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Charles: You should become an activist this year



It’s 2018. You absolutely need to get off your butt and engage in some kind of activism. It is our collective apathy and complacency which enabled Donald Trump to become president. Yes, we are all, in some way, a little bit culpable. Youth between 18 and 24 have a lower voter turnout. Citizens aged 55-64 have the highest voter turnout, at 71 percent. Overall, only 15 percent of eligible voters actually vote. So we as millennials are overrepresented by roughly 24 percent of the American population. That needs to change.

Many opportunities have sprouted up within the past two years for engaging in activism. I am personally a big fan of Indivisible, an organization that formed to counter Trump’s policies. For those of you who simply want to resist Trump, while not necessarily advocating any singular platform, Indivisible is the way to go. I’ve often wondered; how do we reach out to Republicans who still can’t bring themselves to the left wing, but still hate Trump’s policies? What if you are “Pro Life,” but really want to find an outlet to help immigrants and refugees? Or what if you really do want to see more women involved in politics, but dislike Hillary Clinton? You’re still welcome to participate in the Women’s March on January 20. There is a relationship between conservatism and Trump, – namely his shameless pandering to the Evangelical right – but I’m not ready to point fingers at fiscal conservatives. I’m not interested in further exacerbating the tensions between those who identify as right wing and those who identify as left wing. If we can find room to include those on the fence, we ought to.

Some of you may still believe the apocalyptic rhetoric is unwarranted. Perhaps you haven’t witnessed the rise in hate crimes, the language of rape culture from our politicians and certain entertainment figures or the extremely disturbing suggestion that we ought to strike North Korea first to humiliate them. Ask yourself this question: “Would I benefit in some way from unbridled racism, sexism and xenophobia?” If your answer is yes, then you need to check your privilege. As the saying goes, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression”.

Our self-absorbed culture is partially responsible for the rise in anti-democratic thought and uncivil rhetoric. It’s wrong to believe that we’re on some progressive trajectory in which we can become complacent and ignore what our activist parents and grandparents fought for. We still need to actively preserve our institutions.

Ask yourself this: What do you care about?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Food for Lane County

Indivisible

Democratic Socialists of America

Black Lives Matter

UNHCR


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Melody Charles

Melody Charles