This post aims to provide a non exhaustive list of ideas of things people can do. Doing nothing is no longer an option.
Each item is discussed more below, but in order of importance:
The time for action is now. Imagine how much harder it will be if/when he is a dictator? Then you are going to leap into action and sort it all out? Now that it will be really hard and probably more dangerous?
You cannot wait and hope somebody else is going to sort it out. You can't sit on your hands and hope the 'checks and balances' are going to fix it. If the last few years, and especially the last few months have taught you anything, that those processes are largely broken.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
We live in dangerous times. Post the impeachment a few things have happened. Trump has attacked individuals who he sees as enemies - like Vindman. He has also attacked people who have nothing to do with impeachment, such as sacking Vindmans brother. How very mob. Trump and Barr have put pressure to reduce Roger Stones 7-9 year likely sentencing to something much less.
What does this mean?
On the last point you might think - oh that's a bit much, what happens if Democrats win, or even win big? Well…
The point I'm trying to make here is that Trump and co, are not playing around. They are all in. They have everything lose. Like a cornered animal, they will do whatever it takes. If nothing else the impeachment was useful in making clear that this is the reality.
I'm going to put these into an order of what I believe are most important first. That's not to say things lower down the list are not worth doing - not at all. What I'm really arguing is YOU SHOULD DO SOMETHING.
Even if the worst case scenario does happen, your future self will thank you that at least you got off your ass and had the guts to do something. Just to be totally clear - I don't consider 'voting' as getting off your ass and doing something. It's the absolute minimum anybody should do in a democracy.
The single most important thing you can do is vote. This might seem surprising, this is the top item in this list based on previous points that voting might not be enough. There is no contradiction though - voting may not be enough, but it is the mechanism that ideally will take us back from the brink. If Democrats win big in the 2020 election, that will make it significantly harder to deny it. Hopefully if Democrats win, there is enough mechanisms in place so a transition takes place - but if the past few years have taught me anything, that we cannot rely on this. Again and again processes, 'checks and balances' and the enforcement of the rule of law have failed us.
So to be clear, JUST voting is not enough.
That you should vote Democratic, even if you don't agree with all of their platform. Even if you are not mad about their candidate. Why? Because we must revert to the constitution and the rule of law. Since there are only two parties, the Democrats are the only choice if you care about democracy in America.
Protesting works. To be clear I'm talking about the out in the streets type protesting. If you have never done it before it can at first feel a little strange and awkward. That said persistent protesting works. Protesting with large amounts of people works. Ideally you have both.
If you go to a protest, and there aren't many people - that's fine keep protesting. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. Every big thing starts from something small.
There are people who are protesting in your area. Find like minded people and organize. Some organizations…
Historically speaking all the major changes - abolition of slaves, civil rights and women's right to vote happened because of people protesting. When protests are large, persistent and have good leadership with clear goals things can happen. There is certainly a clear near term goal - remove Trump. At a minimum meeting with other like minded and motivated people has a better chance of determining what will work than most other options. Given the circumstances I believe it remains one of the most important things you can do.
Go out and find other like minded people. Canvas for the Democratic party in your area. Talk to people, try and persuade them. Persuade them about the severity of the situation. That they need to do something. That they should persuade other people.
That if you are talking to a Trump supporter, I'm not suggesting you should endlessly argue with them. On the other hand it is worth talking with them to try and understand where they are coming from. If your careful you can nudge them. That said it's not uncommon when directly confronted Trump supporters engage in infuriating bad faith arguments which are largely pointless. I recommend the 'alt-right playbook' as a good source to understand bad faith arguments.
There are a few ways to approach Donations from the point of view of combating Trump. When donating to a Charity I generally do a background check on them…
This gives you a quick summary of how effective and transparent an organization is.
Committee to Protect Journalists
Subscriptions (digital or physical) help pay for journalists and investigative reporting
Contact your direct representatives often. Contact them if you think they are doing something good. Contact them if you think they should be doing something or doing more. If your representative is a Republican, you can and should contact them about their ongoing shameless fascist enablement. I think it is also very worthwhile to contact them if you think they did something good.
That because most people do nothing, your just doing something puts you above the fray. It means you have more influence than you think.
You can contact via a webpages: This is quick and easy. The email will be read by someone in the representatives office. When I do this I always tick the 'I want a response' not because the responses add up to much, it just implies a bit more effort on their side.
Calling by phone: This has the advantage that you will speak with someone who will have to listen to you. That takes time and effort - more than just scanning a mail and deleting it. On the other hand this may take more of your time to do. Even if you only speak for a couple of minutes it is worth it.
Sending a physical letter: On the one hand it's something real. On the other hand it can be 'thrown on the pile'.
Opinion is somewhat mixed on how best to contact your representatives. The most important is that you do contact them and regularly - say aim for once every month.
Visiting in person: This is going to have the most impact, but also requires the most effort.
To contact Virgina representatives
You can also contact the House and Senate leaders too:
You can contact the army of darkness too
It is important to know what is going on. That it can be depressing and tiring because there are so many terrible things happening. But you need to put the effort in. So you understand the situation. So you can talk intelligently with people. You can't persuade people if you don't know anything. How can you know how this may effect you, or your children and family now and into the future? How can you combat it?
Moreover we also live in an age where a lot of reporting is terrible. From straight propaganda, to click bait, to just weak reporting. If you are going to be able to figure out what's real and fake you are going to have to put the effort into knowing what's going on and why.
So first off I'll say you are not informed if you get your news from social media. Social media is inherently a bubble built around you, to exploit you. That bubble might be a soft fluffy bubble that just has puppies. Or it might be full of stories that wind you up and make you constantly mad, whilst missing all the subtle goings on. It might be a stream of lies and memes - that you like as they make you laugh and prop up your current views. None if this is really informing you though. If you want to be informed it can't be from social media.
It's also worth saying that you should probably never read You Tube comments. Around things that are political in nature they are typically a cess pool.
I like reddit politics. You might argue it's 'social media' - but the big difference is that it's not a bubble around me. As it turns out the majority of people on r/politics seem to think Trump is a bad idea, but if you want to see what Trump enablers are pushing, you can go to the 'New' posts which are typically less filtered.
You can also go to other reddit groups (like r/conservative or worse r/the donald). I'll warn you though that it's not pretty.
If you want to have a more rounded picture of whats going on I would suggest 'The Week'. I have a yearly subscription. The Week is a magazine, which takes articles from sources all across the spectrum - right to left, and distills what they say. By paying for a subscription you are giving some money to real journalism. I personally really liked distillation it means I can get the gist without having to trudge through the broadsheets.
There other news sources out there which are generally good such as
The BBC news seems to have lost it's way a bit, but is still generally reliable for world news
Hopefully it's obvious that Fox 'News' is not news, it's propaganda. There is a huge right wing media machine that is just spin, stupid conspiracies and feels over reals. If you find and article/site that says something explosive - it's always worth looking at their about page, or look them up on wikipedia. Equally looking up the authors of articles often provides insight into where they are really coming from.
If you have a blog post, especially if it has some reach you could do some good posting about this stuff. How you do it is up to you, and depends on who your blog is for, what kind of audience you have and how you get persuade them.
If you think such a post might offend some of your readers - I'd argue that is more the reason to do it. That you shouldn't be cowered into not speaking up. That many of the people who would be offended, need to be subjected to what's going on outside their bubble.
You may get nasty comments. If you don't want that turn off the comments, or delete the ones you don't like. Do not feel you need to respond. You are making your point. It's your blog and you control it.
As you can probably tell, I'm not a big fan of social media. On the other hand lots of people use it regularly, and you can reach a sizeable amount of people through it. It could be argued that Social Media should be higher up on this list and that might be hard to argue against. There are several problems with it as I see it…
So before going into a little more about what those are about, I'll first give the advice.
That speaking and being with real people is better. Better for your health in general. Better for such discussions. Better for making your point. A better use of your time.
If you feel that you can't keep responding to a comment thread, then perhaps this is not worth doing at all, as the dangers may outweigh the benefit. If you find yourself seeing red when you are posting - then it has got out of hand. The reason for not even looking at other peoples responses is so you do not fall into the trap of expending a huge amount of effort and time on people who are often not arguing in good faith. That is not an argument worth having.
You can find out more about bad faith actors in 'the alt-right playbook'.
There are other ways to protest than in the streets. You can boycott a Trump supporting company. If the company you work for is enabling you can contact the management. This can be effective - but I have low on the list as it's not clear how effective, and typically requires a lot of people to do it, although probably less than you'd think.
You can strike. Striking can be very effective as seen with airport TSA strikes in the US. Striking is very effective but requires significant support, good leadership and direction to make it happen. Striking on your own isn't going to get results. If you have the right combination this might be the top of the list.
I've put striking under wildcard as I don't know where to place in the list. It could be the most important thing you can do. But depending on your circumstances it might not be possible.
Real world petitions can be important - with people signing an actual document. One concrete example is signing a petition to get a candidate you like on the ballot.
Online petitions… hmmm. I don't know. They probably aren't that effective. They are often easily gamed. The results are often ignored (say for example the FCC net neutrality petition).
Doing it might make you feel like you've done something, but in actuality it's probably not very effective. It would be better to expend your effort on something further up the list.
Another line of thought is to try and address the symptoms. For example the Trump administration is in the process of removing millions of people from food stamps, so you might want to help in a soup kitchen. You want to do something about climate change and so you buy an electric car, or get solar panels for your home. These are all really great things to do - and no doubt will help with some of those problems in the long term. Unfortunately they do not address the near term problem of a Trump enabling corrupt government devolving into Fascism.
So you cannot and should not use them as an excuse for not engaging in trying to get Trump removed.
These are probably part of the wider picture of being informed. The films of Adam Curtis give a broad backing of how we got here. You can see them online for free at thought maybe.
Oh Dearism II and Non-Linear War