Even though the Women’s March on Washington is over, we have to stay active. The 10 Actions / 100 Days campaign is a great place to start!
Our first task was to write to our senators. We should encourage them to fight cabinet appointments, advocate for issues that matter to us, and show we’re not going anywhere. The people who represent us should reflect our values, and it’s important to remind them what our values are. We want to see our education system is in good hands, global warming is taken seriously, our LGBTQIA friends live openly and freely, Muslims don’t wind up persecuted, refugees can seek asylum, black communities can trust their police forces again, and women aren’t pushed back to being second-class citizens.
I wrote to both my current senators in Washington and former senators from Ohio. I’m lucky as hell to live in a state where Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are already doing great things. They are both outspoken about issues I already care about, and are in opposition to Trump’s cabinet choices. Instead of railing on them to change, I thanked them for the work they do – and let them know I recognize and appreciate it.
Writing to my former senators in Ohio, however, proved challenging. It’s hard to write to a senator who disagrees with you, but it was worth it. I think arming yourself with information is important for this exercise. It served as a reminder that our senators do good work for their state – yes, even the ones who belong to a different party than me.
For example, the Republican senator from Ohio does a lot of work with military veterans and bringing back jobs. Both Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman care deeply about the opioid epidemic in Ohio, an issue anyone living in Ohio is painfully aware of. While they disagree on some things, both senators work hard to make Ohio a better place to live. I can certainly respect that.
I started by thanking each person for their service to this country and the states they represent – and I truly meant it. Taking time to put it on paper, I thought about how thankless working in government can be at times. If this is the first time I wrote to them, how many others never bother? We vote for them, and trust them to do what’s best for us. How often do we truly thank them for taking on such tireless and thankless work?
It’s important to stay strong and loud during this fight. However, it’s also time to acknowledge and appreciate those who work hard on our behalf. We need to stay focused while being humane in all this.
If you haven’t written to your senators yet, I highly recommend it. Check out the Women’s March on Washington website for ideas and inspiration, and to find your senators. I also recommend finding something, however small, to thank your senators for. They work hard on both sides of the aisle – and showing appreciation, not just opposition, might encourage change. It can’t hurt, right?