Civic engagement can take many different forms. graphic by Emma Palmer

How to stay civically engaged after elections

Though the midterm elections are over, you can still remain politically active through community interaction.

It’s been a week since the midterm elections swept through the U.S., followed by some wins and losses. You did your part and voted, posted a selfie to prove it and now it’s time to throw in the towel until 2020. “We’ll get ‘em next time champ,” and all that. But there’s still work to be done, and it can’t wait till then! Here’s a list of things that you can do in the meantime to keep the ball rolling on civic engagement:

Put your money where your mouth is.
I know, it’s college and we’re all poor, but one of the most effective ways to promote change and stay engaged is by putting your money where your morals are. Support local businesses and charities whose mission statements align with yours. Find out the ones that don’t and spend money on alternatives. Don’t support fast fashion businesses that are harmful to the environment, for example, or places that are exploitative of prison labor.

Don’t let your senators off the hook.
They may have won the conservative vote, but your senators and representatives work for you. Call, write, organize and show up for town halls. Make sure that they represent you and your beliefs. Tell them your concerns, and then tell them again to make sure they hear the message.

Find a cause, an issue or an organization.
Getting focused on just one issue is a great way to get involved and make a difference in your community. Maybe gun sense laws are your thing, or maybe it’s LGBTQ rights. Whichever it is, centralizing a focus on one cause is a great way to stay active. It’s also a great way to meet people who care about the same things as you. Clubs on campus like Students for Sustainability and Pride at TU are a perfect outlet for being socially active while staying on campus.

Listen and learn.
Being active in your community and working toward social justice is great, but make sure you know the facts before you barge in with a loud mouth. One of the most important things white liberals can do is to shut up and listen and get educated — like, really educated — on the political climate and how we ended up here. It may seem daunting, but doing simple things like diversifying your social media, reading a book by someone of a different culture, watching a movie, taking a class, going to a lecture or attending a club can go a long ways toward empathy, and thus, political change.

Look toward the future.
It’s not too early to start looking for future campaigning. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that a lot is riding on this next election, so make sure to act like it! Donate toward your local politicians or volunteer your time helping prep and canvass. Make sure those in your social circle are registered to vote well in advance, and don’t join in the nihilistic groupthink that has been a sickness to youth culture lately. Take the time to celebrate the achievements that the election results brought (a record number of women!!!) and continue moving forward.

Post Author: Emma Palmer