Tonight we are going to have to get through President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress. Throughout the speech, we can anticipate Trump targeting our American values by way of attacking immigrants and refugees, access to healthcare for everyone, and by advocating for further bloating the military budget while axing funding for programs and services that benefit all of us. Trump’s version of “the American Dream” is more like a nightmare, where people are treated unequally based on their identity.
Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by the probable content of this speech. Out of Trump’s six guests, three will be relatives of people who have been killed by undocumented immigrants, a clear visual sign of Trump’s scapegoating of immigrants. Trump will also likely use his speech to assure conservatives that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will follow closely in Justice Scalia’s footsteps.
We expect Trump to attempt to show that he’s fulfilling his campaign promises—which, of course, is not welcome news for those who have already been harmed by these policies in the first month of Trump’s presidency. The past several weeks have been rife with turmoil as Trump has methodically released order after order targeting the groups he singled out during his campaign—including Muslims, Latinos, and transgender people.
If you’re feeling angry about the past few weeks and Trump’s summation of it in his speech tonight, now is a critical time to turn that anger into action. Here are five ways to channel your post-speech anger:
- Contact your representatives.
We’ve already seen the ways Trump wants to stretch the limits of executive power. And we’ve also seen the way Trump reacts to judicial checks on that power—like his verbal attacks on the Ninth Circuit Court judges after they ruled against his travel ban. It is clear that we need strong checks on his power in the courts, and especially on the Supreme Court. Call your senator via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to tell them to oppose Judge Gorsuch.
Your House representative and local politicians need to hear from you, too. If there are ICE raids in your area, call your local politicians to speak out against the unjust treatment of immigrants. Tell your representatives about how healthcare reform has benefitted you and members of your community. Even commenting on the Facebook pages of your representatives, or tweeting at them about Trump’s troubling policies, can add to the drumbeat of opposition to the Trump administration.
- Join local activists.
Local activists in your community are probably doing amazing work right now to resist the Trump administration and support people who have been harmed by his executive orders so far. Joining local leaders in the fight is critical to pushing back against the Trump administration nationwide. People need to see that there is resistance across the states at every level, and that we won’t stop fighting to protect our American values.
If you are a white person, you might want to look for your local Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) affiliate so that you can support and amplify the work of activists of color in your community. #Resist groups have cropped up in various communities too, and groups that were initially created to support local women’s marches are still organizing now. All of these groups, and ones like them, can be found on Facebook and other social networking sites.
- Visit our action center.
You can also take action online to push back against the Trump agenda. Our action center is full of ways that you can get involved, from our campaigns to keep money out of politics, demand that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuse himself from Russia investigations, and stop Trump’s ‘voter fraud’ witch-hunt. It just takes a few seconds to take action on any of these critical issues.
- Restore the Voting Rights Act.
There has been a steady assault on voting rights across the country, and it’s only gotten worse since 2013 when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. In the 2016 presidential election, 14 states had new voter suppression laws in place for the first time, and studies have shown that these laws drive down Latino, African American, and Asian American voter participation. The right to vote is a fundamental American value that not all people have had access to since the founding of this country. And it is appalling that in 2017 state governments are still finding ways to roll back voting rights for communities of color and poor people across the U.S. Just yesterday, news broke that per Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice would no longer be taking the position that Texas’s voter ID law was intentionally discriminatory against black and Latino voters. In this environment, it is critical that we restore the Voting Rights Act and resist the flood of anti-voting laws that have swept this country.
Finally, we cannot allow Trump to threaten our fundamental rights for decades to come through confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch was hand-selected by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation as the ideal ultra-conservative replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia. He has a history of ruling against the most marginalized and vulnerable people, as well as deferring to executive power. The Court needs a justice who will be a check on the president’s power, particularly with Trump’s overreach of executive power. Work with us to #StopGorsuch and ensure our judiciary stays independent.
It’s completely fair to be angry after what we are going to witness. But it’s also very important to take our anger and channel it into action that will benefit our communities and prevent the Trump agenda from taking hold across the country. We can resist his harmful agenda. It’s going to be a long and tough four years, but if we keep up our opposition, our communities can come through stronger.