President Donald Trump is now in office.
I see many asking what they can do to continue resisting Trump and the far-right agenda. By “continue,” they mean doing something beyond voting last November.
My first letter to the editor of a local paper, The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., was published when I was around 16-years old. It was in response to an angry anti-gay letter published earlier in the week.
I went to college specifically to study political science and was, unsurprisingly, welcomed as a student of writing and rhetoric as well. In fact, I graduated with a major in rhetoric and a minor in political science.
During college, I worked for the Texas Freedom Network, a nonprofit devoted to strong public schools, religious freedom and equal rights. I fought Betsy DeVos’ attempts to privatize education long before Trump appointed her head of the Education Department.
After college, I moved to the Texas Legislature and the Legislative Study Group, a House caucus dedicated to analyzing every single bill that came to the House floor and ensuring it was good for Texas families — that is, not right-wing ideology masquerading as public policy. We aided in killing bad bills (often on procedural grounds during periods of “chubbing”), amending others and proposing and passing legislation serving Texans: a research university fund, improvements to state schools for the disabled, a middle-income scholarship program and other initiatives.
I wasn’t an elected, as we call them. I don’t take credit for any of those things becoming law and helping people. But I did do my part, and I still do — whether it be through letters to the editor, communications with my representatives, donations, volunteering, etc.
So, it sort of bothers me that people are only just now asking what they can do. My first response is, “Don’t wait until it’s too late next time.”
My second response is a question, “Where were you?”
You want to know what you can do? Donate to the people who’ve been fighting these folks. Those on the front lines — at the Texas Freedom Network, the Legislative Study Group, the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, the Humane Society and so many others — need support. They fight people like Trump’s appointees and the policies they advocate all day every day, and they’ve been doing it for years. Help them do it more effectively.
You can ignore my calls for contributing financially to defending our values. But, if you’re going to do that, what are you going to do? Stomp your feet? Bitch on Facebook? Move to a low-income neighborhood and teach in their schools? Quit your job and become an organizer?
No. You’re not going to do that. You have a life to live. But you can help support those who do. Those who saw this a long ways off and have fought tooth and nail to stop it. See all the Texas legislative sessions during which we defeated voucher programs in Texas — that’s no small feat. Yet we’ll be battling such programs again this year at the Pink Dome.
Stop waiting until things are so bad — or it’s too late — that nothing can be done.
Don’t tell me to do more. Get out your debit card instead. After you’ve done that, go volunteer. Stuff some envelopes. Help set up or break down a fundraiser. Visit your legislators at the Capitol. Write a letter. Get involved in local politics. Join your neighborhood association. Do something.
Calm down. Stop your gnashing of teeth and pounding on keyboard. Roll up your sleeves instead.