11 Ways to become more politcally engaged this President's Day & Beyond

11 Ways to Become More Politically Engaged this President’s Day & Beyond

It’s almost President’s Day, so it seems the perfect time to publish a post about becoming more politically engaged, don’t you think? Actually, any time would be the perfect time. Now is always the perfect time for action. Something procrastinators like me should keep in mind regarding many things.

Recently I was part of a discussion in which it was suggested to me that I need to get over it. This time the thing I was supposed to get over wasn’t cancer or grief, it was the recent presidential election.

I don’t appreciate being told I should get over cancer. I don’t appreciate being told I should get over grief. And I don’t appreciate being told I should get over the recent election either. It’s not possible to get over any of these things anyway.

And just because my candidate didn’t win this or any other election, I do not have to accept (or keep quiet about) policies or positions that do not align with my values and neither do you. This is a democracy, after all.

This particular post is not an anti-Trump post. This is not an anti-Republican post. In fact, this post is meant to be an inclusive post in which I am attempting to share some things any of us can do in order to become more politically engaged. As always, I welcome all viewpoints and suggestions.

Here’s my list of random suggestions on how to become more politically engaged:

 1. Get local.

We’ve all heard this one, right? Grassroots seems to be a popular political buzz word. There’s a reason for it. Politics at the local level matters, too, and engagement at this level might be a good starting place to become more involved. School board seats, city council and mayor openings, state senate and rep seats – check them out and support people who support your concerns, heck consider running for seats yourself. Consider running to become a delegate to your state’s convention. If your state is a caucus state, attend. Make calls. Vote in all elections you are eligible to vote in. Get involved at the local level, too.

 2. Become a more  informed citizen.

This means read stuff and not just stuff “your side” writes. Learn more about all political viewpoints. Read whatever you can wherever you can, but vary it up. If you’re more of a cable TV news person, watch different outlets and then sort out the facts and views from there. Think for yourself. And always aim to have an open, questioning mind. (Easier said than done, right?)

 3. Listen to young people.

My generation has made a mess out of a lot of things and frankly, we don’t always listen to the younger crowd because we think we know better. Maybe we do. But maybe we don’t. Young people are smart, savvy and ready to take on way more than we might like to give them credit for. I have tremendous faith they will do a better job on all fronts than my generation has. And on the flip side, listen to old people, too. Their life experiences are a reservoir of knowledge and too often their voices go unheard.

 4. Google ‘Indivisble’.

Do this and then download the pdf guide offered there filled with suggestions on what can be done at the grassroots level.

 5. Write. Email. Call. Sign petitions.

Senators and representatives work for you. They listen to their constituents. I have contacted mine more frequently and signed more petitions in the last few weeks than I have in my entire life. You must find out who yours are. Click here to find yours, and then get into the habit of contacting them whenever you want to. You are not bothering them. Again, they work for YOU. And remember to do this at the state level, too.

 6. Meet and March.

This works for some, but it’s not for everyone. The right to gather and demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental liberty. I am not a protester sort of person. Remember, I’m an introvert. I don’t like crowds. Heck I don’t even like people that much, period. (Kidding. Sort of). We all witnessed the profound impact, visually anyway, the Women’s March had on the entire country no, the entire world, this past January 21st. There’s a reason for that saying, a picture’s worth a thousand words.

 7. Practice self care.

Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it all here either. When you feel up to it, do what you can. It all matters. If you try to do too much, you’ll just burn out anyway. And cut yourself some slack. Becoming a more active citizen is a learning process, too. It’s a skill that takes practice. You’ll get better at this, too.

 8. Find your niche.

Some of us march. Some of us speak out. Some of us blog. Some of us run for office. Some of us donate. Some of us stuff envelopes or make phone calls. Some of us give rides. And so on. The point is, do something.

 9. Pick your battles.

If you are an educator like me, perhaps focus on education issues. If you’re concerned about women’s reproductive rights, get involved with Planned Parenthood. If you care about healthcare, get involved on that front. In other words, don’t spread yourself too thin. The three I mentioned are areas I care a lot about. Of course, I care about many issues, but picking a few to focus on helps keep me sane.

10. Support journalists and the free press.

This one is big, people. Dear daughter has a hard-earned degree in journalism and worked in the field for a few years. She worked her heart out bringing pertinent, timely and above all, accurate news stories to her readers. I am offended when journalists (and others) are lumped together, attacked and referred to as the most dishonest people on the planet. It might be time to support your local newspaper or subscribe to the New York Times, or whichever outlet you like and now read for free online. Perhaps write an editorial piece yourself in your local paper.

11. Run for office.

Yes, I mean YOU. And btw, there are too many older, white men everywhere in politics. Consider running for an office at some level, especially if you are a woman. We need more women running things. Lots more.

I want to add to this list of suggestions.

So now it’s your turn! And happy President’s Day!

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.  Barack Obama

What can a person do to become more politically engaged? Ideas from all welcome, including non-USA readers.

What are your biggest areas of interest, politically speaking?

Do you consider yourself to be politically active?

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11 Ways to become more politically engaged this President's Day & beyond

10 thoughts on “11 Ways to Become More Politically Engaged this President’s Day & Beyond

  1. Hi Nancy,
    I haven’t been very active on my blog and have been neglecting my fellow bloggers because of just this – I’ve been using my lessons learned from breast cancer advocacy and focusing instead on my concerns and fears about this new administration. Your recommendations above are all absolutely dead on! As, of course, you would be, given your intelligence and all the lessons you’ve learned as a breast cancer advocate. I hope that others will take your advice to heart and begin to get involved on a local level. You’re so right, our generation has much to learn from the younger generation and we’ve sure made a mess of things but there is still lots we can do. Glad to hear you’re getting involved, Nancy. I am too. #Strongertogether

    1. Hi Claudia, You are not alone when you say you have been inactive on your blog due to all the other “distractions” going on these days. A different sort of advocacy has been awakened in many of us. Thanks for your kind words and thank you for getting involved, too. I agree, #strongertogether.

  2. Your thoughts and insights are always appreciated and welcomed Nancy.
    I will try to do more (for example, there is an ACLU lobby day at the state capital and they provide trainings
    prior to that) It does seem that a lot of organizations are pushing for help now in advocacy, which is so needed.
    Need to read the other linked article today, as I have postponed making a decision about whether or NOT to take an AI and now that I am several months post- radiation (but still on herceptin) I think my MO will push for a decision at our next appt. I need to find organizations to call to get more backup information (i.e. relative / absolute risk reduction) as I cannot find adequate stats and also my MO is not providing me with much information. I’ll read and comment on other article I hope.

    1. AnnieEllie, Advocacy has always been important, but these days lots more people are getting involved because everything feels more personal for whatever reasons. Like I said in the post, do what you can when you can. It all matters. Good luck with your decision about taking an AI or not. Remember, not everyone has intolerable side effects. I am still on an AI. It’s challenging, but so far, I’m sticking with it. Thank you for reading and sharing. Sounds like you are an email subscriber, too, so thank you for that as well.

  3. Joined my local Indivisible a few weeks ago–and that is why I have been absent in both writing and reading. And like Claudia, I am finding some of those unacceptable cancer lessons I used to threaten to write about are applicable in this new world.
    I do miss my cancer friends tho’. If I get around to blogging again (for cancer) that might be a topic. Anyway, so good to read what you’ve been up to. xoxoxoWendi

    1. CC, Good for you for joining your local Indivisible group. I downloaded the pdf, but haven’t read it thoroughly yet. I’m not sure if there’s a local chapter for me or not. I hope you do get around to blogging again when you’re ready. Thank you for reading my post and taking time to comment, too. xo

  4. Nancy,

    Great advice. When I get some time (LOL), I plan to get involved. I know your post did not take political sides, but I’ll say it here: Trump is a psychopath determined to take our democracy away. That alone is reason to get involved.

    By the way, I haven’t written a blog post in a long time, partly because of the election and all the clutter going on in my head with that and partly because of an exciting change in my life. Working on a blog on the change in my life. Should go up soon.

  5. Nancy, I haven’t been very active on social media in general and it’s partially due to political issues. I’ve avoided exposing myself to more upsetting news. I am still dealing with some personal stuff too — and so far no changes in those areas. I feel overwhelmed, tired, and drained. I wish I can easily make a drastic change in my life but because I am not sure what will happen with healthcare — one of my biggest areas of concern, in addition to women’s rights — I now feel stuck and scared to make a move. And I know many people feel the same way I do. This isn’t right!

    Thank you for sharing all this information with us. It’s important to know how to get involved. xoxo

    1. Rebecca, Lots of people have withdrawn a bit, so you’re definitely not alone. I’m sorry you are feeling overwhelmed, tired and drained. And yes, there are so many questions ahead regarding what’s going to happen with healthcare and women’s rights, among other things. Do what you can, when you can. Taking care of yourself must come first. Thank you for sharing. xo

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