As I write this in mid-October, I don’t know what will happen with the election. Though many people are already voting early, it seems likely that we won’t know some results, including those for president, until well after Election Day on Nov. 3. Because of high turnout, issues with the voting process, and the current administration’s unwillingness to affirm they will respect the results of the election, it could be a tumultuous time after the election. There will probably be a lot of uncertainty.
Here’s what I do know, though: no election is going to fix our problems. Not all of them, and certainly not in one day. Voting is but one part of our civic duty, and one that should only take – voter oppression notwithstanding – a few moments once or twice a year.
As we know, making real change of any kind in our lives takes more than a few moments. You don’t expect to learn a new skill in a few moments, or to quit smoking, or get a new job. Why would fixing our democracy be any easier? All of us have a role in this, or rather, we have many different roles.
Through our congregation’s work as part of UU the Vote (and our members who work through many other organizations!) we have seen what we can do together, and that even a relatively small input from each of us can make a big difference.
Steps you can to do to help our society (these are adapted from a CNN article):
Go local. Join your PTA, go to a city council meeting. Presidential elections get a lot of attention, but important work and change often happens at the local level.
Join a campaign. If you find a local politician who represents the change you want to see in your community, contact their office to figure out how you can get involved in the campaign!
Subscribe to a paper or other publication you believe in. If you're unhappy with journalism or media coverage, find a publication that represents good journalism to you. Click on it often. Pay for a subscription. Support it any way you can.
Share that knowledge. Have discussions with your friends and family. Engage in respectful debate when appropriate (and no, that doesn't mean on Facebook timelines). Spread the word.
And there are many, many more things you can do! In my household, we’re working very hard to raise conscientious, civic-minded children who understand the realities of the world we live in and are committed to anti-racist and anti-oppressive work.
What can you do to make a difference after the dust has settled from this election?
Collage by Anita Burgess