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Things are so bad. How can I make a difference?

Start small. Make a call or email.

Get involved. Call your local, state, or regional Democratic party office and volunteer. Or volunteer for a specific candidate. Go out, knock on doors, make phone calls, distribute fliers. Donate money. Call for donations. Help stuff envelopes.

While you’re doing this, be kind. Always be kind. Be thoughtful. It’s a cliche of sorts that the difference you make to one person is the most important, but it truly is. Just look at Donald Trump to see why it’s so important to be kind. Look at what he has created, and brought up from the muck just by encouraging harshness, violence, and cruelty. And not just his words, but his policies.

“Be careful hunting monsters, lest you become one yourself, for when you stare into the Abyss, the Abyss also stares into you.” — Nietzsche.

Sure, Nietzsche was a syphillitic douchebag, but he also had a lot of words of wisdom, so we’ll quote him on that one.

Don’t argue with people online. Share your thoughts, but don’t stoop to their level. Be thoughtful and kind, and speak as if you’re talking to someone who, somewhere in there, at least, can listen. Don’t react. Respond. And never trade insults.

Humor helps me deal with all of this. I save the harsh humor for between me and my friends, where we’re all on the same page and know where we’re coming from. But gentle humor out in the world can make a huge difference in interactions.

Of course all this is hard, that’s why more people dont’ do it. That’s why you and I don’t do it all the time, despite how much we’d like to. But the only way out is by being something different than what you’re trying to change, or they will assume that at base you are just like them, only with a different perspective.

And while as humans, we are “just like them,” we are trying to follow our better angels and inspire fellow humans rather than just follow in their footsteps of “pissing off the liberals,” only the other way around.

Be better than that because you are better than that.

But never forget to get involved in electoral politics, too. Without that, the present and near future can be lost.

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Why not give up?

Because there’s a future whether we like where we are now or not. Because love is stronger than hate, even though in the short-term it doesn’t always seem like it. Because no matter what they do, we must keep our dignity and hope. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice (MLK). Because despair is contagious, but so are hope and kindness.

Because we can’t. 

Because the alternative is to live in a world that is ruled by rage and selfishness. Because there are more of us than them, even though they are louder and more obnoxious right now. Because they cannot be allowed to destroy democracy without a fight. Because they are slaves to their fears, and we are inspired by our dreams. Because others need us to fight, and we are protectors.

Because giving up and giving in is too close to consent, and we do not consent to this wholesale corruption, selfishness, greed, and cruelty. Because we are believers in kindness. Because we see beauty. Because we believe in justice. Because we believe in inherent good in the majority of people. Because we know that this is a minority of loud but powerful people, and we can defeat them in the end. Because we will fight for this. Because we must.

Because those before us fought so that we could have the freedoms and happinesses and rights that we have. Because we must honor their struggles. Because our we are fighting for our childrens’ future — all childrens’ futures, even those of our opponents. Because they may not see a world where justice is possible. Because they may not want a world where justice for all is possible. Because they are — whether they mean to or not — are creating a world of pettiness and cruelty and we will not sit idly by and watch.

Because our children are watching what we do and will follow in our footsteps or judge us for our inaction. Because we are driven by joy and visions of our children in a just and nurturing world rather than a world in which they dominate others.

Because we may never reach the ideals we have, but we will shoot for the stars and settle for the moon if we must. But we *will* shoot for the stars no matter what.