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What Can I Do?

Lifting up a way to respond to the challenges to our democracy

Daily, President Trump and his supporters invade our consciousness with one assault after another on our spiritual values and democratic ideals. There is no letting up. I will name a few assaults that stand out for me:

  • They have tried time after time to destroy the affordable care insurance plan using “trumped up” reasons for their actions.

  • They implemented the dubious firing of James Comey, U S Attorneys and other officials who disagree with them.

  • They engage in the separation of immigrant families at the border and put the children in cages with no record of their family identity.

  • They support the violent behavior of White Nationalists’ while minimizing injustices leveled at Black and Brown people.

  • They embrace relationships with dictators and tyrants while cutting ties with proven democratic allies.

  • They are allowing thousands of deaths during this pandemic because of negligence in leadership.

  • They engage in ceaseless lies, mis-information and conspiracy theories which betray, compromise and confuse the American public.

We tend to take for granted the institutions our democracy has created which preserve, unify and hold our democracy together. We think they are eternal and everlasting until we get a shocking awakening. President Trump and his supporters have given us this awakening. We are seeing them undermine the role of Congress and the United States Justice Department, collude with dictators to endanger our election security , label our Free Press “Fake News” and now they are trying to destroy our Postal Services.

The Post office is one of our oldest democratic institutions and it has a 91% approval rating by US citizens. No other American institution enjoys such a high rating. If We the People—leaders and ordinary citizens—do not speak up NOW to preserve our democratic institutions, we will lose more and more of them. We will see our democracy systematically unraveled right before our eyes. We will see empowered a Dictator instead of a President. Things will get much worse. We could lose our Free Press and our link to information beyond what the present Administration wants us to know. We could lose all institutions which seek to hold the President accountable.

“What can I do?” is a question you may have asked yourself? I have asked myself many times these past three plus years that President Trump has been in office—what can I do? I ask it after every outrageous Trump action. It is also a question that I have heard from many people like me who for various reasons cannot participate in public demonstrations protesting the injustices. I am aware that many people are protesting privately by using their phones and computers to register their stand for justice and the values we hold. We all can do this. Let us not be silent victims, paralyzed by feelings of powerlessness and low or no initiative, while we watch our democracy disappear and be dismantled in plain sight. If you think your voice doesn’t matter, you are wrong! Your voice matters! Every voice counts just like every vote counts! We can both speak up and vote. They support each other. This is the requirement to maintain a democracy.

As I write this article the Post Office is in jeopardy. It provides us with such essential services including general mail, prescription drugs, packages from online shopping and important business communications. We need our timely and reliable postal services now and beyond the 2020 Election`` I am urging everyone who values our democratic institutions and who may be asking the question, “What can I do?” (or know you should be asking this question, but are not presently able to be involved in public protests), to consider the following action.

Call, send an email or write a letter to one or more of the following—

- President Trump,

- your Senators,

- Representatives in Congress,

- Governor, Mayor or other elected officials who can influence this action.

Ask that the recent changes to Postal Services be reversed, that the equipment that was removed be restored and that full funding for the efficient operation of the Post Office be provided.

We are very grateful to all those who daily put their lives on the line demonstrating for justice, both publicly and privately. We are grateful to all who have supported them with prayers and finances. However too many of us feel powerless to respond in any way. While we hear that many Evangelical Christians are publicly supporting President Trump and his supporters, too many of us from other religious and spiritual institutions are not standing up for our spiritual values such as: love, diversity, community, justice, peace, goodness, and self-control. Let’s do something! Let’s stand up.

I am sure there are many other ways we can make our voices heard that I am not aware of at this time. I invite you to please share what you are doing—that others can also do—with or an organization of your choice so that people can learn from each other. Today, it is the Post Office, tomorrow it may be another institution or injustice. We must be vigilant, stay active in supporting each other and speak up. This is the action we add to our prayers.

by: Rita Dixon is a retired Presbyterian clergy person living in Decatur, Georgia.

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