Courses of Action

Our conversations in my friend circles, both in the real world and on Twitter, have for the past few months been taken over by politics. Who’s done what, who’s going to do what, how can we stop someone from doing something, how can we support someone? And even though we get tired of it, fatigued, the events keep on coming and we can’t turn away for fear of missing something important.

Back in college, I took a class in conservation biology, and that same sort of fatigue is a problem facing that profession all the time. Once you start concerning yourself with endangered plants, animals, habitats, and so on, there are hundreds of trouble spots all over the world, large and small, each one vitally important. You can burn yourself out trying to care about all of them.

The solution is: find one that you’re passionate about and devote your energy there. Maybe it’s one that is close to your heart for some reason, or maybe it’s one that doesn’t have a lot of people looking after it yet. But focus on your one issue, or maybe two, and do what you can there.

The problem is similar here. I was trying to figure out how to spend my energy–I think we all have been. While RTing calls to action and calling my reps is useful, I still feel spread too thin. So I thought about this aspect of our current situation this morning: The Republican administration’s policies are going to have adverse effects on a lot of different groups. Voting rights are in danger, especially with our current Attorney General. Civil rights are in danger, especially with a looming conservative Supreme Court nomination (which might very well overturn the stay on the Muslim ban). People’s very health and life are in danger from the gutting of the ACA. These are real, tangible consequences. There are a whole host of ethical issues in the White House and its staff, which are unsavory; maybe that offends you more than anything else. There are entanglements with the Russian government that may have already endangered our democracy.

What I wanted to do was pick one of these things that has real consequences. While it’s fun to mock Fox News’s Tucker Carlson for lamely comparing Steve Bannon to the head of ISIS, or to mock 45’s buffoonish tweets, it isn’t for me a useful use of energy (beyond what it takes to RT and maybe write a quick comment).

If you’re a red state liberal, keep calling your reps. Show up at town hall meetings when you can. Make your voice heard. You’re doing great work so far. And come 2018, work like hell to increase liberal representation in our government at *every* level, not only the federal one.

If you live in a blue state, call your reps and make sure they know how much you object to what’s going on. And if they won’t object as much as you think they should, elect people who will.

Pick your cause. If you can’t work for it, support the people who are. I’m donating monthly to the ACLU because I feel that they will be most effective in stopping the curtailment of civil liberties in this country.

And take care of yourself. Take a break from the news when you can. Tweet your furry pics and jokes, have fun, stay mentally healthy. We have to stay true to ourselves!

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