In the face of so many problems it might seem difficult—impossible even—to counteract what’s happening in this country. Trump and his Republican Congress are going to pass pretty much anything they want for the next two years (remember midterm elections are very important in 2018!) So finding your niche of resistance is going to be the best thing you can do for your country right now. Here’s 15 ways to do just that!
1 – FIND A CENTER OF RESISTANCE
Sometimes when I sit in front of my computer, wanting to write a letter or share information, I have no idea what to do! There’s so much going on it’s hard to get a handle on what’s most important. While Trump is banning Muslims from entering the country, Congress is cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, and the Attorney General is rolling back protections for trans kids. What’s an activist to do?!
If you have difficulty concentrating and deciding what to do in this miasma of information, select a source to guide you. The websites listed below give action items for calling/emailing your representatives. Some provide scripts and advice on how to get your point across easily. A few send texts or emails to give you a heads-up on the week’s most important issues, while others allow you to check their daily updated lists when it’s convenient for you. Find the one that is right for you and use it regularly to contact your reps on important issues.
It’s Time to Fight – This is the one I use. I love the lists and links to more info. It’s run by a Congressional staffer and colleagues so has inside info about what to do, who to contact, and the most pressing issues.
The Indivisible Guide – This is an all-in-one with scripts, calendars, a guide and more
Movement to Oppose Trump – Sign-up for a newsletter from Michael Skolnik on what you can do to oppose Trump
Daily Action – Sign up for text alerts on what you can do to join the Resistance
10 Actions in 100 Days – Join organizers of the Women’s March in 10 actions in 100 days
5 Calls – Visit 5 Calls for info, scripts, and numbers to call your representatives
Note: I also keep a notebook specifically for jotting down concerns I have for my MoCs (Members of Congress) or actions I need to take later. I see so many important things discussed on Twitter and in news articles that I can’t remember them all, or I’m unable to address them at that moment.
2 – HOLD GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE & UNDERSAND WHAT IS HAPPENING
If we don’t know what the heck they’re doing, it feels impossible to oppose even the simplest things. Congress uses every trick in the book to pass what they want when they want and avoid accountability to their constituents. They’ll hold votes in the middle of the night, use obscure rules to pass a resolution off to a committee so it never sees the House floor, and avoid town hall meetings where their constituents can tell them what they think of their actions. And they’ve counted on us being uniformed and sticking our heads in the sand for years. So let’s change the game. They’re already reeling from our active participation, so let’s keep it up and do so intelligently.
The sites below are specifically designed to inform the viewers of exactly what our government is up to, what it can mean for the country, and when they are doing it. Though these and the ones above overlap in many ways, find the one (or ones) that works best for your style of resistance.
Countable.us – Summaries of legislation, contact lawmakers, and see how they voted
What the Fuck Just Happened Today? – Summaries of what happened in the world of politics and what it means for you in words that are understandable! Archives past summaries so you can read about everything since Day 1 of Trump Administration.
Resistance Manual – Kind of a one-stop shop for info, contacts, links, and everything you need to hold your government accountable
3 – PREPARE FOR MIDTERM ELECTIONS IN 2018
House Representatives are up for re-election every two years so all 435 House seats will be on the ballot in 2018, and 33 of the 100 Senate seats are up for re-election too. Not all of these seats are possible swing seats. Some are firmly entrenched Republican or Democrat districts and we don’t need to worry about those a whole lot. Though if you live in one of those districts get out and vote no matter what! We can never take things for granted.
But now is the perfect time to find a swing district nearest you and volunteer, be vocal on social media about your support for your candidate, or even candidates in other districts where you know people who live there. It’s time to be heard, so we need to get involved to make sure we swing the tide of Republican control of Congress.
Here are a few links to get you started, but be sure to contact your local DNC office to see where your talents could best help.
Swing Left – Organization dedicated to changing House seats from Red to Blue in 2018
Flippable – Same as above, but Flippable looks at ALL races, state and national, that can change the political landscape. They’re gearing up for races even in 2017 so get involved now!
Road to 2018 – Concerned with flippable seats as well as holding onto seats that are currently Democrat.
4 – FACT CHECK! FACT CHECK! FACT CHECK!
A while back RawStory posted an article about a local politician who groped a woman he worked with and claimed he could get away with it in the Trump-era. My initial response was, “You bastard! See! I knew this would happen!” But then I stepped back for a second. It fit too perfectly into the narrative I wanted to hear. It proved me right and vindicated my fears. That’s when I began to question it. So I did a minimal amount of research and found the local papers reporting the same story but without the politician ever uttering the words that damn Trump. Of course, he could have been thinking them. Or maybe the local papers didn’t report that information. Or maybe that part of the story never happened at all.
It’s far better to tuck the information away for later use if it proves true than to rant and rave about something that might be false. We need to be firmly on the side of truth and fact in this fight. There’s plenty of damning information out there, let’s only share the verified stuff. When I want to blow up about an issue, I think about a particular right-wing nut-job person I know. Do I want to sound like him, just Left? I’m sure there are those that already think I do, but for my part, I will try to operate from a place of fact and logic. Leave the hate-filled rhetoric and overreacting to the far Right.
-Fact check stories, even reasonable ones. There’s always another side to an issue.
-Use multiple sources, even news agencies that lean Right. Also use Snopes for fact checking.
-Don’t share questionable stories, or if you do, make sure your followers understand there might be more information we don’t yet know. Inaccurate reporting hurts our cause.
-Most of these points are about being reasonable & calm, but let me say here that if a fellow activist needs to vent their anger, don’t tone police. We all express ourselves in different ways and we need the angry and the calm to form our Resistance. It’s something I talk about in my post Angry Women if you care to read.
5 – CHOOSE A BATTLE
If it feels like there are too many issues and you’re drowning in what you can possibly do to make a difference, choose one battle and concentrate on that. Maybe it’s Trans rights, or LGBTQIA+ issues in a more general form. You might dedicate yourself to the immigration issue or combating xenophobia. Black Lives Matter, abortion rights, counteracting Islamophobia, healthcare, climate change, environmental issues, hate crimes, or the rise of authoritarianism are all important problems facing our country right now, and any one of them or others could use your support.
I’m not going to list links on this one because I could make an entire blog post about organizations you can join. You’ll have to do the research on this one yourself, but Google is an amazing resource, so I know you’ll find what you’re looking for.
One last word on this: don’t judge others—or let them judge you—for the issues all of you choose to champion. No one issue is more important than the other and it’s okay to focus your efforts on one thing. Someone else is always putting their efforts toward another. And together we can do it all if we each do our part. The important thing here isn’t which issue you choose to tackle, but that you join us in doing something.
6 – FOLLOW LEADERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I get a lot of my action information from people I follow on Twitter. I use Facebook too, but it’s a fairly GOP space for me, so most of my Resistance fighting is done through Twitter. Whatever social media form you most use, chances are good you can find some or all of these people there. I’m going to list some people that I have found invaluable to the cause and link to their Twitter accounts. Some also have Facebook and other accounts, so find the platform, and the people that help you thrive.
Also, try to find your Resistance Fighting Team. Some of you may have people in your “real” life to join with, others rely on online spaces. Like I said, my Facebook is decidedly GOP, and if I didn’t have Twitter I would being feeling a lot of despair right now. I need my Twitter family now more than ever, and it’s vital for you to be part of a support team as well. Both to receive encouragement and to give it.
Senator Cory Booker – Senator from New Jersey
Senator Bernie Sanders – Senator from Vermont (I have mixed feelings about Bernie, but he is a person to follow)
Senator Kamal Harris – Senator from California (I heard her speak at the Women’s March and was very impressed. I think we’ll be hearing a lot from her in the future.)
Find your own reps at Common Cause and then find their social media presence!
Senator Elizabeth Warren – Senator from Massachusetts
Evan McMullin – Independent with Republican leanings but instrumental in the fight against Trump
Jake Tapper – CNN anchor
Celeste Ng – Fellow YA writer with an insightful look & information into politics (former staffer, I think)
Celeste Pewter – Fellow writer, book blogger, and political staffer with insightful and very timely information into politics
Charles M. Blow – A journalist fighting the good fight
Deray McKesson – Activist and organizer
Van Jones – Writer and political pundit promoting the Love Army
Ana Navarro – Republican pundit vehemently opposed to Trump (I love her!)
Road to 2018 – Twitter account for Road to 2018
Dan Rather w/ News and Guts – Dan Rather is starting a new venture to share news in this era of post-truth Trumpism and you can follow him on various social media platforms
7 – PROTEST
Protesting the actions of this administration and GOP Congress is going to be an important step in keeping the momentum of the Resistance going. It’s our outward sign that we are not backing down from this fight, despite the long haul. Of course, we can’t make every protest, and don’t feel like you have to, but we need to be aware of protests happening so that if we can, we will be out there supporting our cause. Here are a few links to get you started, but feel free to organize your own protests. These things don’t pop up like magic. They take work and people dedicated enough to get them started. Be the change you want to see in the world.
March for Science – Join like-minded people in support of science-based initiatives in Washington DC or one of their many satellite marches on Earth Day, April 22. I’m planning to make one of the Michigan marches.
Black Lives Matter – We showed up for the Women’s March, now it’s time we start showing up for marches that maybe don’t directly affect us. We need to be there for all our Resistance siblings.
Resistance Calendar – Calendar of Resistance related activities around the country. Find one near you, or register your event for greater exposure.
Find a local townhall meeting of your MoC and attend. Prepare questions in advance. Do some research so you have an understanding of the issues and are better able to understand when you’re being given inaccurate or misleading facts. Find other ways to meet your MoC at local fairs, events, or check to see if they have a regular access day in which they can meet their constituents. Protesting is about being seen and heard in large numbers, and that can mean boosting attendance and participation in traditionally smaller events.
Above is a drop in the bucket of the protesting we can get involved in. Every cause from LGBTQIA+ Rights, to Trans Rights, to Women’s Healthcare will have their own protests and rallies. You just have to find the causes that mean the most to you and determine what you can contribute.
8 – Donate
Sometimes what the Resistance needs is money. Find organizations to make a donation too and help keep the fight going. Here a few that can always use funds, but there are so many more out there. Find the one that means the most to you.
Trans Lifeline – 501(c)3 dedicated to the well being of transgender people with a hotline and staff of transgender people
The Trevor Project – National organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQIA youth
Anti-Defamation League – ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.
American Civil Liberties Union – Non-profit, non-partisan organization fighting for civil rights for all people
Planned Parenthood – Now more than ever Planned Parenthood needs support to provide much needed healthcare to millions of women
Southern Poverty Law Center – Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.
Council on American-Islamic Relations – CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
KARAM Foundation – Non-profit organization providing education, aid and resources to Syrian refugee families
9 – GRAB YOUR WALLET
Our dollars can make a real impact right now, sending a message and hurting or helping where it’s needed most. From consumers refusing to buy Ivanka’s merchandise to standing by Starbucks when they pledged to hire 10,000 refugees over five years to purchasing merchandise where the proceeds go to a charity, we are using our dollars to be heard in a substantial way. And since we all know the only thing Donald understands is the sound of money, it’s one of our best tools in the Resistance.
Purchase merchandise where proceeds go to charity:
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – some of Sam’s products fund various charity organizations such as her Bad Dudes shirt that funds the KARAM Foundation
Nasty Women Unite – 15% of proceeds from this line on The Outrage website is donated to Planned Parenthood in Donald Trump’s name
7 Beauty Brands that Donate to Women’s Charities on StyleCaster
Grab Your Wallet has a long list of products and companies to boycott that either directly relate to Trump’s financial empire, sell Trump products or have taken stances in favor of GOP and Trump policies.
Democratic Coalition has a Boycott Trump app for your phone
Purchase subscriptions to major newspapers, or even your local. Show Trump what we think of his attack on the free media by boosting sales of these publications, sharing them online, and keeping ourselves informed and engaged.
I found most of these with a very quick Google search, so I’m confident you can find many more and ones that mean something special to you.
10 – RUN FOR OFFICE
Okay, this is a big one. And not everyone is up for it, so no pressure. But the biggest way to make a difference is sometimes to join the club. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should run for the Senate in 2018, but there are many local elections you could run for: mayor, city council, school board. If you are up to it, find a position that fits your talents and make a difference. If not, maybe consider volunteering to help a like-minded person run for office. This is another one where Google is your friend. Look for local elections and open positions in your area and get started.
11 – PROMOTE EDUCATION & UNDERSTANDING
I already talked about purchasing subscriptions to newspapers as a way to use your dollars to show Trump how we feel about his attacks on the media, but there are many, many ways we as individuals can use our dollars and activities to increase awareness of our cause and promote education, empathy and compassion.
-Share news stories on your social media. We can’t change everyone’s minds, but we can let them know how we feel. Seeing constant hate rhetoric online promotes more hate and its acceptance, but sharing facts and compassion can do the same thing. Flood the internet with empathy and intelligence and we will have a positive effect.
-Share media with young people that promotes acceptance and understanding. I purchased a subscription to Teen Vogue for my nieces and there are others that can contribute to education and awareness for teens.
-Buy Own Voices* stories for teens of all identities. Teens need to see themselves in literature represented well, and they need to see identities different from themselves to increase their awareness of the world around them and learn empathy.
-As a writer, I feel I’m in a unique position to create art that can influence a generation to work towards empathy and compassion. Not everyone has that opportunity, but look at what you do have. Teachers, school administrators, youth coordinators, and many others have an opportunity to reach youth through their work and volunteerism to better educate and foster the adults we want to see in the world. If you don’t feel you have that opportunity in your life, but you’d like to, volunteer. YMCA, Big Brothers/Sisters, Girl/Boy Scouts, teen organizations for LGBTQIA+ youth, or your church are all excellent ways to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.
*Own Voices is a term used to describe books that are written about a marginalized identity by a person from that identity. Though stories from a writer who does not identify with their main character can still be excellent reads, a story written by an author with that identity will always have a deeper understanding of what that character would go through on a day-to-day basis. Plus, supporting marginalized writers with our dollars is important to increasing diversity in literature.
12 – SHARE
This is already in point 11, but I want to talk about it a little more. When we share our feelings, thoughts, and opinions online, it creates an opportunity for our views to be seen as a norm. The same way we don’t want to normalize Trump’s hate-rhetoric, we also want to promote our own. Once again, we can’t reach everyone, but we can take a stand. And our taking a stand may encourage someone else to do the same, or show a side of an argument they didn’t see before. Our individual reach may be small, but don’t let that discourage you, because we need to be ripples in the pond right now. The ripples you make will multiply with others.
-Use your social media to proudly show your attendance at a protest, the letters you write to Congress, or your support for an issue. Encourage your friends when they post as well, thanking them, sharing their work, and encouraging them to keep it up.
-Try not to worry about criticism. I know this is easier said than done, and some of you may have rabid Trump-supporters in your midst, as I do. Sometimes the best thing to do is delete or ignore their comments. You can’t reason with them and arguing isn’t effective. But you decide how best to approach this, and how much you can tolerate.
-If you are unable to handle the comments you may get from people, post as passively as you can, but still post. People are less likely to respond viciously to calm, quiet support for a cause as it’s difficult to attack a post asking for compassion. They still will, but it will happen less. But this is up to you. Ruining your mental health over posting on social media isn’t worth it. Find another way to contribute if you have to.
-Whether you post angry or calm, don’t criticize another’s approach. There’s a place for all of us in the Resistance and no one right way to protest.
-You need to post in spaces that will spread your message to the people who may not agree with you, but you also need a safe space to vent. This goes back to finding your Resistance Fighting Team. For me, that’s Twitter. It’s not perfectly safe, but I feel I can express things there that I can’t on Facebook with all my Trump-loving relatives.
13 – FIND INSPIRATION
The work of resistance will drag you down, so you need sources of inspiration to keep you going. Your RFG (Resistance Fighting Team) can help with that, but find visual or audio mediums as well.
WHY I MARCH – Book of images from Women’s Marches around the world. Proceeds support nonprofits affiliated with the March.
Hamilton Musical – I find this CD very inspiring. Knowing what our Founding Fathers went through to create our nation makes me want to fight for it all the more.
Pantsuit Nation – Ask to join this Facebook group for inspiring stories and reasons to keep up the fight
What I’ll Do Next – Read statements from people across the country about what they plan to do to resist
I made a Resistance Happy Place on my blog that I update periodically. You can check that when you need a lift or create your own.
14 – FIND SUSTAINABLE LEVEL OF ACTIVISM
We came out of the gates hot and heavy with the March, protesting Muslim ban, contacting Congress, and generally making a ruckus they can’t ignore. This is awesome! What we’ve done has never been seen before, not even by the Tea Party back in 2009. But it’s not sustainable. And that’s okay. We can’t burn ourselves up because no matter how bad we want to hear the words “Impeachment!” coming from Congress, it’s unlikely to happen. (And we’d still have a gaggle of Republicans to deal with in Trump’s absence, so the fight isn’t going to stop any time soon.)
We need to make resistance a normal part of our lives. And we need to call it what it really is: civic responsibility. It’s not like the need for our voice in government popped up on November 9th. We should have been far more involved from the day we turned 18. Our duty as Americans doesn’t start and end with the polling booth. Most of us never considered calling our MoCs. (Mine are now in my phone contacts for easy reference.) We didn’t attend protests or participate in discussions we had an opinion on but didn’t affect us directly. It wasn’t our job to help people understand why Black Lives Matter or trans people using the bathroom of their identity or abortion rights are important. Sure we had an opinion, but those social justice things would work themselves out in time, right?
I think we see the error of our ways now, but we have to find a method we can use over the long haul. Here are some links and ideas to help you find your sustainable level of civic activity.
-Don’t burn out. Slow and steady wins the race. Only do what you can and take time for yourself.
-Choose the amount of time you will dedicate. It’s okay to go over, but set aside a certain amount per day, week, or month so you can hold yourself accountable, but not over do it. You can adjust the amount of time as you go, adding if it feels like you can do more, subtracting when you’re feeling overloaded.
-Designate a day, time, or place you will participate. Right now I’m writing a letter to my MoCs every day at 10am. I’ll cut back to 3 days eventually, and my final goal is 1 a week for the foreseeable future. Maybe forever.
-It’s unrealistic to attend every protest. We don’t have the time or the money to participate in every one. Kids, jobs, and other responsibilities mean we have to determine what we can and can’t do. And don’t feel guilty about it. As long as you are participating when you can, you are doing enough.
-Sometimes participation in the Resistance means doing things like babysitting for a friend so they can attend a march, donating food to an event so hungry workers can continue, or driving people to the voting booths. Support of the resistance can come in many forms and is just as important as being in front of a crowd. Here’s a video on resistance workers from the Civil Rights movement and the mundane work they did to support the cause: We’re Still Not There: A Practical Guide to Resistance
15 – SELF CARE
I cannot stress this enough. That’s why I saved it for last. We can’t let our civic duty destroy our ability to function. Not only because you’re useless to the Resistance, but more importantly, you’re useless to yourself. As George Washington said in the Hamilton musical “Head full of fantasies of dyin’ like a martyr. Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder.”
Self care can come in many forms: doing something you enjoy like watching a movie or reading a book, a long bubble bath, or the occasional glass of wine after a hard day. It can be playing with your kids, or enjoying a night out with your significant other, or whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy. But it’s more than that. It’s paying your bills on time, showing up for work even if you feel depressed, seeking therapy because you are depressed. It’s exercise and keeping the house clean and keeping relationships that are important to you intact. All of these things go a long way to making you happier and more productive. And that makes you a more effective part of the Resistance.
Here are a few articles with ideas for how to do that:
Okay, so those 15 things turned into about a hundred, but they’re all important! Our Resistance isn’t going to be a one-part play. Especially since the villains are constantly changing the plot on us. We need to be prepared to improvise, have multiple talents to answer the call, and be well-rested and energized! Sometimes we’ll all be on stage, at others we’ll rely on the lead actors to carry the show. But we all need to be ready in the wings to support the production and find our part in the fight to save our democracy!