I was one of the many citizens across the nation who partook in a Women’s March, this one being in Chicago. We had so many people show up (50,000 were expected and 250,000 showed up) that the organizers had to “cancel” the march. Regardless, all 250,000 of us marched proudly along the streets of Chicago, chanting “This is what Democracy looks like” and “Her body, her choice”. I will never forget the memories I made at this demonstration of true comradery amongst so many people of different backgrounds.
The Women’s March was a great experience, and it was an amazing way to tell the world (and Trump) that the citizens of the United States still care about equality and love. I left the march feeling fulfilled about using the day for something like this, but I also left thinking that there is so much more to be done. Yes, we can pack the entirety of Washington D.C, and yes we can pack Chicago with 250,000 people, but this is only one day of triumph for the people of America who are about to endure 1459 more days of a Donald Trump presidency. There is no denying it – for a lot of Americans, this presidency will be a rough patch for us. This does not mean we can just let President Trump run his course unopposed; we have four more years to oppose every discriminatory, fascist, sexist, and downright wrong action he takes. How can we oppose him even more?
Before we take any action, we need to educate ourselves. Go to speakers on your campus, read a book on American politics cover to cover, ask your professors/teacher, do something. Learn about hot topic issues, including local issues, and learn about how they will affect you and people you know. Not only that, but take the time to learn and empathize with the other side – I actually find this to be one of the most important thing to do, yet I always need to tell myself to do it. It is crucial that you know what is going on in the world of politics and stay completely aware of the political environment, no matter how toxic our politicians build it to be. The moment we stop educating ourselves, we are giving Trump free reign over our country.
How can we take action? There has been a massive mobilization effort by various political organizations across the nation who are working to create a better resistance to Trump’s system. Look on your Facebook timelines for these groups and their events. If you are a student, there are plenty of student organizations that you can get involved in, such as the College Democrats, diversity clubs, progressive clubs, environmental groups, etc. Having an institution like a student organization is crucial in mobilizing action at larger levels, and that is something that is utterly necessary for the next four years. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT TO LEADERS OF ORGANIZATIONS YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN! As the president of the College Democrats on my campus, I cannot stress this enough: I love it when people take the time to reach out to me and ask how they can get involved.
As someone who worked on a state senate race and participated in many different political interest groups in the past two years, I can tell you that students are highly underrepresented, not because these groups and campaigns do not want them, but because the students don’t take the time to get involved in the community. If you have not, you should attend a town hall meeting, write letters to your politicians, get involved in a campaign, get involved in anything that can help strengthen our community (the people we choose to involve ourselves with locally.). I cannot stress enough how important our community will be in the next four years, as they consist of the people who will support you in your endeavors. These are the people who we need to keep active throughout these four years and not allow them to fall into complacency. We can do that by joining community Facebook Groups and staying active on them, going to community events and informing people there of issues, and getting involved in a campaign. I know, I already mentioned that you should get involved in a campaign, but campaigns are a great way to learn a lot about the people in your community. Getting involved in a campaign will also help down-ballot electoral races that we desperately need to win to wrestle away a little more power from Trump and his party.
These next four years are going to be tough, but please don’t waste them sulking. Use these next four years to become a better citizen. Learn about the issues, write letters to your elected officials, join a new student organization, attend a political fundraiser, get involved in a campaign – just stay active. It’s bad enough that Donald Trump was elected; don’t make it worse by not doing everything you can to better the world for yourself and others around you.