With the constant deluge of nauseating news surrounding President Trump's appointments, nominees, and policies, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. I know I do. But I wanted to feel like I was doing something, so I decided to organize a postcard party to write to my representatives opposing Trump's myriad policies (like the temporary travel ban, repeal of the ACA, and the deregulation of environmental protection acts), and thanking others (like Elizabeth Warren) for constantly having our backs.
Let me start by saying I am a disorganized introvert. Throwing parties is not my thing; I never even have birthday parties because I still have that childhood fear that no one will show up to it if I do. To whit: A friend had sent me a stack of postcards after the Women's March, and day after day I told myself I would fill them out, but as each day passed, they sat untouched. I was feeling guilty and ashamed that I wasn't doing more. I mentioned this to a friend: "These postcards are mocking me," I said. She shared she was feeling the same way. "Let's turn this into a party," she suggested.
I sent a message to a group of friends asking them to come over Saturday for some wine, snacks, and activism. By the end of the evening we had written, addressed, and stamped more than 100 postcards. You can even download and print postcards to use from the Women's March's 10 Actions/100 Days campaign. And, we had an open forum to talk about our concerns with each other — an added bonus. Here's how you can organize your own party in seven easy steps.
1. Make a Commitment
Once I committed to doing something, I instantly felt better. Pick a time, date, and location. Invite your friends, and ask them to each bring a stack of postcards. One of my friends had a stack of vintage Vanity Fair postcards that turned out to be perfect. We matched the pictures on the cards with the issues we were writing about. Don't overthink it. Just make a commitment to do it, and make it happen.
2. Decide What Issues to Address
One of my friends suggested we each pick one issue that affects us personally, and one that doesn't. This way we were standing up both for ourselves and for others who need our support. I thought this was great advice. I chose to focus on the Affordable Care Act (which I rely on for my health insurance) and on immigration. This helped us feel less overwhelmed, and get more done.
3. Choose Who to Write To
We had some trouble with this one at first because we live in Los Angeles, and our representatives are already on our side. Those of us who are originally from other states addressed some of our postcards to those representatives. Additionally we filled out a lot of postcards to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Counsler Kellyanne Conway, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner.
4. Hone Your Message
Decide what you want to say. You don't have a lot of space on a postcard, so honing your message is key. We decided that volume was important, and we all wrote similar messages about issues like reproductive rights, Donald Trump's tax returns, and immigration to House Speaker Paul Ryan. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Ask your representatives to do their jobs. They were elected to represent you, so don't be afraid to remind them.
5. Say Thank You
Some of our champions, like Elizabeth Warren, are fighting tirelessly for our rights while being targeted, shamed, and, belittled, yet they persist. Sometimes we forget to thank the people who are doing the right thing. Take a moment to write a thank you postcard to your representatives who are in the trenches every day. Everyone needs to hear that they are doing a good job once in a while.
6. Think Ahead
While it's important to write postcards for issues that are relevant now, you can think ahead too. For instance, a movement has surfaced that requests that everyone who opposes Trump's policies send him a postcard March 15 to let him know.
One Equal World wrote:
Prepare for March 15, 2017, a day hereafter to be known as #TheIdesOfTrump
Write one postcard. Write a dozen! Take a picture and post it on social media tagged with #TheIdesOfTrump! Spread the word! Everyone on Earth should let Donnie know how he’s doing. They can’t build a wall high enough to stop the mail.
Then, on March 15th, mail your messages to:
President (for now) Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
7. Stick Those Babies In the Mail
When you've got your stack of postcards finished, make sure they are stamped and ready to mail. Mine are going in the mailbox today. It's easy to think that what you're doing won't make any difference. One friend even asked me if I thought an admin would just throw the postcards away before they even get to the representatives. The answer is, I don't know. We live in a democratic society, and I'd like to think that since our elected officials have a duty to represent our interests, not President Trump's, they can't ignore our collective voice. According to an article in USA Today, writing works: 92 percent of congressional staffers said individualized email messages had a lot or some influence on the lawmaker, and 88 percent said the same for individualized letters.