Oh, you went to the Women’s March? That’s great. Really. We’re all so proud of you! When you’re done posting selfies, there is a lot more work to be done if you really want to make a difference beyond shouting slogans playing on the words “grab ‘em by pussy.”
1. Reach out to people with different beliefs. The Women’s March may have made you feel good, but ask yourself: Did you change anyone’s mind? marching with likeminded people in already-liberal leaning areas and yelling into an echo chamber won’t necessarily make your voice heard by those who you’re trying to educate. (You should be trying to educate the voters in areas where you lost.) Have an open, honest dialogue with someone who doesn’t share your views. Don’t lecture her. Don’t explain to her why you’re right and she’s wrong. Instead, ask, “How did you come to that conclusion? What motivates you?” See what she says. She may end up enlightening you at some point if you stop to listen, not just talk at people. At the very least you’ll have enemy intel, which will come in handy later — you won’t be able to sell if you don’t know who your market is, and if you want to expand your market, you have to get the Hell out of your comfort zones and safe spaces. How to do that? Start here.
2. Quit the condescension. You know what happens when you (and pundits like Donna Brazile, Samantha Bee, and even John Oliver, who I like) talk to and about people like they’re stupid and you’re better than them? They vote for Donald Trump. Talk to people like they’re people. Not just in political discourse, but in general. Don’t assume you’re better than a woman from Kansas who lives in a trailer, because guess what? You’re not. You’re really not. As much as you want to think you are, you’re not. People are people. We’re all, as Norman Lear says, another version of each other. Maybe your version just had better circumstances at birth. This editorial sums up where a lot of Democrats went wrong, and so does Anthony Bourdain.
3. Make phone calls. Emailing your congressperson is easy, but calling your congressperson is effective. Why? For the very reason you don’t feel like calling: It’s a pain in the ass and takes more time out of your day than copying and pasting a form letter that a biased writer at ThinkProgress wrote for you. If enough people make enough calls, everything in that office stops. If you could spare an entire day to march with your peers, you can spare a few minutes to leave a voicemail for someone potentially influencing our country’s future.
4. Take action daily. Apps like Daily Action will do all the hard work for you, and it’ll take less than two minutes out of your day to conscientiously object to bills and proposals you don’t believe in. It’s worth it, right?