Well, here we are.
As you read this column, you’re doing so in a world where Donald Trump is President of the United States.
We’ve known this was coming for more than two months, but in this strongly liberal bubble we call Seattle, it’s still a little hard to grasp that that’s the reality.
And yet, it’s time to buckle up for the next four years.
In the face of an administration that has basically polar opposite values to the ones we espouse in Western Washington, it was heartening to see so many take to the streets this past weekend to show their support for basic human rights, and their solidarity with women, immigrants, and the LGBT community, among others.
The fact that the Womxn’s March on Seattle drew in the ballpark of 150,000 people (more or less depending on who you ask) is truly awe-inspiring.
However, our message to you is this: That’s a fantastic start.
One show of solidarity does not a movement make.
While public displays of support are necessary to send a message of popular opinion to those in power, they do not serve as a substitute for the difficult work of changing policy and holding elected officials accountable for their actions and their votes. They must serve as a beginning, not an end, as the work doesn’t end when the rallies do.
That’s not to diminish their importance in the slightest. But, if you participated in any one of the demonstrations since the election of President Trump, enacting positive change will require more.
And for every individual, “more” constitutes something different.
For some, it may be sending a letter to your member of Congress regarding an issue you care deeply about.
For others, it may be committing more time to your local district political organization, and having a broader focus on electing those who align most closely with your views.
Other still may find it beneficial to engage with someone who doesn’t share your worldview. Minds do not change if perspectives go unchallenged. Not everyone will be amenable to such discussion, but laying the groundwork for substantive dialogue is critical for all of us as the chasm seemingly grows ever wider between those that hold different views.
Don’t be afraid to encourage others to take similar steps either,
And, as we’ve stated before, it doesn’t have to be political. Simply volunteering at your local food bank allows you to enact positive change in your community.
To everyone who marched this weekend, thank you. Let that showing inspire you to do more for those around you, and for the future.