Less than three weeks in. Gulp.
But if there’s one thing that I can feel good about--insofar as this whole political situation is concerned--it's that so many of my friends and family members are fired up. (And also, side note: do you feel like you've started talking to some people that you "knew" but didn't "know," as a result of this experience? I love how so many people have been lifting me up and I hope that I've been paying it forward.)
A romance author whom I follow—Sarah MacLean, author of the fabulous A Scot in the Dark--tweeted on February 7th about the “silver lining” we can appreciate these days: “an informed electorate.”
Yes. It’s one of those things that I’m both proud and mildly ashamed of. I should have done more in the past. It should not have taken a man who is both an imbecile and the ultimate reality-show mastermind to show me the error of my ways. And I’m sorry to the people who have been lifting the heavy weight for much longer than the rest of us. Thanks for hanging in there and fighting the good fight before the Trumpocalypse sent so many of the rest of us into a panic.
I’ve written before about my particular journey to political awareness and how I’m trying to move from just writing about my beliefs in Facebook posts, blog posts and the like, to putting them into action.
First, I'm trying to think about how I can move my writing efforts from a personal focus to an external. In other words, I'm trying to think more about what I hope to accomplish with my political related posts. (This woman--Jessica Shuck Christensen gestures to herself--can complain left and right, and it's easy for me to get stuck in that "complaining" phase without moving it into something productive.)
Second, as others have said, while I still believe that a heck of a lot can be done through the written word, it’s also time that I, and so many others, start “putting our money where our mouth is" (i.e. donating to worthy causes), and/or volunteering to make a difference, and/or talking with someone we know who holds a different belief that we do, etc., etc.
Words matter, but actions do too.
My goals throughout this process are not only to resist and stand up for what I believe in (two huge motivations), but also to try to put some more goodness into the world. I always heard growing up that it’s not enough to complain about a problem—I need to try to offer a solution, too.
One of my recent efforts to spread positivity was to sign up for Adopt A US Soldier.
When I was in fifth grade, our social studies teacher at Heritage Elementary made us write letters to U.S. soldiers. I had an amazing soldier pen pal whose name was Kristy. Kristy wrote long letters in cursive on small sheets of lined notebook paper, and she sent me rocks from Bosnia because she knew that I collected rocks. How awesome and amazing does she sound?!
I still have the rocks, mixed in with my others, although I lost contact with Kristy.
I have such fond memories of that pen pal experience, so I was intrigued when a friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about how she had signed up for Adopt A US Soldier. She encouraged others to volunteer as well. I eventually went to the Adopt A US Soldier website, completed some contact information, and about a week or so later received an email with a soldier’s name, address, hobbies, and a comment. The soldier that I was assigned said “Thanks so much for all you do it is great for morale.”
Think on that for a moment.
I wrote one letter to the soldier on Wednesday, and I need to send this week’s later today or Friday. With Adopt A US Soldier you commit to one letter or care package per week. I hope to send a care package at some point in the near future—maybe with some Girl Scout cookies since I bought several boxes and people tend to like those (if we’re allowed to send a box—I have to check the rules).
Now, according to the list of the soldier's hobbies listed in the email, it doesn’t seem like I have that much in common with the particular soldier I’ve been assigned. And I’m not sure how regularly the soldier will be able to respond to me. I’m also not sure if this person will enjoy hearing the day-to-day details of a stay-at-home-mom / aspiring writer with a “sophomoric” sense of humor (thank you, unnamed—and also beloved—Centre C. professor!).
But I do know that this is something small that I can do that won’t require a lot of time or money and that might make a positive difference in someone’s life. I also know that while I don’t always agree with the decisions that are made by whichever commander-in-chief is commanding, I do support our troops and I value the many sacrifices that they have made to protect our freedom. (If you are a servicemember or have been one, or you are a family member of a servicemember, thank you SO very much!).
I’m also excited about the opportunity to show a little love to someone far from home.
It's a little bit of goodness that we can send out into the world.
I'm trying to get my act together when it comes to being more active, even though I recognize that my efforts are very small (particularly when compared to what so many of you are doing.)
I’d love to hear more about how you’re trying to make a difference. Your efforts are inspiring.
About the Author
When my toddler and infant sleep--or are otherwise engaged--I write, read, and eat lots of chocolate.