It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?
Every day brings an outrageous tweet, an executive order that throws things into chaos, a cabinet nominee who is wildly unqualified, or a straight-up liar, or so radically right-wing he or she needs to be opposed.
And who knows what is going on behind the scenes? What is Mike Pence up to? What is Steve Bannon up to?
Just: breathe deep. If your weather is pleasant enough (mine is not), go for a walk. Focus on something good in your life. How are your children? Or your pet? How is your job going? Have you had a good meal lately, or watched a good show, seen a good movie?
If calling representatives gets to be too much, make a call to someone you love who will cheer you up. Do something silly. Paint your nails. Pet your dog or cat (probably before painting your nails).
I, myself, am struggling with the phone calls. Especially because my Republican Senator 1. Has full voice mail, always. 2. Has taken a butt-load of money from at least one of the nominees, which is probably what bought his support. 3. Has accused his constituents of being paid protesters.
My next letter to my representatives is going to go something like the following:
All your voice mail boxes are full.
Your staff is overwhelmed.
People keep coming to your office.
You’ve received an unprecedented level of contact from us, your constituents — not paid protesters BTW — and you have to consider what that means.
You can do the right thing here. Listen to the concerns of your constituents, and think about what you are doing. You don’t have to toe your party’s line, especially when it comes to what your constituents want.
What is that? Do you constituents want you to fight for the ACA? Why resist that idea? Why not take the good and popular parts of that law, and build on it instead of trying to tear it down?
Do your constituents have legitimate concerns about the members of the cabinet? Conflict of interest? Russian hacking? The President’s attack on the media, and his advisors’ insistence on “alternative facts.” Are you constituents worried about Steve Bannon’s access to power?
Why do you think that is?
You don’t work for the cabinet nominees, even though some of them have given you lots of money. You don’t work for the White House. Our current POTUS did not win the popular vote. That should carry some weight for you.
You, Republican representative, do not have a mandate. You did not win nationally in a landslide, and you probably did not win locally in one, either. (Speaking for Senator Toomey, he squeaked back into office with only 52 percent of the vote.)
You work for ME. You work for the people, the families, the women, men, and children of Pennsylvania, and to a larger extent, America.
Your feelings of apprehension aren’t because the guy at the top is a strong leader and is taking this country in the right direction. You should feel anxious; your constituents do. Don’t put your head in the sand. Fight for what is right, not for what is politically expedient.
You’ll sleep better at night.
Again, use what you need, dear reader. Go to 5calls.org. If you need a comprehensive update, check out What the Fuck Just Happened Today? Another good one is shakesville.com.
A reminder: We are not alone.
Take breaks from social media. (This is advice I should use myself.) It is overwhelming. If conservatives truly did feel this way when Obama was voted into office, well, then they have my empathy.
And don’t take on everything. Choose your issue(s), and act on it with calls and letters. Decide if you can go to a town hall or protest. You don’t have to do everything. It’s okay to snuggle on the couch and read novels, too. For a few hours. As many have pointed out: this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.