I am one of the 120,000 plus folk who dropped something on the order of $7 million dollars on the doorstep of the ACLU as a first reaction to a Trump presidency. This felt great, but there isn’t a lot that a non-lawyer can do for the ACLU or its causes. There are important things that can be accomplished through clicktivism— moments where signing a petition and sending cash are just the right thing. The ACLU is already doing great work to keep the old segregationist South from running the Attorney General’s office, for example. But this is still consumer democracy, not radical democracy.
I’m glad I gave them money. I’ll keep doing it. But the real deal seems to be in person and phone connections.
I cite the Tweets of Emily Ellsworth, Utah congressional staffer. She pointed out– from experience– that emails, posts, and letters have to have automatic responses. Phone calls, however, have to be taken at the local, constituent offices. And town hall meetings often go unattended, or attended by the same few people. Why am I, why are you, not one of these people? For my own part, I relied on my vote to speak for me, until November 8, 2016, when I lost faith in American democracy’s ability to run without supervision.