Friday, November 18, 2016

A new team takes the field

Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of the election, we have a new President of the United States. You might find him repugnant, you may find to be a breath of fresh air. As of January 20, 2017, he is the President of the United States.

You can complain about the electoral college system or you may wish you lived in a swing state, so your vote would “matter.”  President-elect Trump still won in a fair election under the process set out by the U.S. Constitution.

You might blame others for voting for Trump — or not choosing to vote at all — we each have the right to make the choice that’s best for us. You may feel “robbed” because the first woman President has yet to be elected or you may feel relieved that she wasn’t. The new President can choose who he wants to run his administration.

You can say he’s not your President, but as long as you are a U.S. citizen, he actually is.

You have options of course. You can threaten to leave the country, share fake stories on Facebook, and criticize every move he makes. It’s a beautiful thing to live in a country where you can despise and mock your leader and have no fear of repercussions. You can also choose to go down a more meaningful and productive route for your anger.

One of my friends had a “Think globally, act locally” poster in her room throughout our college years. At the time I didn’t think too much about what it meant, but it resonates today. Individuals that might be frustrated by who we’ve elected at any level of government have the option to put their energies to work in any number of ways from volunteering and advocacy work to running for office or managing a political campaign. Here in Rhode Island we have amazing organizations that always need support — from the Institute for the Study and Prevention of Nonviolence to the East Bay Food Pantry — and something for every other need in our community. Your commitment can be huge or it can be minimal and the choices are literally endless: be a mentor, walk a shelter dog, pick up litter, volunteer in a school, thank a veteran, shovel a sidewalk. There’s really no limit to the ways people can contribute locally.

I get it if it all seems like too much work — especially since hitting the “share” button on Facebook requires no thought and even less effort — but if you REALLY care, use this election as a reason to engage locally and make a real difference in your community in a way that matters to you. One President can’t ruin a country or make it great again, only the people can do that.

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