This week marks 100 days in office for President Donald Trump.
It’s gone, shall we say, not smoothly for the reality TV star turned commander-in-chief (how did anyone think that would be an easy transition to begin with), and that’s not just because of a seemingly lack of competence on his part, and those he has surrounded himself with.
Whether it was the Women’s March the day after the inauguration, the airport demonstrations after the initial attempts of an immigration ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority nations, the large rallies pushing back against the GOP’s health care plan, or even this weekend’s March for Science, there’s been plenty of public engagement throughout the country on policy issues, perhaps more so than ever before.
Many Americans have found their voice, and stood up for the values they hold closest. It’s been a heartening site, to say the least, and it’s had an incredible impact. The marcher today is calling their congressperson tomorrow, and volunteering the day after that. Protesting isn’t the end all be all, but in addition to the impact of a public showing of support on certain issues, it’s also an entry point for those perhaps uncertain about civic engagement in the past.
It’s also tiring. Fighting back one bad policy after another is time consuming, not to mention a drain on energy and resources. The common refrain is that you have to pick your battles, but if the battles are about health care and the environment, how can you be expected to choose just one?
That’s the thing. You really can’t. You may have but one voice to lend to the chorus, and two feet to pound the pavement, but it’s power in numbers that make a difference. Don’t think that the deluge of phone calls and emails didn’t move the needle as the debate over health care reached its boiling point. Public pressure made the difference.
You have to keep going.
It won’t be easy. It oftentimes won’t be fun.
But now, more than ever, is the time to defend the values you hold dear, whether that be at the local level or the national. Wealth inequity may have you supporting whichever mayoral candidate is the firmest backer of a city income tax this fall. Or, it could be voting rights are your primary concern. Or gerrymandering.
There’s no shortage of values up for debate in our current political climate, and the decisions made today could reverberate for generations.
You won’t regret trying if things ultimately don’t go your way, but you certainly will wonder “what if” if you stayed on the sidelines.