When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell silenced Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday with the words, "Nevertheless, she persisted," the action prompted immediate retaliation from the internet. Those three words had the opposite of their intended effect; Warren may no longer be able to speak in the current debate, but many others who were listening have refused to be silenced. The phrase has became a rallying cry — and an inspiring one, at that. So, if you're looking for action items that will help you "persist," you've come to the right place.
As part of Warren's speech opposing Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, she cited a letter written by activist Coretta Scott King. (Yes, she was married to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but let's not forget that she was a powerful force for change herself.) King wrote the document back in 1986 for the Senate Judiciary Committee to express her own dissent against Sessions's appointment as a federal district court judge in Alabama, making it a particularly effective source for Warren.
So when McConnell cut Warren off during the debate, it spoke volumes about how many people in the government — and our culture at large — really feel about the value of women, of people of color, and of pretty much anyone who isn't a straight, white, cisgender, man: That is, that they are worth less, that their voices are worth less, and that they should be seen and not heard.
As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that "Nevertheless, she persisted" has now become the "nasty woman" of 2017. But as we learned then, there are words, and then there is action. While denouncing Trump's policies and administration within your social circle may feel good temporarily, it may not effect as much change in policy-making as actually doing something about it.
Warren, King, and so many others, both throughout history and in the present, show us how important it is to persist and to resist. We've got to keep that momentum going. To that end, here are seven things you can do to take action:
1Join A Social Media Movement
On Twitter, the hashtag "Let Liz Speak" has been trending since Tuesday night. If you're looking for a way to voice your support besides venting to friends, why not bring that energy to social media? Other hashtags that are kicking off include "She Persisted" and "Stop Sessions." Social media is also a great way to engage in conversations with constituents, including activists, politicians, and organizers, as well as share resources on how to "persist and resist."
2Call Your Local Politicians
One of the best ways to directly reach the people who are in power is to call them. Reports show that phone calls to senators do make a difference, as they did when Sen. Lisa Murkowski changed her mind about her vote on Betsy DeVos as the next Secretary of Education. (DeVos unfortunately secured enough votes to be elected, but still.)
So instead of an email, tweet, or letter, your representatives are just one phone call away. Dial their office number (sometimes there may be more than one phone line) and leave a message. Tell them exactly how you feel about what's going on in our country right now. Talk about specific issues (one per phone call is a good limit), and make your voice heard, even when others would prefer it if you remained silent. Democracy, after all, is about the voice of the people — not the voices of the few.
3Invest In A Diverse List Of Daily News Briefings
In an age of fake news, it's important now more than ever to not just get the facts straight, but also to learn about other voices and perspectives in the media. If you only get your news from one publication, you may be missing out on other aspects of an issue that were covered by another publication. For instance, did you know that McConnell's actions are also called the "Streisand effect," named after Barbra Streisand, in which censorship tends to call even more attention to whatever is being hidden or silenced?
Check out this chart for determining which news outlets are considered mainstream and which outlets are less well-known but still produce thought-provoking pieces of journalism. The chart also shows which publications lean left and which ones skew on the conservative side. Some newsletters might also be helpful; subscribe to a couple to stay on top of what's happening day to day.
4Communicate With People Who Disagree With You
So your boyfriend thinks that what McConnell did was totally not out of line? Part of being "persistent" means talking to people who completely disagree with you, hearing what they have to say, and then explaining your thoughts. It's not always easy, but it helps to get rid of the "us-versus-them" mentality that's sweeping the nation.
5Join A Protest And March For Key Policy Issues
If you're feeling like I am, your blood is probably boiling. A healthy and productive way to channel that energy is by joining a nearby march and advocating on the streets for policy issues that you care about. In fact, Warren galvanized protesters the Women's March in Boston during the weekend of Trump's inauguration, so marching is a great way to honor the senator's efforts in fighting back against Trump.
Every day, political organizations are hosting peaceful protests around the country. Subscribe to the RESISTABLE Tinyletter newsletter and stay informed about daily marches taking place near you.
6Get Involved In Grassroots Politics
Warren is known for encouraging grassroots politicians and organizers to run for office and actively engage in the governing of this country. Why not go knock on some doors in your apartment building, your neighborhood? Why not produce a DIY flyer about climate change, and hand them out with your friends? Why not link up help out at local organizations? There are few things as satisfying as engaging with strangers and building their awareness.
7Make A Lot Of Lists, And Check Off Everything On Them
Make lists of everything that not normal that this administration does. Make lists of things you care about. Make lists of things you want to do. Make lists of things you wish you could do, but aren't sure you can, and then make a list trying to figure out how you can do those things. Stay engaged. This is the most important thing you can do. Because remember: None of this is normal. We cannot let it become normal. And by persisting, we have the power to stop that normalization.