I took a few days off during the Thanksgiving holiday, not reading the news or scrolling through Facebook. It was unsettling, not knowing the latest ways that the issues I care about are under attack. I felt guilty for lapsing on my recent commitment to become a more vigilant and active citizen. But the truth is, I needed a break. So instead, I spent time with family and friends, discussing how we have been feeling, and where each of us is with deciding how to get involved. That time for reflection with allies was invaluable. Here are my reflections:
- Stop focusing on the ways we hate Trump as a person: It does not matter whether we like him. Hating him takes energy and time. We should use those resources to focus on actions that we can take. Let’s not let his tweets irk us — he cannot legislate using a tweet.
- Search your soul: For many of the friends I talked with, we are struggling with how to get involved — Do we want to work on electoral college/election reform? Do we want to work on one specific issue? What will be most effective? What activities will I be able to sustain over the long term? We should dive into these questions and not settle for quick conclusions. Find allies who will investigate these questions with you, or journal, or take some time to reflect. I’ll be pulling some resources to help us with this one soon.
- Move beyond the rhetoric: Beyond subscribing to reputable news sources, we need to also learn how to seek out, and have respectful discussions with people who disagree with us. This exploration might shift our belief about the potential policy solution related to our issue. Which is scary. I do believe our democracy requires us to develop this ability. Listen to Krista Tippett’s Civil Conversations Project for inspiration on how we can have more productive conversations. For practice, there is an online tool called USA Town Hall, that helps move us beyond political talking points.
- Take a break when you need it: Listen to your body and mind’s signals about what you need. And remind yourself of what we have to be grateful for– it will fuel us to keep fighting the good fight.