Last week, our weekly post addressed the historic Capitol riots that took place on a critical day for our democracy – the certification of the electoral results. January 6, 2021, will now always be remembered as the day a protest became an insurrection. The coup was unsuccessful, however, despite the day’s terror. Supporters of Donald J. Trump have every right to their opinions and their use of the First Amendment. But our freedom to protest does not and will never include violence. The efforts of those who wish to overturn the election at the direction and encouragement of leaders of their political party have been misled and our country will continue to suffer because of it.
For the sake of all of our freedoms, we must not overstep our lines. The health, safety and direction of our country is not dependent upon our elected officials, including the president and vice president of the United States. It is up to us – the people. It’s about accepting loss. It’s about recognizing our disappointment and connecting with others – left or right, black, white or brown – to revitalize our beloved country. The year 2020 (and already 2021) was one that will go down in history. We faced a worldwide pandemic, unthinkable injustices, violent and deadly protests, and political upheaval. It is heartbreaking to see the divide.
But unity can heal. We must come together for the health of our nation and the health of our people. Because without one, we can’t have the other. Whether you are celebrating or mourning the departure of Donald Trump as our 45th president and the swearing in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, there is much work to be done. Take action, but do so with the greater good in mind. Do so because your love for this great nation is greater than your love for a person. Do so because your predecessors fought for you and our future generations will one day thank you for your commitment to the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Here are a few productive, helpful and meaningful ways you can take action:
Get involved politically. Don’t just fight for your favorite politician. Volunteering at the local level for your political party is all part of a much bigger picture and getting hands on can make you feel like a part of something much bigger in a safe and effective way.
Volunteer in your community. Find something you believe in and dedicate your time to making great things happen.
Be a teacher. Today’s youth have witnessed the unimaginable. Teach them that a healthy nation is not achieved with violence. It is made possible through tolerance, unity and action.
Advocate. This doesn’t mean storming a government building with thousands of others. It doesn’t mean spewing negativity on social media. It doesn’t even have to mean taking part in a protest. It means raising positive awareness, lifting up the good and pointing out the well-meaning direction of your cause.
Know your leaders. If all you do is watch and listen to main-stream media, chances are there is a lot you still need to know about the people you consider to be your leader. Take some time to really understand the policies of your government officials. Focus on morals, values and ethics and you really can’t go wrong.
Attend local meetings like town halls, city council and school boards with the intent to listen, learn and contribute, not fight.
Know your American history and civics. Check out trusted sites like USA.gov to get the straight facts. Then take things one step further and share THOSE findings, rather than the comments and opinions of social media influencers.