President’s Day was originally intended to recognize the first president of the United States, George Washington, but has come to be known as a day to recognize all presidents. Unfortunately, the 45th U.S. president has shown he has little intention of doing anything worth the title. Donald Trump isn’t the first contentious president in U.S. history, but the point of standing up against his administration isn’t necessarily that it’s a first, it’s recognizing that we do have the freedom to protest. Like many cultural shifts throughout history, the people of the time vocalized dissatisfaction and mobilized change–change that we still see at work in our nation today, yet started centuries ago in movements like women’s suffrage and civil rights.
Democracy only flourishes when its people embrace their empowering right to use it in their backyards, at city hall, and on a national scale. So, let’s turn this president’s day into a day to resist and remember exactly what we DON’T want to see in this administration. Kill ignorance and corruption through spreading awareness! Find ways to celebrate the exact opposite of pettiness: color, culture, and equality!
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” – Margaret Thatcher
Check out shmoop.com/constitution for plainly worded definitions of each article of our United States constitution. With all the emphasis on diminishing citizens’ rights, it’s important to know exactly what we’re entitled to in the United States, and what it means when authority ignores key steps in altering rights. The president does not have complete power to do whatever he wants without any kind of check or balance. There is a finely crafted system in place (laid out in the constitution) to make sure our democracy doesn’t completely crumble. This is why it’s so important to be aware and active when you don’t agree with your government. Silence only signals to them that their actions aren’t being monitored and makes it easier for corruption to continue behind closed doors. Take advantage of your right to openly react. Demand transparency.
Lifehacker posted a great guide to getting your local government to pay attention to you. If you want to get directly involved on a community level (which is actually the best place to start), follow their suggestions. It will only clog the process if letters are sent and phone calls are made to the wrong office or official!
This election cycle squared many of us off in an uncomfortable reality against those we love. The divide between disagreement and supporters may have left you perplexed and hurt, wondering how friends and/or family could cast their vote for obvious vitriol. Confusion doesn’t heal easily. You might still find yourself having some awkward interactions. TED has a couple talks to help shape understanding of this divide, and how to talk to people you disagree with. Either way, remember compassion. Pray to the Giant Sky Turtle for it! One of the catch-22s of fighting for civil justice can be that those who demand it can also trample the rights of those they disagree with, which only creates the conditions they claim to fight against. And once that cycle starts, no one listens to each other.
To get involved on a ground level in your community or donate to a cause, visit Charity Navigator or Volunteer Match. With both, you can search organizations that suit your interests, location, and schedule. Devote some of your time or resources to helping good flourish.
Speaking of good, it’s hard to find good news online! Every day, topics are choked out by something going on in Washington. Start with Huffington Post’s Good News section to take a break from the aggressive headlines and remind yourself uplifting news is still out there.