Editor’s Note: Mel Robbins is a CNN commentator, legal analyst, best-selling author and keynote speaker. She is a contributing editor for Success magazine. In 2014, she was named outstanding news talk-radio host by the Gracie Awards. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.
Mel Robbins: The march wasn't for Trump -- it was for all of us
It's time to do the work to make the impact of all the marches count, she writes
The reason why I joined an estimated 125,000 men, women and children in Boston at the Women’s March is simple. I don’t agree with a President who “tweets” us like crap. And by “us,” I mean all of us.
Saturday, in more than 673 cities around the world, millions of men, women and children showed up at historic women’s marches to demonstrate strength and protest Donald Trump’s divisive policies and offensive rhetoric against women and minorities. In the United States, according to crowd scientists cited by The New York Times, the Women’s March in Washington had three times more people than Trump’s inauguration.
Where were all these progressive men and women on Election Day, you might ask?
They were at the polls; Trump lost the popular election by more 2.9 million votes. It’s a fact.
If you look at voting maps for millennials, they didn’t vote for him either. Guess where they were this weekend. I’ll give you a clue - they weren’t at the inauguration.
But facts don’t matter to Trump and they won’t change his policies. Just look at his reaction to his paltry approval ratings and inauguration attendance. Aerial photos prove the lousy numbers and so do subway rides.
The rides recorded for the Women’s March in Washington were nearly three times that of Inauguration Day and the second highest in the Metro’s history. Plus, the turnout was so big, there was no room to actually march. Same in Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles.
Trump’s reaction to these facts? Lie, blame the media, create fake news and then punish those who told the truth. After the National Park Service retweeted an aerial view of the crowds, it was removed and a freeze on all social media activities by the agency was mandated.
That blame-the-media strategy may have gotten him elected in the Rust Belt but it won’t keep him in office.
Facts are steadfast, and another fact is that power shifts all the time. Just look at the S&P Fortune 500; many experts agree 40% of the top companies will be gone in a decade. And Trump won’t last forever either. How long he lasts is up to you.
The march Saturday will not change Donald Trump but it could change you, your involvement, your families’ opinions and the midterm elections. Don’t sit back and rely on the government to improve the quality of your life, rely on yourself to improve the quality of the government.
Marching is the easy part: It’s what happens next that can change everything. Here’s what you can do:
Call your representatives.
Study the issues and then pick up the phone and call your representatives. Here’s information on how to make those calls. You won’t be alone. People woke up Sunday, walked the dogs and then picked up the phone.
Donate to organizations you care about to help them fight Congress’ plans to defund them and to send a message of support.
Support the media.
A free press is a critical pillar in our democracy. Whether your favorite channel is Fox News or CNN, it’s essential the press remain diligent, empowered and uncensored, especially with a man like Trump who hates criticism.
If you live in a part of the country where divisive political tribalism is rampant, don’t retreat, get involved. The people who marched on Saturday, for example, are doing something en masse every 10 days – the first is to send a flood of postcards to representatives in Congress.
Don’t underestimate the power you have. Especially when you leverage social media and join with other voices. Sleeping Giant is run by one guy who calls out advertisers on Alt-Right websites. He’s been very effective.
Run for office.
If you’ve ever been frustrated by government, stop complaining and run for office. There are nonprofit organizations that will help you get the training you need to run. A great starting place for your research is Emerge America, an organization that focuses on helping women run for office.
Talk with friends and relatives who “don’t get” implicit bias.
Here’s a remarkable series by The New York Times. Watch it with your friends and family. The peanut butter and jelly example changed everything for me.
And most importantly, listen. That’s what we’ve all lost in this election, the ability to truly listen to one another and work together to find common ground. Feeling listened to and understood is critical to changing someone’s opinion.
I wrote many months ago that a large number of people who voted for Trump weren’t voting for him, they were voting against Washington, the media and the elitism that had been a chaff for so many years.
We all need to do a better job listening and working together. Which brings me to my final “to-do” list item:
Don’t be a jerk
Best-selling author Seth Godin writes: “Jerk comes from the idea of pulling hard on the reins, suddenly and without care. Horses don’t like it and neither, it turns out, do people.” He’s right. Trump is a jerk. And jerks last only so long before people get sick of them. Many of my relatives who voted for Trump are already sick of him complaining about the media instead of governing. That’s only going to continue. In that frustration, there’s a chance to find common ground.
Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. And it’s the little things that build over time and add up to enormous change. Every single person who showed up around the world Saturday made a choice to go to the march. Collectively, that made a huge statement. The same is true about every little thing you do: donations, phone calls and getting involved at a local level.
Will Trump or Congress notice? I doubt it. And I don’t care. Trump won’t ever change. He’s incapable of change and “of turning the other cheek and converting doubters into allies.”
His Twitter account proves it.
Besides, I don’t want him to change. I want him out of office. The march wasn’t for him. It was for us. All of us. It was a wake-up call. Marching is the easy part, now it’s time to get to work.