By Ed Diokno
Views from the Edge
Since Donald Trump’S inauguration as the 45th President of the U.S.last Jan. 21, the people have risen in a dramatic display of democracy in action demanding they be heard, insisting that their Congressional representatives listen to their concerns about policies seeking to undo generations of progress for all Americans.
It is inspiring!
You have packed town halls, demonstrated in the streets, protested at airports in spontaneous displays of patriotism. You have held meetings in your homes, organized forums and staged boycotts.
From the white bandanas worn by models during New York’s Fashion Week to the government employees who have started their own social media sites to the judges defending the Constitution in the courts, you have done whatever you could to show your displeasure of the current administration.
From the days immediately after the election when we thought all was lost, the future looked dismal and hope had disappeared with the previous administration, we have regained our sense of hope and we see bright lights on the horizon.
“We will look back on this Trump ban as a shameful chapter of US history,” said Bill Ong Hing, a University of San Francisco law professor who has worked to defend American civil liberties.
Hing explained that several organisations – San Francisco’s Asian Law Caucus, as well as New York’s Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund – are among the legal minds participating in the nationwide fight against the order.
As someone who has worked for a politician, one of things that we emphasized in our office was to battle complacency and apathy. There were times when I doubted the future of democracy with so few people voting, attending town halls and taking part in what we dubbed, The Process.
I can tell you that there are not many more powerful influences than having a constituent, or a group of constituents, meet with their elected representative to voice their concerns and issues. Although we preferred thoughtful give-and-take, there were times when it became unruly, but we got the message, nevertheless.
A group of staff members of politicians got together to share what they learned on the job so that you can be more effective in communicating with your elected official. They’ve been joined by scores of volunteers to work on this guide on their own time. They seek to emulate the tea party for progressives
The video below gives you the highlights in an understandable format. For more details, click here. It’s good stuff and I can tell you from experience: It works!
In order for our voices to be heard and perhaps change a few votes in the House and Senate, maybe even change a mind or two in the White House, we have to be persistent, beyond the first three weeks of Trump, beyond the first 100 days, but we have to plan and strategize for the long term.
In the short term, we have to act whenever one of the President’s executive orders or the GOP dominated Senate makes up new rules to silent the opposition. But in the long-term, we have to think of ways of improving the Affordable Care Act, keeping Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – all of which are being targeted by the Trump administration and Republicans, and all of which will take time to completely undo.
Deporting millions of immigrants who have lived in the U.S. most of their lives, issuing travel bans aimed at refugees and Muslims, denying climate change and other issues such as eliminating the EPA and Education, returning to a fossil fuel dependence top a long list of other issues that are in the Trumpeters’ long-range plans
Remember, as the demonstrations in the last few weeks have shown: There are more people who voted against Trump than voted for him. You are not alone.
Democracy is not a sport for bystanders. You need to get off the sidelines and into the game, participate and be knowledgeable in order for our government to work for you.
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