Regarding politics, I am just a dash past neophyte, but I am a dedicated researcher and I learn quickly. Political science is not one of my passions; even so, I have become a researcher of political science, the federal legislative process, and the powers of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the US government. I am a fervent believer in the Charters of Freedom, the documents founding this nation. Our branches of government are meant to check and maintain balance in our government, and for all of my life, I never doubted the integrity of those checks and balances. Until now.
Government leaders and politics have been akin to background noise for me, with the two year increments of reading about candidates for office and ballot issues being my usual participation. Yes, I have voted in every election (except primaries – I’m an independent) since 1984. Occasionally, I give my full attention to matters of government, politics, and law. My first memory of this goes back to the fall of 1991 when I shouted at the televised Justice Thomas Confirmation hearings when I wasn’t in one of my undergraduate classes or busy being a single mother to an active 3 year old boy. My interest in politics, government, and legal issues fluctuated in the intervening years. And then, in 2005, I met a woman who has become one of my dearest friends and her deep interest in politics and government spurred my rather shallow one. And still, my interest in politics lay dormant for a few years. During President Obama’s administration, I began to follow governmental and political issues more closely, primarily due to the declaration of obstructing Mr. Obama’s agenda voiced by prominent republican Senator McConnell R-KY, now senate majority leader.
During President Obama’s tenure in the White House, I admit – I coasted. I followed politics loosely, yet I did not actively engage except on a few occasions (including the 2013 shutdown and the 2016 senate refusal to hold hearings on Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland). I can no longer observe from the sidelines.
Just last week, unified – we witnessed, supported, and participated in the largest protest of any Presidential inauguration: the Women’s March on Washington that morphed into a global phenomenon and a potential movement advocating for the human rights of every person on the planet. I did not march, but that doesn’t mean I am not a strong advocate for the rights of all human beings to be treated with dignity, respect, and equality. Crowds exhaust my energy; I am an introvert. It is not in my intrinsic nature to protest among a crowd of people. My protesting is usually in written form – on this blog.
Passive resistance is just not going to work with this administration. Introverts are going to have to be active and engage. Our rights and liberties are at risk.
We can expect that the recently inaugurated President’s administration will initiate his entire repertoire of nationalist, militarist, populist, corporate and bullying ideologies into place through a combination of legislation and executive orders. We can expect that the Republican controlled congress will pass a legislative agenda that guts health care and other social programs. If the first week of the bully administration is any indication, we can also expect this administration attempt to erode environmental programs, voting rights, civil liberties, and immigration policies at every fresh opportunity.
Calm, cool and deliberate resistance will serve our purpose far better than excessive emotional reactions will. The peaceful, well-organized Women’s March is an elegant example. The Trump administration is prone to impulsive, erratic outbursts and manipulative, distracting tactics. We need to act rather than react to every histrionic tweet or emotive rant the man and his administration exhibit.
We introverts must resist alongside our extroverted friends because:
… the Democrats in congress (and moderate Republicans) CAN hinder or weaken some of the legislation introduced by republican leadership and the president that will reverse progress in health care, civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, veteran’s rights, and more. But they need to know when we the people support them – and they need to know when we don’t.
… we are better than the thuggish implementation of jingoist policies regarding immigration and political sanctuary, national security and foreign policy, press relations and dubious policies set forth through executive orders and his restructured National Security Council.
… the fundamental rights we have as citizens are at risk. This administration has used its bullying voice to attempt to discredit legitimate and long established newspapers and journalists as ‘fake’ or unreliable in addition to claiming “alternate facts” are the truth.
… our democracy is being tested. We as a people are being tested to determine whether this great democratic republic, established in 1776, will endure. In fact, reasons to resist this potential tyrant mount each passing day.
Benjamin Franklin wrote at the close of the Constitutional Convention 230 years ago that this Constitution and the government it established had its flaws, but in spite of the imperfections, if “well-administered,” this government would endure. In the next breath, Franklin warned that this government “can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”
I refuse to concede that Franklin’s warning is upon us, as I believe that we have not yet descended so far from democracy to deserve a despotic, authoritarian government with a tyrant at the lead. Nevertheless, if we sit idly by and do not speak up, protest, and make known our concerns, the rights that our progenitors established will begin a necrotic spiral with this administration. Gerrymandering will proliferate after the census in 2020 and those who would have a despotic government will be one step closer to eroding all of the rights established in our constitution. As citizens, we have to stand together, regardless of political affiliation.
What we can do: (several suggestions gleaned from IndivisibleGuide or Women’s March websites):
- Create an account at congress.gov and track legislative action in the House and the Senate (a wonkish thing to do, which totally suits me – and maybe other introverts)
- Call congressional representatives/senators at least twice a month regarding legislative actions. (Call state reps about state issues)
- Follow organizations online to know when protests are scheduled
- Visit the local office of congressional representatives AND attend town halls
- If so inclined, become a member of a political party or an organization (in order to meet like-minded people)
- If so inclined, participate in peaceful protests – with friends (in a crowd with friends, it might not seem so overwhelming)
- Take care of you –
- Watch SNL on occasion; go to the movies or a theater
- If so inclined, have a beer or a glass of wine once in a while
- Learn to meditate, practice yoga, swim, jog, read novels, be silly sometimes
I admit, I would prefer to write about a topic other than politics, but I have a civic responsibility. We all do. If we don’t stand together and resist, our right to practice independent religious beliefs, to speak against the government, to read or write articles in a free press, or to redress our grievances will gradually diminish like the frog who sits in a pot of water as it gradually comes a boil around him and kills him dead.
The creeping normality of Trump’s skewed administration may or may not be a valid concern, but considering the steps we have witnessed in the last 48 hours alone, it is better to resist than to boil.
Resistance is NOT futile.
P.S. I will continue to write on other topics. My civic responsibility will not crowd out my life.