Our lives depend on our political engagement. Not just a few of us, but all of us all the time. It’s not enough to vote every four years, though that’s definitely important. As we have witnessed from the past five years, political power is about reproductive health, Women’s Rights, Education, Immigration policy, wages and corporate oversight, technology oversight, Family Care, access of healthcare, liberty and justice for all. From where I’m working, not one of us can afford to ignore our elected officials ever again. They work for us. And yet a small minority of big spenders controls public policy, domestic security (that farce), education, riparian rights, access to vaccines, the prison-industrial complex, the stewardship of our environment and women’s reproductive rights, and at least in two branches of our government, the Senate and the Supreme Court, not one of those people looks like me, or has much interest in my welfare. That may be fine for you, but I think we deserve better.
Without our continued vigilance, engagement and activism from broad sectors, of white Nationalist, White Supremacists and apparently unabashed Congressional representation of a White Q-Anon believer from Georgia, of all places. Someone explain to me how that happened, please.We even have life appointments of three conservative Supreme Court Judges placed by a blatantly and unapologetic White-Nationalist, Neo-Nazi sympathetic leader. Who knows what the next fifty years will bring for future generations if we do nothing?
Do White Nationalist, White Supremacists and Q-Anon members know something that the rest of us don’t? Yes! They know that political activism is the best way to move policy in any desired direction.
Agitation and activism are the best ways to move policy in any desired direction, but this requires sustained effort, a luxury for people struggling with basic survival concerns. That’s why anyone not worried about food and housing should keep their public officials on speed dial. When you know who you are and what you stand for, waiting for crumbs to fall from the master’s table is unacceptable. Partisanship got us to the present moment, and looks like partisanship will get us out of it, too. And like I just read Abigail Weinberg of Mother Jones frame it: “So be it!” I’m sick of seeing daily representations of toxic masculinity modeled for our children, while exhibitions of Fascism and ineptitude in the face of a pandemic were utterly normalized. That’s not a normal I can tolerate.
If you loved the status quo, do nothing, and we will all see that White Nationalist ethnocentrism resurface again soon. If you want to see change, have your children grow up into kind, intelligent contributors to our democracy, then you better keep your foot on the pedal. Call your senators, and congressional representatives, regularly. Schedule your calls. Keep our elected officials working for us!
I’m also acutely aware that other systemic changes could really help. For example, adding one or two more Senators to each state may be the answer to the population growth of the past 200 years. More representation is better in a pluralistic society. Likewise, Supreme Court term limits and an expansion of that body to include two more Supreme Court Justices could give more people more voice in the direction of our country move in in the years ahead. But these ideas are for the future. First, call your public representatives regularly and remind them that they work for us, and not just a sector of the population that has a strangle hold on our systems of Government and the power such privileges wield.