A year ago, I would have told you that I've always believed in the important of political involvement. That true patriotism is telling your government what you want them to fix, how to make your country better.
A year ago, I couldn't have told you with 100% certainty who my Congress members are.
I've always voted, usually third party. (I did not vote third party for the presidential election. The higher the level of government (local versus national), the more I view it as truly a "waste" of a vote, and there are definitely times where risking a waste of vote can have disastrous consequences. Alas, we got that disastrous consequence anyway.) But beyond that... I've never really bothered to get involved.
I did start attending meetings for the Citizens' Climate Lobby a couple years ago. Its has a goal of promoting a specific bipartisan solution to climate change. I've sporadically attended, but often let life get in the way of fully participating.
But now I have to do something.
I've attended one march (the Women's March), but didn't put forth the energy and time to attend others, including the March for Science, or more frequent (such as BLM) events that frequently take place in Portland. Sometimes that's because I fear they will veer closer to violence than I'm comfortable with (not that such violence is unwarranted in some cases - especially in Portland when it's obvious that the police/government approaches events like BLM much differently than events like the Women's March). Sometimes it's just because I don't want to go out and be in a crowd.
I've done a fair amount of slacktivism, for whatever that's worth. (Not much.)
I've done some writing of postcards to members of congress, and attended one town hall meeting. That might be worth a tad more than posting something on facebook.
I wrote most of the above in January, before attending the Women's March. I was so distraught for the future of our country, and I knew I had to take action.
Then, life happened. I'm privileged enough that I can just let life happen, gradually reduce checking in on specifically what's happening, what opportunities for activism there are, and just, not really worry about. I worried about it, but I didn't have to do something.
Now, Charlottesville. And I have to do something.
I cannot be silent. I cannot be complicit.
We're planning to go to the Eclipse Hate rally this upcoming Friday in Portland. But I know there's more required than that.
This article really speaks to me about the ways it really needs to be ingrained in everyday life to fight white supremacy. If you benefit from privilege, you're complicit in the oppression of the unprivileged. We have to be deliberate to fight against it. Being silent - even if you think there's no one directly in your life that you have to fight against, even if you don't think you're being silent in the face of anything overt - is not ok. Racism is part of our society, and you can't be silent against it. The specific events of Charlottesville may not be something we see every day, but the underlying sentiment, the same beliefs in smaller, but not less harmful, form, happen every day. I wish it hadn't taken this for me to be forced to acknowledge that.