Wednesday, January 25, 2017

1 #Resist, Rest, Repeat: Viva la Resistance America

Trump Presidency Day 6

Note: This was originally posted in a political action group per a request that I elaborate on a reply to someone feeling overwhelmed and drained. Now I am sharing this in the hope of helping everyone - especially those who are newer to political action- combat the inevitable feelings you may be experiencing due to the past few days onslaught of Trump's executive orders and alternate perceptions (as they are NOT facts.) 

After such an amazingly uplifting experience at the Women's Marches, we must not become so disheartened that we give up.

I hope others who have been doing this for awhile will share their advice via the comments (if you give permission I will then add it with credit to you) so that we can share and utilize the experience and knowledge we have acquired. This is important to ensure that we do not lose folks due to feelings of despair, pointlessness or, especially, burn-out!

First: we CAN win, but it is going to take time. It's a marathon not a sprint. However, together we can make it a relay marathon because sometimes you need to fight for something else (or work, take care of family or you know, sleep!) and need someone else to grab that torch. 

Also you need to recognize that losing one battle doesn't mean you have lost the war. The most important tool in this oncoming war will be keeping people involved whether they have an hour a week or are available every day. 

Boston Common from Beacon Street
Boston Women's March January 21, 2017
Without the people we lose.

If we do not work together and strengthen our collaborations: we will have minor wins but will possibly lose the overall fight. 

We cannot afford to lose. Period.

There will be days that we may not seem to be making much headway or that you feel hopeless or like "why bother no one cares." Been there done that. I am here to tell you, people care. We are right here. Even if you are the only one fighting for your cause in a room stacked against you, you can win, but only if you take care of YOU too.

From my original post on that thread:

I've been an activist since I was 15 but more so as a mom because my kids have special needs. I actually spent 11 years Chairing Boston's SNPAC (Special Needs Parent Advisory Council, the 1st of its kind but now required under special ed laws and often called "SEPACs") 100 hours per week (it was insane) under an adversarial administration. 

I have been a social justice, public & special education advocate for 24 years and politically involved since that first foray into the realm when I was 15 (Goddess this makes me seem ANCIENT! I'm not! 😀)

Here is my advice:

1) As galvanized and energized as you feel, do NOT spend every spare minute on this or even reading/watching the news. It will drain you faster than a 2 year old with ADHD who doesn't sleep (I have 3 kids with ADHD whom I love so trust me, it doesn't take long and I barely sleep even now that they are older.)

2) Find something you like to do that relaxes you (preferably with no chance of seeing the horrors we are now witnessing): reading, dancing, photography, exercise, favorite shows, writing* or whatever.

I enjoy photography so this is one of my escapes!
Take some time each day to do whatever it is.

Folks with kids: for YOU not for the kids- seriously.


3) We tend to spend more time with like-minded folks, so if you don't already have someone you can just rant or vent to: find someone! I am thankful I have a few people I can call up and start venting who just listen or vent with me often without even asking "what happened?" as usually they know exactly what I am off about which means not having to explain.

4) If you are really new, please reach out to people who have been doing this for awhile. Don't be shy, most are happy to help others learn not only how to resist, fight and organize, but also how to cope with everything and breathe (super important!!!)

5) Verify whatever you see or hear if it is not from a source you trust completely. Research it, read up on it, and especially with all the fake crud flying use fact checking sites like or

Why is this important? Lots of actual #fakenews out there and with the internet and social media I've seen people freak out completely and wear themselves down only to find out that the info was incorrect, was just someone's perception instead of an actual fact or someone's idea of a joke (trolls) - which can then totally piss you off (also tiring.)

Even if from a source you trust, recognize that behind everything is a human, we are fallible and therefore can inadvertently make a mistake and pass on incorrect info. The good guys will generally admit it was a mistake and correct it.

As a former paralegal and having played too long in these waters, sans the immediate ability to fact-check we now have, I tend to dig a bit before jumping no matter who it is from. I also have political and education institutional knowledge so can sometimes just help question things or give irrefutable facts to disprove apparent misinformation. 

6) Don't be taken advantage of please! During a recent major campaign there was a deputy director who told people that if they didn't go door knocking or help in some way with the campaign then they couldn't have a lawn sign. Not acceptable. He was reported by several people. Why did he do that? Having a lawn sign helps the campaign (whether for a person or position) more than door knocking sometimes. 

Most pros will never do something this dumb, but it's a clear example which I can give you, not to scare you - just so you understand that though you may be 1000% behind a cause, if you are a volunteer - which most of us are - you should never feel bullied or that because you are new you shouldn't question things.

Most causes have paid organizers whose job is measured by how many engagements they can gain for the group (online, phone, in person etc) so occasionally you may cross paths with someone like I mention above. Even those who are just doing their jobs well can turn people off from a group or cause by being too pushy. 

Right now a lot of organizations and groups are jumping to get everyone signed on to something because most haven't seen this level of national outrage and the willingness to fight, well, ever.

Look into the group and even if it's a cause you care about, if for some reason (again we are all human) you don't feel you fit with a specific group please don't give up. Find another one or start your own volunteer group.

One side of the sign I carried.
7) Right now especially we are all in a heightened state of re-activism *guilty myself*. This can lead to you getting extremely frustrated with others who seem to not care or not to be as involved as you are. This is normal, but it also drains you.

If you are at all like me you will feel like screaming at the top of your lungs "what the hell is WRONG with you people!? Can't you see our country is UNDER ATTACK by the PRESIDENT and our elected officials ARE NOT STANDING WITH US?" *ahem* or something similar. 

Do what you can to try to educate and activate people who may have time to give. Some folks honestly are overwhelmed with their own stuff and we need to respect that. If others are open to it, asking them questions to find out if you can help them in any way with why they may not be involved.

Again, people are the most important resource we will have in the resistance, but we must recognize that not all will join us and some are against us. 

IGNORE TROLLS - just don't even engage - their main goal is to get you fighting with them to distract you from the real fight! In person: walk away; via social media: mute, block, report via the platform's tools.

However, if after you have exhausted all of your best efforts, and hopefully before you scream something like the above, they are still sucking your soul out of you: move on. There are more people to educate and activate who will join us, which is a much more positive use of your time. (Also, utilize #3 - it can help really!) 

The greatest lesson I have learned is to not only know when you must stand for what you believe, but more important is knowing when there is no point to a skirmish which will not have a major impact on the war.

For your information:
I have found that many do not understand why we marched because to them it didn't accomplish anything. (It did - but that's a whole other post!)

Or they do not believe that the rights of people in the United States of America can really be taken away (yet another post!) and still don't believe it, on day 6. 

The saddest of all (to me), is because they:
  • supported Trump - and will hold to that forever (or until Trump does something that impacts them which they cannot deny);
  • believe it will not impact them
  • believe misinformation or lies previously relayed to them through whatever source;
  • like some of Trump's ideas;
  • are against a group(s) because of their own biases, beliefs or misinformation relayed to them; 
  • think the marches were stupid; or, 
  • quite frankly, they really don't care about helping others. 
The last one may sound harsh, but some people only care about themselves. It takes all kinds to fill this world, right? Live and let live but move on from them!

I share these tips with the hope that they can help you because if you don't take care of you and your family first you may end up feeling defeated & hopeless. This is not what you want to happen. 

The actions taken by Trump and even the reaction to his agenda is beyond anything I've ever seen & it will take ALL of us to ensure that Trump does not destroy the United States via Executive Orders in the shortest time possible.

In Solidarity Always,

Have questions or just want to see what I am working on? Feel free to email me or follow me via Twitter: @BPSNightmare


  1. Thanks so much for compiling these wise words, Karen! And just to add that he is not acting in ways that will destroy just the U.S. but of course the health & balance of the whole planet for future generations.



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