It hasn’t even been a full month yet and Donald Trump’s presidency has already turned the world on its head. From trying to erase evidence of climate change to enacting what people have dubbed the #MuslimBan, we’ve seen both love and hate battle at both sides of the spectrum. In a presidential era where hateful rhetoric, claims of fake news, and the complete lack of compassion (or facts) are now the norm, it’s more crucial than ever that we reconnect with our communities, the world around us, and support those at the moment who need it the most. Don’t know where to start? Here are three stepping stones that will get you in the right direction of strengthening your ties to your community and the rest of the world around you:
Envision yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Sometimes, we are so caught up in our own lives that we fail to see how others may be living. It’s okay, we’re human. But right now, we need to take a moment to shift focus and see ourselves in someone else’s situation – like the immigration and refugee issue that’s currently happening. A few days ago President Trump signed an executive order that temporarily bans immigrants from seven pre-dominantly muslim nations as well as denies refugees indefinitely. The executive order received major backlash and unfortunately has been referred to as the #MuslimBan. But let’s take a step back shall we and look at it from a different light? The order was made with the intention to strengthen immigration policies and protect from those who would commit terrorists acts on our country (even if it’s bit rash and statistically no harm has been done to the U.S. from refugees or the countries banned). The goal is to hold everyone accountable when they want to immigrate to the United States. We don’t want to increase the amount of illegal residents in the United States when others have paid their dues to become citizens the legal way. But due to the way it was poorly executed, everyone is taken aback, protests have risen, and families have been separated without any idea of what is really going on. As a result of all the confusion, we have three different groups trying to figure out where they stand and what stands in the U.S. community. If you think you’re having a hard time right now, imagine what these groups are going through because of this issue.
Stay informed on all aspects of the issues
Reconnecting with your community starts by learning and getting to know where it stands, where it’s been, and where it’s headed. We, unfortunately, have entered an era where fake news and alternative facts are ubiquitous. We have entered an era where scrutinizing all media has become an Olympic sport, the fine line between fact and opinion has been blurred, and everyone has put their two cents in on everything. Our heads are spinning when we now have to question news sources that have been known as trustworthy for generations to newcomers that have come on the scene. We all know, that to a point the media shows us what it wants us to see. But thanks to the internet and ever-growing social media platforms the media can show us what we want to see. This new age of technology has given us access to news updates at the stroke of our fingertips, whether it may be entirely true or not. Getting information on both sides of issues will help us better understand where everyone is coming from and make educated decisions on what we support and why. So, don’t limit yourself to just keeping up with the news. Go out there and share the knowledge, brush up on some history, and have thought-provoking discussions that will keep you in touch with what’s going on on a community level.
Make a true effort to get involved
Taking a stand against some of the Trump Administration’s policies doesn’t stop at one march, one hashtag, or one donation link. You have made the initial effort, congrats! Now is the time to take the initial effort a step further and go beyond the surface level of support and protest. You can start off small by choosing an issue you are really passionate about – like Planned Parenthood funding – and support it, either financially or physically. If you’re a parent and want to be involved more with your child’s education get to know your local school board and join your PTA community. Want to get right into the action? Attend City Council meetings or volunteer at your party’s headquarters. We shouldn’t be afraid to be in politics and we shouldn’t let others belittle us into thinking that we shouldn’t have a say. We are all involved whether we are a parent, child, student, veteran, celebrity, and so on. Unfortunately, politics has a place in everything we do and it’s here to stay.
We shouldn’t let our differences keep us from progressing forward. We shouldn’t disconnect ourselves from what is going on because we are tired of hearing of complaints from both sides. It’s time to be the bigger person and put forth love, compassion, understanding. It’s time to stop spreading pessimistic, negative, and hateful energy. It’s time to really get involved with what’s happening because chances are it is going to affect you before you even had a chance to really think about it. We are privileged to be in the United States folks. We are very fortunate to have a country that believes in freedom, a country believes in citizen’s rights because not everyone can proudly say that. And it’s about time we start recognizing that.
By: Shanice Perriatt