by Judy Ferro
Thousands of Democratic voters are seeking to relieve anger and depression by doing something tangible to limit the length and depth of the Trump apocalypse.
Some optimists believe that they can change the outcome by arguing Electoral College members into doing the “right thing” by voting for the winner of the popular vote or, at least, a Republican candidate who isn’t racist and unpredictable. Others are calling for a recount in three states where Trump did suspiciously better in precincts with voting machines than those with paper ballots.
Others see the immediate need is to help those targeted by hate. They are wearing safety pins as a sign that others may ask them for help. One young Jewish friend posted on Facebook that if Trump succeeds in requiring Muslims to register, he will put his name on the list and expect his friends to do so also. (Between 2014 and 2015, the rate of hate crimes against Muslims increased ten times as fast as the general hate crime rate.)
This finger-in-the-dyke measure is not a final answer though. Many are searching for ways to protect the environment, human rights and the middle class at this time.
In off-election years like 2017, Democrats work at getting their message out, raising funds for future campaigns and recruiting candidates. Some canvass door-to-door to recruit new volunteers, find voters who are “persuadable,” and register new voters. Many progressives monitor the legislature, keep others informed, contact legislators, and speak at hearings. Some help with non-partisan races for school boards and city councils.
No doubt we now need to do all of those things longer, harder, and better. But we also need to examine what happened this election and find new approaches. I can’t yet imagine the direction this will lead, but I can give some advice to those joining the search.
Don’t expect change to be easy. 2016 saw no shortage of social media posts, petitions, forwarded e-mails, and phone calls to elected officials. They didn’t get enough Democratic voters out or stop Republicans from wiping people off registration lists. We need to do more.
Don’t try to do everything that needs doing. Personally, I work to elect progressive Democrats because good representatives will make a difference across the board. Others focus on an issue they are passionate about, causes like healthier food, better schools, renewable energy, worker rights or banking reform. Make friends across the spectrum, but focus your efforts.
Join/form a group of activists. Being independent sounds great, but it takes a movement to create change. Few would have known Rosa Parks had been arrested, much less have joined in a massive bus boycott, if she hadn’t been active in a group of women working for change. Her fellow activists stayed up to make thousands of flyers and have them on the street by morning.
The Canyon County Democrats will meet at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7. You can e-mail me for information.
United Vision for Idaho, a coalition of progressive organizations, is conducting an information workshop for activists from 2 to 4 pm Saturday, Dec. 10, in the Marion Bingham room on the 3rd floor of the Boise Public Library.
The Idaho State Democrats are forming a team to respond to actions by the 2017 Idaho Legislature. Join at http://bit.ly/2fL35Rc.
A local chapter of Our Revolution should be in the works. Bernie Sanders’ organization works for candidates who will fight for advances on many progressive fronts (https://ourrevolution.com/issues/).
The time to trust that tomorrow will be better is past. Tomorrow will be what we make it.