Why We All Need To Get Political

02/02/2017 03:47 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2017
Image via CBS News

I’ll admit, I’m not the most educated when it comes to politics. I’m not completely versed with the history of American policies and government processes. As much as I try to stay informed, sometimes I’m overwhelmed by political jargon and I stick to inviting headlines on millenial-friendly media like Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. 

But the past 13 days (86 if you count from the moment DJT was announced as president) have felt suffocating. Like a twisted, political horror film set in an alternate universe where humanity and basic decency don’t exist. Except this horror film is a documentary called The 2016 Elections and the running time is 4 years, maybe more. 

The daily executive orders of walls and bans and repeals of Obama’s progress have started to bury us. We’re beginning to feel the weight of the new “presidency,” and it feels like a heavier burden than many of us were prepared or expecting to bear.

For minorities, this America that we’re seeing is not new. See Chinese Exclusion Act, internment of Japanese Americans, and 245 years of African-American slavery as just a few examples of history’s institutional racism. But most of us have been shielded from the overt, government-endorsed forms of hate and discrimination that excelled as soon as the twisted system elected a fascist piece of lard as president.

A photo from the January 2017 Women’s March by @bejohnce via Twitter

“He won’t really do those things, he was just saying that to get votes.” (Oh, really?)

“They have checks and balances for these things, he won’t actually ruin anything.” (Um…peep this.)

“He doesn’t know what he’s doing, he won’t last a day in office.” (But people like Steve Bannon sure as hell know what they’re doing. Pay attention to him.) 

“Maybe someone like him will be good for us —  someone different with a new perspective.” (Not if we enter a nuclear war with China, nope.)

Many of us held onto doubt that he’d be able to execute, considering his inexperience and the unconscionable absurdity of his promises. But in just 12 days, he’s managed to fulfill enough of his agenda to cause panic in the lives of many immigrants, refugees, Muslims, minorities, indigenous people, women and pretty much anyone with a decent human heart. He’s making moves to cross out the diversity that makes America great, and he’s about to yell BINGO real soon. 

It’s easy to shun away from the chaos and continue living in familiarity. It’s easy to block out political headlines and continue scrolling through our news feeds. It’s easy to “wait it out” for the next four years.

Unless you’re an immigrant. Unless you’re a Muslim. Unless you’re a refugee. Unless you’re a person of color. Unless you identify as LGBT+. Unless you are being personally targeted by the hateful policies coming out of the White House.

It’s easy to ignore, until it happens to you.

It’s not fun to scroll through our politicized social media feeds. We weren’t built to watch our neighbors, friends, families protest in pain under the crushing force of what DJT and his goon crew are calling steps toward “a greater nation.” 

But we also weren’t built to helplessly watch hate rise to power. 

America is different. So we have to be different. Life as we knew it before November 8, 2016 is gone. We must stop DJT before he writes history any more than he already has.

I still believe in democracy. I still believe in the pursuit of happiness, and I still believe in the role of POTUS. Obama embodied the presidency for everything it should represent- grace, dignity, class, compassion, progress. He may not have pleased everyone, but his popularity and trust were undeniable and unprecedented.

This is who I believe my president, our president, should be. This is how a leader of one of the world’s most powerful nations should lead. 

“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”

Anne Frank said this, during an era we thought the world would never have to relive. 

But hope cannot exist without conscious thought. And conscious thought must lead to concrete action. 

Let’s be vigilant, not complacent.

Let’s be brave, not fragile. 

Let’s progress, not crumble. 

Let’s wake the fuck up and pay attention.

We owe it to democracy.

Artwork by Shepard Fairey via Obey Giant

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Some websites that organize action items: 

  • Receive daily texts listing out the most urgent action item of the day: dailyaction.org
  • Easily look up your representative’s number, read from a provided script, and log the results of your calls: 5calls.org
  • Contact senators and representatives to express the week’s most pressing issues, scripts provided for most concise, effective communication: thesixtyfive.org
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