Doing Your Part

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I have written in the past about not losing hope in these troubled political times. Good change can come if good people get active. In the past there were many people who did organize and advocate for change. All that is good about our current society is the result of these people’s activism. Some of these people were the great men and women we read about in the history books. But many were unsung, unknown people who did the small things needed to build progress.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. Democracy must have citizens that do their part. They don’t have to be political junkies, but they do need to pay attention and be willing to participate. You may think politics is dirty and you don’t want to get involved. But politics is the way we organize and run our society. And politics will happen to you whether you are involved or not. As the saying goes, “If you don’t have a seat at the table…you may be on the menu.”

The election of the current, ignorant, arrogant, incompetent “leadership” has accomplished one positive result. Many people are starting to wake up and get involved. This is demonstrated by the increase in the number and size of protests in 2017. The Women’s March last January 21-22 had an estimated 5 million people protesting in Washington D.C. and 409 cities across America. The March for Science in April had over 1 million attend in over 600 cities worldwide. Massive citizen opposition killed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Punitive actions on immigration have been stalled by citizen activism. Trump, for all his destructiveness and divisiveness, has been a great organizer of resistance against him and his policies.

Especially heartening is the increase in the participation of younger people. At my age pretty much everyone is “younger” but I am referring to folks in the 20 and 30 something range. Many new organizations have been created specifically because of the current administration. An article in The Nation magazine said they counted 75 groups but only wrote about a few of the most promising. Here are three organizing in Wisconsin.

Indivisible (http://www.indivisible.org) is a progressive, issue oriented group dedicated to promoting “defensive” resistance to the Trump agenda. The all volunteer group is linked to the national Indivisible movement. They have a great guide to influencing legislators at www.indivisibleguide.com. There are local chapters in Wisconsin

Our Revolution (https://ourrevolution.com) is an all-volunteer group that works to bring people together to stay connected and motivated to enact progressive policy, get authentic representation in our local government. There are chapters in a few places in Wisconsin.

Citizen Action Organizing Cooperatives are local member-owned, democratically led multi-issue organizations in Wisconsin. They are the organizing arm of Citizens Action Wisconsin (www.citizenactionwi.org). These local groups work on issues important to the members and their local communities. The members are fighting for Healthcare for All, for clean water, for good jobs, fair elections, and many other issues. You can read more about their work in the article about the Northcentral Organizing Co-op.

Of course there are many other organizations advocating for social justice, peace, equal rights, environmental protection and workers’ rights. All of them are doing good things and need support. I cannot list them all in this article.

If I have missed your favorite group, please write an article on your work and send it to Middle Wisconsin News.

Bottom line is we all need to do our part. It has been said that “in a democracy people get the government they deserve.” President Obama has said, “…if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy….then it results in bad government and politics.” We all need to pay more attention to what affects our lives and communities. Getting involved is a great way combat both cabin fever and Mad Trump Disease.