I used to be a “Social Media Activist”. I would share a post about some injustice I was seeing in the world and think that was me doing my part. I had never canvassed, and never knocked on a door. I had no idea what real activism or organizing were like, but I thought I was participating in my democracy. I thought the system was working. That all changed after the 2016 election.
By February of this year, no one had stepped up to run for State Representative in the 92nd district, so I raised my hand and decided to run. I was scared and overwhelmed-I had no idea what to do or how to run a campaign. I just knew that my community (and Pennsylvania) needed people to stand up and fight for progress and a better place to call home. I was simply not ok with accepting the status quo anymore. The common uniting factor for many first-time candidates this year, especially the women, is Donald Trump. He has inspired a nation to fight for what they believe in. I am joining them, doing everything I can to fight against the direction our state and country are heading in.
For too long, Democrats have been hiding in our homes, fighting the good fight via facebook and snarking on twitter. That is not enough these days. The news is impossible to keep up with. Our state government is ignoring our cries for redistricting reform, a living wage, equitably-funded public schools, affordable healthcare, and gun safety regulations. Our national government is committing human rights violations, disappearing from world leadership, destroying the environment, and crossing the line from a democracy to a fascist state. If this isn’t the time to put your phone down and pick your clipboard up, when will it be the time? (By the way, if you really love your phone, you can use an app to canvass!)
The extremists hijacking our government don’t care what we think of them. Lawmakers in Harrisburg don’t seem too bothered by the fact that they went home early for summer break without passing legislation that is strongly supported by the majority of Pennsylvanians. House Republicans in Washington have no problem letting Trump spew racist, hateful comments about immigrants because they got their tax cuts and they’re coming for your Social Security and Medicaid. It’s better to keep us distracted, after all, so they can achieve their legislative wish list while we are protesting their cruelty.
My point is, it is time to stand up. To rally and protest, sure, but to put our skills and money where our values are. There are passionate, dedicated candidates pounding the pavement across Pennsylvania this summer, working to understand your views and fight for you in Harrisburg and Washington. But we need help. It is not enough these days to pledge to vote. We all need to be doing more. We need to abandon this idea that simply liking policies or putting a yard sign on your lawn will bring about change. We need to work for it, and we cannot do it alone. I implore you to find the candidates running in your area. Send them a donation. Take a leap of faith and offer to volunteer in some capacity. If we want to save our state and our nation, we need to work for it. All of us.