Trump World is a Mess. How’s the Homefront?

The Resistance has become effective at parade planning and calling Congress but, alas, the next presidential election is almost four years away. Our work has slowed or stopped truly bad initiatives but, by itself, doesn’t build strong communities, educate our children or provide basic services. The federal government is the headline story right now but the arena for real action, in the near term, is at the local and state level. The journey back to sanity begins at our front doors.

Cities, counties, school districts, a myriad of special districts and states – do the vast majority of the public work we rely on for our daily needs. Police, schools, roads, parks, air quality, even tap water are all determined by locally governed boards, legislatures and executives. Most are elected.  And all are subject to political input and small scale popular pressure.

This year city and school board elections are taking place in virtually every community. In 2018, statewide elections will determine who writes the laws, policies and the budgets in 48 states. Additionally, 36 states will elect governors who set the agenda for legislation and the tone of political discourse.  (Virginia And New Jersey will elect new governors and state legislatures this year!)

These officials have the power to protect vulnerable individuals and groups when the Federal authorities do not act or act maliciously.  Importantly, states determine who is eligible to vote; county officials oversee elections at the ballot box. Since 2010, 20 Republican controlled states have passed new laws making it harder for millions of low income, younger and elderly citizens to vote.

Call To Action:

Make a plan for participating in the next elections in your town, district and state.

  1. Check with your Secretary of State or the County Clerk’s office to find out which elections you are eligible to vote in in 2017 and 2018. Put them in your calendar now.
  2.  Identify the elected officials who currently hold those offices and the key issues that they are dealing with. If you can’t find this on the web, call up one or more of the current office holders. Ask them where they stand on the issues you care most about.
  3. Write a Facebook post or a letter to your local newspaper about your conversation. Was the officeholder interested and receptive to your concerns? If yes, support them.  If not, help their opponents win.
  4. Join an advocacy group working to advance your concerns with the city council, school board or county commission. You don’t have to go to all the meetings; just sign up for the newsletter, stay in touch and vote!
  5. Volunteer on a local campaign – meet your neighbors, learn more about your community and how power works.