Post-Thanksgiving Reflection


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.

Week 6: What do we do now?


Many of us are progressing through the stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression) after the election of Donald Trump.  Have no doubt about it, this is grief of a profound order.  If you are still mourning, take the time you need and reach out for support.  Read more here. 

If you have moved through these stages and are now asking: What do we do now?   What is the first step?  Read on.

  1. It all starts with Love.

Love for yourself— Do what will make you feel better:  Scream, Sing, Cry, Dance, Hit balls at the batting cages.  Reach out to allies and friends and let them support you.
Love for those around you, who support you.  Thank those who are lending you a shoulder to cry on, liquor to drown your sorrows in, or inspiration to get out of bed in the morning.  We cannot do this alone – it truly takes a village.
Love for those who do not support you.  We are all connected, whether we agree or not.  We will need them, and at some point, they will need us.  Keep that in mind when you are considering whether or not to unfriend FB friends.   If you feel strong enough, listen to them and hear what is in their heart.  If they are harassing you, or putting you down, then go back to the first point:  Love for yourself.

2. Then, get informed.

Rely only on curated sources of information.  Stop relying on Facebook recommendations for news – they will only tell you what you want to hear.  Turn off the 24-hour news channels – they don’t have time to curate their news.  Question links even from trusted friends–  there is rampant misinformation (on all sides!). Subscribe to reputable journals, either online or for the good-old-fashioned-paper one —  Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times.   Newspapers need our support, and we need their objective information more than ever.  Listen to National Public Radio or your local affiliate.  They will not always tell you what you want to hear, but it will help you be a more informed citizen of this country.  We cannot afford to stay in our bubbles.

3.  Get connected to the issues you care about.

What are you passionate about?  Most of the people I know are not “one issue” people.  They care about issues of civil rights, and reproductive rights, and education and climate change.  I know it’s hard to choose– my dad calls me “jack of all trades, master of none”–  Start with one or two, and you’ll expand your capacity to take on more things over time.

Find reputable organizations that care about those issues too, and stay connected to them.  Get on their mailing lists and stay connected to their work.  Here’s a starting list here:

Issue Advocacy Organizations
Reproductive rights Planned Parenthood
Reproductive rights NARAL
Civil Rights ACLU
    Women National Organization for Women
    Latino National Council of LaRaza
    Black Black Lives Matter
    Black National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
    Jewish Anti-Defamation League
    LGBTQ Mazzoni Center
    LGBTQ Lambda Legal
    Muslim Council on American-Islamic Relations
Gun Control Moms Demand Action
Environment Earth Justice
Environment Sierra Club
Promoting progressive candidates for office She Should Run
Immigration Border Angels
Policing Reform Campaign Zero

4. Identify your skill set.

Everyone has something to offer.  Here are just a few things that you can do:

  • Stay informed – Must. Stay. Informed!  That’s how democracy works.
  • Support victims of harassment and hate crimes –  put a safety pin on your jacket, so people know you are an ally.  If you are a lawyer, volunteer to provide pro bono services to victims of civil rights violations.
  • Donate money – Any amount you can give is valuable to progress your issues forward.  Find reputable organizations.
  • Call and write letters – When bills relate to your issues of interest, write or call your Representatives and Senators.
  • Vote – Mid-term elections are two years away, and will involve ballot questions and local candidates that need our attention as much as, or more than, the national elections.
  • Run for office – Do you feel moved to run for office?  Now’s the time! There are organizations to train and promote candidates.

This journey will be difficult, and we will encounter obstacles.  After all, we are rebuilding ourselves and our nation.  When it does, go back to the first point– Start with Love.  Take care of yourself so you have the stamina to keep working.

Week 5: My Election Day Prayer 


My Election Day Prayer

I bow my head down and close my eyes and pray.

I pray that all citizens of our country will be able to cast a vote safely on Tuesday.

I pray that we see humanity when we look into the eyes of the polling volunteer, the candidates’ passionate sign-holding supporters, or other voters.

I pray that we remember how precious is this right to vote, and that not all people had this right at all times in our nation’s history.

I pray that we will each bring the light in our hearts with us into the voting booths.

Will you pray with me?