I can’t be certain that my personal activism makes a difference. But here’s what I do know:
- Sending emails and signing online petitions is generally considered a waste of time by experts. But I still like to do it sometimes anyway. Caveat: sending emails to corporations as part of consumer activism IS helpful and useful.
- In-person visits to your elected representatives are the best and most effective action you can take.
- Phone calls are good. Someone has to answer the phone, take down the message, and tally the responses. There’s not much use in calling elected officials who don’t represent you, unless they are also responsible for a specific and relevant committee or for a larger body (like the Speaker of the House or the Senate Majority Leader).
- There seems to be debate about the efficacy of letters and postcards. Here’s what I think about that… I know, personally, that letters I have written to my elected representatives were read because a relevant and topical response was sent back to me. Perhaps the senator herself didn’t read the letter, but one of her staff people did for sure. But this is the more important thing: that act of writing down your beliefs and values gives those words credence and gives you confidence and power in your own views. So, at the very least (and I would argue, the very most), writing a postcard or letter is important for YOU.
- Acts of resistance make me feel less devastated, stressed, and horrified. When I am doing something- anything- I feel less anxious about the state of our nation. Even if none of this makes a difference in the big picture of things, it makes a difference to me. And it will probably make a difference to you, too.
For some insight into how activism is viewed by professional political people, read this document: why-to-call.
And if you really need a kick in the pants, read this account of an “infiltrator” into a right-wing Trump-supporters meeting. These folks are organized. If you aren’t calling, you can be sure that they are. This is the document. view-from-the-other-side It’s long and unverified, but interesting.