In the wake of the election, a number of commenters to this blog—here and on Facebook—have asked a simple question: what can we do? How can Americans of good will mount an effective resistance to Trump and the Congressional Republicans?
It’s a question that has been asked on a number of other venues as well.
There is a big difference between sharing concern and disapproval on social media with friends who are likely to agree with us, and actually engaging in productive activism. A decision to make a genuine difference, deciding how to do that and actually following through is where the rubber meets the road, as the old saying goes. So it will be interesting to see who steps up to engage with the forthcoming “Activism Engine.”
Regular readers of this blog know that one of my sons lives in Manhattan, where he is a free-lance web designer and developer. Since the election, he has spent countless hours creating a website geared to people who want to make a difference, but have no idea how to start—people who are not “web savvy,” who have not necessarily been politically involved before.
The site is very simple to use: you can choose your state (or entire country, and eventually, your city), choose what most concerns you from a relatively short list of issues (the environment, reproductive rights, elections and voting rights, etc.), and see what legislation is pending in Congress and/or your state and what direct actions—marches, petitions, protests– are being planned by organizations focused on those issues. There is a place to keep track of your involvement, and even share it on social media if you are so inclined.
Perhaps the most impressive—and useful—part of the site allows you to effortlessly contact your elected officials. Put in your address, and a list comes up of everyone who represents you from your City-County Councilor to the President, with contact information including telephone numbers. No need to go elsewhere to find out who your congressman or state legislator is, no need to look up address or phone number.
My son plans to roll out a beta test in Indiana later this month. BUT—and this is a big BUT—the usefulness of the tool he has worked so hard to create absolutely depends upon the information it will contain. In Indiana, that means that people who are knowledgeable about bills filed in the General Assembly need to insure that information is included and current; people aware of upcoming “direct actions” need to convey that information via the site.
This tool is free to use. The site will never have advertising, it is not an “organization” that will fundraise. It will never share private information about its users. It is meant to be an added “outreach” mechanism for organizations like Hoosier Environmental Council, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU—among many others. We hope–and expect–that those organizations will share information through the Activism Engine as well as their own websites.
As I mentioned, the plan is to “beta test” the site in Indiana, to see how it works, solicit feedback, and to fix any bugs before taking it national.
If this “one-stop-shop” for activism is to work, however, it needs dedicated volunteers who will post the necessary information. If you are interested in being one of those volunteers, or at least finding out what is involved, Please go to this url and fill out the form: https://ae.stephensuess.com/
Be the rubber that meets the road.