What are you doing?

This past weekend we saw thousands of protestors and volunteers, commit their time and energy in fighting the injustice that is Trump’s executive order on immigration. Maybe you participated. Maybe not. In any case. Now is a time of action.

As you may remember, the first goal from my recent plan to live in a post-truth world is:

1. Understand and articulate the things about which I care most so that I know where to focus my energy.

Before this self-awareness, I would churn from issue to issue, outrage to outrage until I either tired or spun out into an online tirade against some internet troll, who was immune to truth and logic anyway. I needed better tactics.

You may also remember that the issues I identified—those things I care about most—turned out to be pretty basic:

  • Ensuring Equal Human Rights for All
  • Protecting the Environment
  • Reforming Campaign Finance and Improving Elections

Even so, there is still a long way from those broad statements, to concrete actions I could take daily/weekly. That’s where I turned to the internet for help. They have action plans covered. Here are the ways I am going to turn my (over)informed outrage passion into progress and deeds. I encourage you to do the same.

tl;dr

For those who really just want directed actions, there are a few options to get email “to-do” lists each week. Be forewarned, you’re going to have to call people to be most effective. I was surprised to learn that conservative activists out-call progressives 4:1. This needs to change. Choose one, or sign up for them all. Action is what is called for today.

Staying informed is the first call to action, and the sources are important. Stay away from Facebook and Twitter for sanity*—Fox News and Huffington Post are nearly as bad. That is why I support and visit the following news outlets and try not to visit others**. Even though most legitimate news outlets have very little bias, if you are having trouble discerning a source’s bias, you can utilize AllSides.

I’ve added a few other information sources that help me know what is going on in Congress and present actionable things I can do along with some ESTIMATED levels of effort.

  • 5Calls – ADDITION – Great way to spend 5 minutes per day making 5 calls on a few issues. (EASY-even though calling people can be hard, this site makes it easy)
  • Countable – This is my new favorite. I’m hoping to work with them to improve their service even more. For now, type in your name and address, and the app provides a list of legislators.  View how they voted on important pieces of legislation—and hold them accountable. It can be used as a simple vehicle to exert influence on upcoming legislation as well. (EASY/MEDIUM-calling people can be hard)
  • Flippable – While state politics may not generate the same energy and theater as national politics, Democrats can overcome gerrymandering and vote suppression by building power at all levels of government, both federal and state. You can even start by helping to flip this upcoming seat in Georgia. #ThinkGlobalActLocal (EASY/MEDIUM-calling people can be hard)

Perhaps you have some specific interests or topics on which you would like to focus. That’s great. There are a lot of options out there. Here are some of mine:

Accountability and eliminating Presidential conflicts of interest.
These feel good and could have a great effect. At least we would be safer if President Bannon were removed.

And maybe you just want to ensure that you don’t help Donald Trump make any more money.  The Boycott Trump iPhone and Android mobile apps make this easy.- If there’s one thing we learned from the #GrabYourWallet campaign in October, it’s that boycotts can work.  Ask Uber.

Ensuring Equal Human Rights for All
Where to start? It seems we are all under attack, or soon will be. The ACLU is just one group helping out, seek out others in your local communities. 

Protecting the Environment
There is so much under attack now, the environment could easily take a back seat. This would be a mistake as there is no more time to be neutral (or worse) on these issues. 

Reforming Campaign Finance and Improving Elections
For long-term effects, I think that an overhaul of election and campaign processes is the most crucial step we can take. Right now we have a party that is ruling from a minority position*** because they have effectively gamed and cheated the system.

[Your most important issues here]
It is important to select only a few things that we are passionate about and focus. Otherwise, we all run the risk of burnout and “outrage fatigue”. There is enough to go around.

Lastly, it is also important to protect and take care of yourself

Footnotes & Additional Commentary
* Do as I say and not as I do?
** For me, these strike the right combination between coverage and style and are balanced. The omission of the New York Times is due to me believing it has enough support without me (thus me not getting access behind the pay-wall and the incorrect but widely held assertion by conservatives that it is left-leaning). If you think the sites I have recommended are politically left or right, you should reexamine them. They are very neutral and provide a great service. Check here.
*** Vote totals from both houses of Congress show that Democratic candidates received nearly 3% more votes yet lost seats (in the House). Much like the Electoral College, the number of votes matters less than where those votes are cast.