Stop! Please don’t scroll past this post in your news feed.
I have something important to say, and I am hoping you will read beyond the headline and look past the picture attached to the post. This is a message to Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those of us who fall somewhere in between. It is not meant to single out those who don’t agree with me.
If you know me personally or have read my blog over the years, you should not be surprised to see the Women’s March postcards ready to go in tomorrow’s mail as part of the 10 Actions/100 Days campaign. You already know I am passionate about women’s rights, that I want my daughter to feel empowered, and that I want my son to serve a country for which he is proud.
I understand your opinions and priorities may not match mine. All I have to do is launch the Facebook app on my phone to understand that everyone is concerned about something and that everyone has an opinion. We are experiencing a turbulent time in American history, and it is being played out on social media, often at the expense of hurt feelings and lost friendships–both real and virtual.
The anonymous nature of social media gives its users a level of bravery they wouldn’t otherwise feel. Freedom of speech is accessible these days, and everyone, it seems, is exercising his and her right. Once the applause has died on that profound statement, I want to ask everyone who shares a meme or tweets a hashtag, to take your words and turn them to action.
One of the most impactful lessons I took from college was the opening and parting words of my professor for the Women and Minorities in the Media course I took as a mass communications major. She opened the course and closed it 15 months later with the same message: you cannot complain about something if you are not willing to do something to change the situation.
She was talking first and foremost about voting and making sure your voice is heard on Election Day. Your actions, however, should not stop once your ballot is cast.
Few of us are lucky enough to be close personal friends with our elected officials. I’m not Facebook friends with my senators. My congressman doesn’t follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and I’m fairly confident none of them read my blog. Unless I specifically tell them I am concerned about how little the presidential cabinet looks like me, they won’t know.
Today, I don’t care if you are pro-life or pro-choice, in favor of gun control or an advocate for the Second Amendment; in favor of immigrant rights or the building of a wall. My bi-partisan plea to everyone is to do something about it. Write to your senators, march in a rally, carry a catch phrase-filled sign, start a viral movement, make a donation. Do something to affect change.
I am choosing to write letters and joining a movement in which I believe. Although, this will be new for my Ohio representatives, it is not new for me. While a Kentucky resident, I frequently contacted my Senators and Congressman about IBD research and legislation as well as funding for our troops.
After I addressed and stamped my latest letters to my new senators, I read them to my daughter and explained to her what they meant and why I was putting them in the mail.
She actually paused Netflix as she listened, and then she asked with what I think was awe, “You can do that?”
“Yes,” I told her firmly. It is my right to tell my elected representatives what I want. It is my right to tell them my opinions. If we want change, we have to do something.
So before you log back into Facebook and Twitter to fill my feeds with angry words and stress-inducing sentiments, Do Something. After that, you can post as many memes and hashtags as you want.