I was a voter, Trump made me an Activist.
Maybe you've seen this poster at marches or online? It certainly resonates with me. I watched in horror as the Presidential campaign wore on last year. I saw my neighbors, high school friends and family members share things on Facebook that were absolutely false. I pushed back with fact checking, reason, humor, and love. Nothing seemed to work. Then came election night. I experienced disbelief and horror at the outcome. I felt defeated, right along with Hillary. I held out some kind of hope that maybe it wouldn't be as bad as it seemed. After all, America survived both Bush presidencies, right? But no, it's been worse than I ever could have imagined.
Living in a deeply red state, I felt alone and outnumbered. Even though I was a voter, I never felt like my vote counted. Living in a state that voted >75% for Trump, a democratic vote felt useless. I went to vote anyway. I had wished that I lived in a state where my vote could really make a difference. That was the sum total of my "activism" experience. I was a voter who didn't believe her vote really made a difference.
After January 20th, I moved to Twitter to try to find some like minded people that I could commiserate with and who could provide a community of support. And there I found the resistance. It was easy to like and re-tweet people who were as upset as I was, spreading our alarm throughout the twitter world. Slowly, it began to dawn on me. What had I done to keep this from happening? What was my role in mitigating this disaster and changing the future? This took quite a bit of soul searching on my part. Was I willing to step so far out of my comfort zone and really DO SOMETHING? And what would that even look like?
I was fortunate to find a group of people who have helped me to see that I can make a difference. I have had to learn new skills along the way and find a way to move past my preferred introvert state. So far, I have helped organize and participate in my local March for Science, protested White Supremacy groups in my home state, learned how to make graphics to help move others to help, written postcards to get out the vote, and spread the word on candidates who are running for office. I hosted a twitter interview of a VA candidate for state delegate. I called the campaign manager of the candidate for the house of representatives for 2018 and met with him and the candidate to find out how I can help promote his campaign. My local offices for senator and representative know me by name now. No formal training has ever prepared me for any of these activities. I have only my life experience in the healthcare field and as a mom to fuel my desire to make a positive change in the world.
I say this only for this purpose. If I can do this, you can too. There are so many ways for you to be heard and make a tangible difference. Find the ones that resonate with you. Open yourself to learning new skills and walk into a new world where you know that whatever happens, you stepped up to meet the challenge.
Follow Storm on Twitter @StormResist