Do you want to "get involved" but don't know where to start? You're desperate to "do something" but you don't know what to do? Here are 10 useful, productive things you can do RIGHT NOW. I'll be sharing the details in 'increments' so we can all pace ourselves.
1. Make a decision NOT to wallow. For a few days, even a few weeks, we all passed out in front of FoxNews with a box of tissues and a pint of Haagen-Dazs (yes, I can see you through your computer). That is okay. BUT it is NOT a long-term way to rebuild a party and a future.
If you have an hour to wallow, then I am personally asking you to spend that hour doing something productive. There are 5 stages of loss: please commit to not getting stuck on 'depression' when there is WORK to do.
2. Know who's representing you. Check out who represents you (keep in mind this can change before the next election - I campaigned for a local Congressman for six months and didn't realize till I saw my ballot that I was now in the other guy's district.) Also see how they're voting, and how they're spending your money.
If your local area is TRULY a lost cause, or for logistical or lifestyle reasons you can't work locally, use this time to read up on some of the "purple" states that have upcoming elections: Georgia has a crucial runoff election happening right now, Virginia has a Governor's race in 2009.
3. Show support for elected officials who ARE doing good things, whether they're your representative or not. In future posts, I'll introduce you to hard-working, right-thinking people in red, blue, and purple states who could use moral and logistical support. In the meantime, research politicians of interest at On The Issues.
4. Join social networks to connect with like-minded people. If you're concerned about privacy or hassle, register a free email (i.e. JaneSmithGOP at yahoo or hotmail, etc.) to manage your political stuff. For basic networking, check out Facebook, Twitter, CafeMom and even MySpace (the online equivalent of Claire's Boutique: you know it's cheap and tawdry but it's pretty and sparkly and you secretly can't resist). For political networking, check out Let's Get This Right, Moms in the Right, Team Sarah.
5. Get educated on the issues. If we want to energize our 'base' AND attract new voters, we have to know the facts: what a Republican is and WHY. Whether you personally agree with everything they have to say or not, familiarize yourself with the GOP's platform and think about which 'planks' make our party stronger and which should be thrown overboard.
6. Make activism a 'habit.' Supporting conservative candidates is not just phonecalling and doorbelling every few years. You can do little things every day that add up over time. Change your homepage to Yahoo Buzz or Digg so you can instantly 'vote up' fair or relevant news stories and 'vote down' sleazy attacks and biased drivel. Download the GOP search toolbar which donates every time you search. It is 30 seconds of your time every day and it can impact what millions see.
7. Help other Republicans 'speak up.' You know that Mom from your office, playgroup, the gym, school, soccer who saw your McCain sticker and gave you a secret thumbs-up? Make a list today (mental or written, or if you're a true junkie like me, as a OneNote list), so when voters and volunteers are needed you're not starting from scratch. We'll coach you on how to approach potential volunteers without being 'pushy' (really).
8. Keep the media responsible and in perspective. We must undo the media's hypnotic obsession with little things because of realities like this. You don't have to become a pundit overnight, but start familiarizing yourself with basic news sources online, on TV, newspaper and magazines. Feel free to share any comments on which sources you consider more/less biased, favorite columnists, talk radio hosts, etc. look
9. Live your beliefs. As a Catholic, I am often challenged by the desire A few years back, I made the heart-wrenching decision to leave my church community. (Our new pastor believed we should fund and encourage an illegal social justice initiative on the church's property. I didn't.) It was, and in many ways still IS, a hassle to cross town and attend a different church, and I do miss friends there. But I couldn't sleep at night knowing that I was part of something I believed was truly wrong.
10. Keep your chin up. Sometimes being right (or 'Right') isn't easy. And you do have to choose your battles (if I participated in every 'boycott' I'd have no food, clothes, or toys in my home whatsoever.) But when you stand up for your beliefs - especially when you're in the minority - you should be proud.
The most important thing you can do to share Republican or conservative ideals is to Lead By Example. If you preach responsible government, be a responsible citizen. If you preach support for the military, cross the airport concourse to shake a soldier's hand. Moms, this is important for your kids - and for our country. I hope you'll join us to make a difference!