Activism: What is helping me cope

  1. Changing the goal posts.  My focus isn’t on making the world incrementally better or keeping it the same, but limiting the damage that is being done.  Everything I do makes progress towards that goal.  I cannot lose.  And, unlike normal times, there isn’t a chance that I’m making things worse.  It’s all uphill from this perspective.
  2. Not reading the news at all.  I’m paying for news, but I am not looking at headlines.  Instead, I am reading @wandsci and @scalzi and, when I’m feeling up to it, various indivisible twitter accounts or @decaro_nick.  They provide a filter for what’s important and what’s actually going on vs. what’s rumor.
  3. Linking troubling information to actions.  I feel better when I’m doing something about the thing that’s bothering me.  Even if it doesn’t get anywhere, I tried.  I call, I give money, I fax, I send letters.
  4. Talking with other people who are also being active and doing things.  Especially people who are doing even more.  They inspire me.
    1. Keeping abreast of the amazing amount of organization that’s happening.  Groups are meeting with other groups.  They’re coordinating.  People are joining them.  People are starting them.  At midterms it won’t matter that the official democratic party is a disorganized mess because we WILL elect moderate republicans in the primaries and flip districts to democrats where possible.  Indivisible will do that.  Groups with the name Alliance or Warriors etc. will do that.  They’re organized.  They’re strong.  They’re growing.  They’ve got money.  If we’re not fascist yet, things are going to happen.  The newly complacent tea party won’t know what hit them, nor will they particularly care now that there’s no longer a black president.
  5. Asking people who tell me that activism in my red state doesn’t make any difference to shut up.  Because even if I know my senator is never going to vote against a racist bigot because he himself is a racist bigot, my calls and the protests I attend send a message that he can’t go as far as he wants in that direction.  He needs to think twice about doing worse things.  Having second thoughts about doing horrific things at the very least slows them down.  AND I’m not the only person who has suddenly become politically active.  A year ago my voice wouldn’t have mattered, but today I am part of a chorus, and that chorus is growing stronger.  Every week I’ve been calling, my representative’s opinions have changed, and they’ve changed because of people like me calling for the first time because it matters and we know we’re stronger together.
  6. Getting my actions each week from one of the weekly lists we mention in our activism tab.  I’ve been going broad instead of deep.   This way I don’t have to be exposed to the entire world of media out there and can just focus on something someone I trust has already curated (I like Actions for Americans because they have a paragraph and links explaining each issue) and get my voice out there efficiently.
  7. Practice and habit.  Calls are WAY less anxiety-producing now.  I have a habit.   I go through Actions for Americans each week.  Later in the week when I get hit with news, I check out what @decaro_nick or my local indivisible groups say to do (if it’s local) and I do that.  I know which of my senators’ local office numbers have a non-zero chance of working and which ones try to make it more difficult to leave a message.  It’s much more matter of fact now than it was when I first called with my voice shaking.  It’s just part of my weekly routine.  Protest whatever atrocities are on the plate for this week.  So that 4 years from now I won’t have to anymore (hopefully then I’ll start calling to support positive change).

What is helping you cope?


27 Responses to “Activism: What is helping me cope”

  1. oilyfarmgirl Says:

    Glad this helps you cope!

  2. independentclause Says:

    I’ve been printing out info to give to some of my student-colleagues who are troubled. Your list/thoughts are inspiring to me. You’re doing citizen action. Other people are doing activist action, but I am more of a citizen than an activist too.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That is a good thing to have on hand. What kind of things do you put in there? Information about counseling services and what to do if ICE officials show up?

      • independentclause Says:

        That’s an excellent set of ideas. I really just printed out the “Wall of us” action scripts, updated what needed to be updated (i.e., Michael Flynn), and put down the numbers of our senators and representatives. I told her to share it with people. I can’t do anything officially in my place of employ. But you are giving me ideas…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’ve been printing out a list similar to what we have in our activism tab (up top right), but with information on our specific legislators (like what you have) and our own local groups that they can join or follow. The list is growing!

        We are part of a movement. Even if my legislators don’t realize it yet.

  3. SP Says:

    The weekly activism checklists, small donations, and trying to filter it all out. I can’t believe it hasn’t even been one month. :/

  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Similar things: paying attention ‘superficially’ (not doing a deep dive on every single thing that comes up, every day), taking on only on thing a day or 4 things a week so that I’m not overwhelmed. I see a lot on Twitter but I also choose to not be immersed in it in other ways like reading news articles constantly. I share some on the blog, and share some in my private groups.

  5. chacha1 Says:

    The whole fascism situation was a catalyst for me and my husband deciding to move out of our lovely but increasingly-a-strain-to-afford apartment and into a rental house owned by some friends. The move won’t happen for six months, but once it does, our rent is going down significantly – so significantly that the increased commute (likely temporary for me, as I will immediately start looking for a different job) is an acceptable compromise.

    What that means in terms of coping is that our living expenses will be stabilized, at a much lower level, for the long term. No more wondering how much the rent is going up next year. And if necessary, either of us could pay the entire rent without freaking out, which basically means one whole paycheck could be saved. (Probably WON’T be – I know us! – but could be. We will be saving a lot more, though, for sure.) So that the spectre of a layoff, in case there is another recession, is not so gruesome.

  6. undine Says:

    Bravo for these inspiring activism tips. As you say, they’re working, or else why would WaPo run a whole article about legislators escaping by the back door to escape angry constitutents?

  7. bogart Says:

    Yes, activism. For me this is calls, money, marches. I cannot do everything, but I am doing a bunch (of course a bunch is needed). The 5Calls site and my local Indivisible group help guide my activism (but it also takes other forms, like giving $, which I have automated (though I want to give more), and shopping at immigrant-owned local businesses, which I am making habit for simple things like where I fill my gas tank). So I find those helpful. I have used this site’s info. — — to put widgets on my phone so that I can direct dial my (red-state) Senators every time I have 2 minutes to spare — which is often. So that helps, more time calling, less time fiddling with my phone.

    I am spending too much time on the news, but I have a twitter feed that is (kind of) working for me, in terms of managing that. I find helpful as an aggregator — hopefully avoid missing stuff I should be aware of without having to dig deep into stuff I don’t want to/have time to (but still, links to those things I do want to learn more about).

    Seeing all the other activists heartens me. Getting this email from a family member living (and teaching) in former Eastern-bloc Europe yesterday heartened me more — and of course it goes for every single person engaged in the resistance — “I was reading about demonstrations and thought of you. Just a note from the other side of the Atlantic: it matters a lot. The world sees the marches and sees you, and it makes a difference. My students here speak about them, and a recurring subject of discussion is class is the fact that Trump does not have the support of the majority of voters. So just a word of encouragement, the rest of the world sees you, at the very least.”

  8. bethh Says:

    I attended two in-person gatherings this weekend that are coming up out of locally-oriented facebook groups – our local Indivisible group is definitely in the forefront in terms of organizing and others are following in their footsteps.

    Check this out for awesome: one of our senators hosted a local get-together with the main purpose of getting groups and organizers talking to each other. I wasn’t there but I hear there were over 30 people in the room, all women, and that they intend to meet with him again in about 6 months.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:


      My sister is hosting a meeting for local organizers (she calls them “team leads” because she works in industry) in her city tomorrow night. Our senators are hiding from us and I cannot imagine them trying to facilitate dialogue. Your senator is awesome!

  9. Cloud Says:

    They tell people in red states your calls don’t matter, and people like me in blue states our calls don’t matter, just for different reasons. But in fact, all of our calls matter. Red state Indivisible groups on Twitter bring me so much joy!

    I’m glad you find me a helpful filter, although I’m a bit of a stochastic one….

    What I’m doing to stay sane is indulging in escapist TV a bit more in the evening, so I can really tune out. I’m quite addicted to a cheesy Dutch detective show called Lord and Master right now. I am also giving myself permission to email instead of call when it is an issue I know my reps are already on the right side of, and I’m just voicing support. I really hate making phone calls, so I’m saving that for the things where the phone call will have more impact.

  10. Middle class revolution Says:

    I always thought calls in red or swing states meant more than in blue states! To cope, Im donating to groups in swing states. i think there’s an election in Georgia that can be pivotal.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Blue folks need your calls too so they can say how many people are supporting what they’re doing. Plus if they don’t hear from you sometimes they make bad choices because they think you don’t care.

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