Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
On this day, I am grateful to live in a country where I can speak my mind, where I can advocate for what I believe is right, where I can listen to other opinions and viewpoints, and where I can engage with a process, voice my support, and even resist and dissent.
On this day, I am encouraging all of you to find some way to participate in our democracy. Regardless of your politics, this is a privilege that we must honor and protect.
For me, I am taking small steps towards a goal of sustained civic engagement:
1) I have entered the phone numbers of my reps, senators, etc into my phone so that they are always there for quick and easy access. I found an app called “Groups” that allows me to create calling groups to further streamline the calling process. I have made the calls, and by calling district offices, I have spoken with humans who have respectfully noted my comments every time. This is simple, easy, and sustainable. I encourage you all to take this step for yourselves. It took me about 30 minutes to set up my phone, and about 10-15 to make my calls.
2) I am focusing on immigration rights for families and children. I am reaching out to former colleagues, lawyers, and advocacy organizations in an effort to organize support and determine my work. I am in the process of learning the laws, immigrant rights, and about what’s potentially on the horizon.
My opinion is that each of us has to make a choice about what is important to us personally, and then we have to act, in some small way on that choice. There is so much out there that needs work, which is why we need to find what really moves us emotionally, spiritually, and politically and to focus our energy there. Otherwise, we become overwhelmed and our strength and efforts are diluted.
3) I am trying to write and to create. All writers, musicians, and artists must play a role in inspiring, sharing, and building bridges. And they must also dissent, and they must agitate. There is music and there is light, we can take refuge there, and it will sustain us and nurture our spirits.
We all have so much to be grateful for. But there is tremendous work to be done. Make no mistake, democracy takes work. If we do not work to preserve our rights, to take care of one another, and to protect the vulnerable, our rights will be eroded, we will continue to be turned against one another, and the vulnerable among us will suffer.
Please, take some small steps towards a goal of sustained civic engagement for all Americans. And share your work!