Fight

I was talking to someone yesterday about the political situation in the U.S. and she asked me what I mean when I said we have to fight to avoid the disaster of Trump.

She asked, “What do you mean by the word ‘fight’?” I could hear the note of concern in her voice. 

I said fighting means making our voices heard. You could call that being vocal. Or resisting. 

I’m afraid many people don’t understand why we live in the world we live in today.

Women have the vote because they fought for it. Men didn’t just wake up one day and say, hey, you cuties, let’s give you the right to vote. Women fought hard for suffrage. (Watch the movie Suffragette for a reminder.)

Schools are desegregated because of the civil rights movement. That’s not because people in power decided, let’s do away with discriminatory laws. That’s because Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and millions of others came together to march for justice over and over again.

Weekends exist because the labor movement fought for them. TGIF was not inevitable!

At the moment, Democratic leaders are not bucking up and fighting (at least that we can see) and it’s up to we the people to fight. Elected leaders take action because their constituents force their hands. That’s what the Tea Party did with great effectiveness in 2010. Nothing good is going to happen when we “wait and see.” Things change when we become vocal. When we fight.

I think a lot of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of being a fighter. Argentines are much more into fighting than we are. We are a kind of conflict-averse people in general.

You might associate fighting with a shouting match or pulling a gun on someone. That’s not what I mean. By fighting, I mean getting clear about your role as as an advocate and resister. When you are resisting fascism, being a resister is being a PATRIOT.

FIghting means working together with others for a vision of a better way. It means connecting with your values. It means writing letters, making phone calls, going to physical events, and hosting meetings.

Here is an excellent guide written by former Congressional staffers, a practical guide for resisting in the Trump era

In addition to being an author, coach, the founder of the quirkyalone movement, a tango teacher, and many other things, I’ve been working for social change for my whole life. I’ve fought for health care access or the right to organize a union. I’ve advocated for bisexual respect in the gay rights movement (I went went on Ricki Lake to do it!) and fought for tenant rights in San Francisco. I also studied social change in college.

My very first job out of college was doing PR for labor unions and I learned a lot about which messages work to motivate people to want a union in their workplace. No one wanted to fight. The messages that tested well were “working together works” because people wanted a voice at the table with their bosses. Coming together via a union would give them a voice.

That sounds great, and I think it’s what most of us want. We want to be collaborate. We don’t want to fight.

But we can’t live in la-la land. Trump does not want to work with others. He wouldn’t even want to work with his own supporters. He has shown us that with every appointment to his Cabinet: wealthy, billionaire types whose animating mission has been to destroy the very thing each agency is designed to protect: the environment, public education, civil rights, drug safety, world stability. White House policy is being shaped by chief strategist Steven Bannon who published stories with headlines like “The Solution to Online ‘Harassment’ is Simple: Women Should Log Off” and “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.” It’s a fantasy to think we can work with them. 

I know you don’t all believe as I do, and that’s perfect. That’s quirky. We all believe differently and that’s how it should be. You might even think Trump is a great leader or that his presidency won’t really be that bad. I don’t want to tell you exactly what to do because that’s not my role. 

What I propose is this. I ask you to consider all the people who have come before you and the sacrifices that were made for your comfort and voice. For your ability to choose, to have birth control, to go to school, to have the freedom to divorce even, or go to desegregated schools. I ask you to feel into your own truth, and act accordingly!

I am posting concrete actions you can take this week on my personal Facebook page. If you want to get ideas for what you can do, follow me here. (Click “follow” for my public posts.)

There is still time to make a difference. The Electoral College was created for exactly this situation. Only 37 of the 538 electors need to vote their conscience on Monday, December 19 to change the outcome. This is doable. Today a Harvard professor who has been offering free legal counsel says he believes 20 are already considering not backing Trump.

Which means if you share that goal, we need to make our voices heard THIS week before the electors vote Dec. 19 to avoid a fascist catastrophe. 

If you have never taken an activist step before now is a great time to make your voice heard by sending a letter, an email, making a phone call, attending a vigil, going to a protest, or even going to an event where your Congressperson will be.

It is all DOABLE. And it all makes a difference in the aggregate. If you want to hear about what you can do from me click “follow” on my personal Facebook page where I am sharing these actions.

This experience has made clear for me that my work for the personal development and empowerment of women (and quirky men) is in service of larger societal goals — I want women and men to speak out and use their voices for the goodness of society. I want you to feel empowered and connected to your voice. 

In the absence of leadership from above, we are the ones we have been waiting for. 

It’s time to make our voices heard THIS WEEK.

Changes happens when you speak out.

Even though this is as draining as fuck. I know. I’m drained too.

But your phone calls, emails, signatures, and physical presence matter.

No matter what happens, at least we can say we tried.

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Sasha Cagen is the author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics and To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us. She coaches women on sex, dating/relationships and career via Skype from Buenos Aires where she also leads transformative tango vacations to help her clients reconnect to their confidence, sensuality and lust for life through tango.

Posted in Quirkyalone
3 comments on “Fight
  1. Bob Page says:

    I had no idea that what merely looked like an interesting singles site was also political when I signed on with you this week. That can be off-putting, as you know. While I agree with virtually everything you write here, Sasha, you and all of the rest of us have got to get over what happened — somehow. Hillary may have won the popular vote but under the laws of our nation, we lost. To suggest that individual electors who represent the popular vote in their states should either refuse to vote in the electoral college for the person they must, or that we should somehow convince them to do that is morally wrong, not to mention un-American.

  2. Sasha Cagen says:

    Hi Bob, Politics is totally connected with the freedom to be quirkyalone. My quirkyalone concept spread because women became free, and that happened because of political movements for women’s freedom, economic and otherwise. Otherwise we had to get married, we had no other choice (only true radicals found alternative paths for their lives). Trump and his team definitely want to take us back 50 years with reproductive freedom, civil rights, and in many other areas, so it’s all connected.

    I honor your right to your opinion, but I think the American thing to do is for the electors to honor their constitutional responsibility to choose a candidate that honors the intentions of the founders of the country. More details are here: “The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.”

    This comes from the brave Republican elector’s op-ed in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/opinion/why-i-will-not-cast-my-electoral-vote-for-donald-trump.html

  3. Sasha Cagen says:

    One more thing: I know this kind of post is polarizing and it’s not what you might expect from me. I’m OK with you unfollowing me if it’s not for you.

    It’s more powerful in the end for me to speak my truth . . . stick around if you want the holistic vision that includes civic engagement, and if you don’t, that’s OK too.

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Sasha Cagen in Buenos Aires Hey, I'm Sasha Cagen. I'm the author of Quirkyalone + To-Do List, and a coach for women who provides a creative, action-oriented alternative to therapy. Since 2000, I've been helping single people shed that feeling "there's something wrong with me" while also helping people craft relationships where they don't lose their individual spark. I now live in Buenos Aires where I coach my clients via Skype worldwide and teach tango as a metaphor to help you reconnect with your sensuality and even find your own feminine power through a 7-day Tango Holiday in Buenos Aires. Want to get to know me? Read more here.

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