on Washington, and for the first time since November, I have hope for this country. Marching among millions of like-minded folks of all ages, genders, nationalities and classes was as uplifting as I imagined it would be. The marches on Saturday were a shot across President Donald Trump’s bow, and the shot in the arm we all needed to begin the resistance.
It very much felt like the beginning of a movement. But what exactly does that movement look like?
There will be more protests, for sure. If Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, we will take to the streets again. But in the meantime, here are things we all can do to make it harder for the GOP to destroy Barack Obama’s America:
1. Read the news.
Subscribe to news organizations and read as many of them as your time will permit. Especially now that Trump has journalists in his cross-hairs, we need to make sure that independent, fact-based newspapers have the resources to investigate and analyze his every move.
2. Help win the House back.
Republicans have a 47-vote majority in the House of Representatives. It will be an uphill battle to win the House back in the 2018 election, because so few seats are actually competitive. But it’s worth a shot, and you can help make it happen.
California has several swing districts where winning is possible, including that of Republican Congressman Jeff Denham of Modesto, who won his seat by only 3.4 percent of the vote. Then there’s Democratic Congressman Ami Bera of Rancho Cordova, who won by only 2.3 percent, who will need help holding on to his seat.
Sign up with Swingleft.org, and they will figure out the swing district closest to you and get you involved in that race through fundraising and volunteering.
3. Take action daily.
At the Women’s March, filmmaker Michael Moore suggested calling Congress every day. Make it a part of your morning routine. The number for the main switchboard at the U.S. Capitol is (202) 224-3121; ask the operator for your Congress member or Senator and give them a piece of your mind.
Don’t know what to say? Sign up for 100DaysofResistance.org and dailyaction.org: The former will inform you of the atrocity of the day; the latter will send you one text message every workday about an urgent issue and give you the reasons why it matters.
Here in the Bay Area, most of our representatives are liberal or radical progressives, so you might think your calls won’t matter. Au contraire!
Regardless of your representative’s leaning, his or her office tallies those calls and uses them to make the case for the progressive position. Sen. Kamala Harris will cite your calls in the speeches she gives, particularly if the numbers are overwhelming.
4. Quit it with the hate.
Here in our progressive Bay Area bubble, we see a lot of anger aimed at Republicans. I, too, am guilty of referring to Trump voters as ignorant bigots. But as Van Jones said in his speech at the Women’s March, rather than demeaning these citizens, we should open our hearts to them, because they will be hurt the most in this administration.
The working-class voters who supported Trump pinned their hopes on his promises, but his cabinet of billionaires and oil tycoons is going to gut the very government programs upon which many of them rely. The sooner we bring the red-hat voters back into the fold, the sooner we win our country back.
5. Form your own resistance.
You have friends and family who are just as fired up as you are. Form a Facebook group, email list or phone tree of these folks who want to get more involved. Then, divide and conquer: Every member should pick an issue they care the most about and take responsibility for alerting the group when Congress or the White House threatens your values.
Want to learn the basics of grassroots advocacy? Check out this guide by former Congressional staffers at indivisibleguide.com.
6. Run for office.
Yes, you. I’ve run for office several times and I can tell you it is not nearly as scary as you might think. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but if you really want to make a change, running is the best way to make a difference — even if you don’t win. Losing candidates can shape the conversation in a race, and they make the winner a better elected official.
If you’re a woman, look up Emerge California and Vote Run Lead, two organizations that train women for political leadership. If you’re not, consider supporting these organizations to help bring on the matriarchy. Because after the marches this weekend, I think we can all agree the future is female.
Alix Rosenthal is a municipal attorney, nasty woman and progressive activist who mentors and trains women to run for political office. She can be found on Twitter at @alixro and her blog is at www.votealix.com.