In the last year or so, we’ve seen a lot of political posturing, blustering, and, let’s be honest, whining from both sides. Personally, I’m sick of all of it, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to subside any time soon.
In order to try and help my fellow citizens understand what they can do to help the situation, and what they can do that will, at best, have no effect on the situation, I’ll contrast things that work with things that don’t work:
Peaceful, respectful protest versus violent rioting and vandalism
Want me to listen to what you have to say? Try having a clear, articulate, and sane message that I can understand, either from the sound of your voice or the sign in your hand. If you’d rather that I turn my back on you, all you have to do is assault those who disagree with you, destroy property, or put up with those who do in your ranks.
Getting off your high horse versus whining about voter ID and how elections are run
It’s 2017. If you have the ability to read this post, you have the ability to get an ID before the next election. I will have no sympathy for anyone who complains that they have trouble voting. Girlie Bear was able to get an absentee ballot and vote on her first try, so there’s no excuse for you not figuring it out before 2018. Get your birth certificate, get your ID, and get your butt to the polls. If you don’t like the electoral college or how primaries happen in your state, now is the time to get them changed.
Criticizing a politician’s policies and actions versus attacking his family
OK, I get it. Folks made snide and outrageous remarks about your guy’s kids when he was in office. It was heinous then, and it’s heinous now. Decent folks, you know, the ones with jobs and a voter registration card, get turned off by crap like that. Leave the families alone.
Reasonable discussion versus personal insults
I’ll admit it. I’m a middle-aged white guy, the great oppressor. The green-eyed devil. But guess what? You need my vote and my support, or at least you need me to not oppose you, if you’re going to get anything done. If you keep accusing me of racism, misogyny, and all of the other bugaboos of the political insult machine, eventually I’m going to believe you. If you want me to look at things from your perspective, tone it down and look at things from mine.
Being politically engaged versus being ‘woke’
OK, I’m proud that a lot of you have looked around and realized that the country isn’t exactly paradise. Congratulations. Now, do something about it. Telling everyone on Facebook about what you’ve figured out is useless. Taking polls and signing on-line petitions is useless. Know what’s not useless? Signing actual ballot petitions, sending letters and making phone calls to elected officials, showing up to town council meetings, and actually schlepping to the polls every year or so. Jawing about how bad things are changes nothing. Flooding the streets with women wearing oddly shaped hats does next to nothing. If everyone who ‘liked’ Sanders had gone to the polls, he would have gotten the nomination. If everyone who screamed “I’m With Her” on Twitter had voted, you’d all still be drunk from celebrating her inaugural.
Perhaps if those who don’t care for President Trump start on these kinds of things now, 2018 won’t be an absolute blood bath for the Democrats, and in 2020, you’ll have a shot. If not, well, it’s going to be a long few years, now isn’t it?