The burden of citizenship

I had every intention of writing a post about Donald Trump’s first week as president.  I decided to do a little research so that I wasn’t just reacting to the emotional posts I’ve seen on facebook.  Educate myself.  I googled it.  I read several articles – pro and con – including the wikipedia narrative on Donald J. Trump, incumbent president.  Afterwards?  I sat in my chair feeling helpless, staring at my screen.  (This is exactly why I don’t normally get involved with political issues – this overwhelming feeling of fear.  What if?…..)

So here’s what I have to say about that:  I am about as far removed from the presidency and most of his current issues as you can get.  I live in a very small town in a very large but sparsely populated state. (Montana is the 4th largest state and the 44th by population).  Our nearest larger city is Missoula, home of the University of Montana.  Because of this, I may see people of other races when I am in Missoula shopping.  I do happen to live on an indian reservation and I am a tribal member – so I do have that going for me.  Changes in healthcare and medicare will directly affect my life – I will feel the sting personally.  Many of the other issues will not affect me – at least not right away and not directly.  I’m sure that is what most people are thinking.  I also think, “He won’t get away with this”, “He can’t do this”, “Someone will step in and take care of this”.  And then I sink into that helpless feeling.  WHO will take care of this?

Logically – we have to remember that OF COURSE he is going to sign all of these executive orders and bulldoze through all of his campaign promises immediately on his first week in office.  He knew when he made them that most of them were unconstitutional and unrealistic BUT that is how he got the votes.  He HAS to charge in, kick ass and take names.  Isn’t that how he won you over?  By promising to make America great again?  If all of his promises fail, if his executive orders are proven unconstitutional, if he is stopped by anyone – he will say that he is TRYING but his opposition is blocking his efforts – he needs to clean house of all the naysayers.  Have you looked at his list of nominees for his cabinet?  I hadn’t until this morning.

I have never contacted my representatives – until this presidency.  Frankly, the more I read, the more I know – the more helpless I feel.  I would love to ignore all of this – continue not reading the paper (too infuriating and depressing), not watching the news, dropping facebook and sitting in my little corner of Montana and pretend none of this is happening.  It doesn’t affect me anyway.  BUT it could…eventually, it COULD.  If I am to be honest, the reason I’ve always hated politics is because it is a BURDEN to have to hear these things and feel this way.  But if I don’t carry my share, who else will?

My grandfather came from Mexico – crossed the border as a 10 year old boy.  I know people who have had abortions.  I know people who are in the U.S. on work visas.  I know people who NEED healthcare.

We have to pay attention.  We have to speak up when we can – when we see an injustice.  We have to listen, read, watch.  But most of all, we must be mindful, make good decisions based on research.  Speak from a place of knowledge not panic or paranoia.  Don’t let fear send you into a frenzy of apocalyptic proportion.  When you hear something unnerving (as you will in the days ahead) – read about it.  Think about it.  Compose yourself.  Then speak, write or protest.  Let your voice be heard not as a radical but as a citizen.