Fresh Ideas: Antidote to Trump
January 10, 2017
Wall building, swamp draining and health care dismemberment are featured floats in Trump's Make-America-Great-Again parade. Conflict of interests and profiteering pervert the Golden Rule: Do unto others and profit from it. The World According to Trump.
While we await implementation of the promises and threats of soon-to-be President Donald Trump, what can those of us troubled about the country's future direction do to be vigilant, speak up and make a difference? Especially women.
Get involved. In recent years, democracy has become a spectator sport. Credit 24/7 access to news, real and fake, compounded by rapid-response viral social media, and disillusionment with gridlock government. After the presidential election, friends with young children said they want to get more involved. Yes, whether it's a local political party, a civic organization like the League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, or the talented diverse millennial activism at Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada; or volunteering on the front lines of social need for Food for Thought or FISH; or leading a Girl Scout troop, you are welcome.
Involve the next generations. Some of the institutions and customs we older folks are comfortable with are of no interest to young people. But millennials are open minded, fair and believe a diverse society is stronger and healthier. Existing groups must figure out how to engage younger people as they navigate parenthood, income inequality, health care and the challenges of the education system.
Expect accountability. Our Congressional representatives use their websites and social media to tell their story, but not usually how they voted. Websites including congress.org and http://www.govtrack.us provide information about how our members of Congress voted, assuming it was a public vote. (The recent vote in caucus by Republicans to eliminate the independent office of ethics was unfortunately not on the record). Know the voting record of your members of Congress, and use the power of the telephone, pen and tweet to let them know you're watching. According to Congressional staffers, phone calls make the most impact, including phone calls to the district offices.
Put it in writing. Letters to the editor are read by Congressional staffers. It's a twofer to send a message to Congress and inform or persuade your neighbors in the newspaper and online. And if you're a social media maven, reposting or tweeting sends the message farther.
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Capitalize on Carson City. We have a special opportunity as residents of the state capital to participate in the state legislative process, which begins in early February. Call the state library (775-684-3360) or legislative staff (775-684-6825) to learn how to track bills, monitor legislation, and share your opinion with legislators through the Legislative Counsel Bureau website.
Show up. Be at town hall meetings, forums, school board meetings, legislative hearings, rallies and marches. Warm bodies matter. On Jan. 21 at 9 a.m., women and their families will converge at City Plaza in downtown Reno to march in support of women's rights, diversity, and community as part of Reno Women's March on Washington. It's a fitting start for a year of involvement in support of civic engagement, diversity, and community, and an antidote to the World According to Trump. See you there.
Abby Johnson is a resident of Carson City, and a part-time resident of Baker, Nev. She consults on community development and nuclear waste issues. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her clients.