This week on The Upgrade, we're discussing how average people can get involved with politics even when it isn't an election year. To put it mildly, the unexpected results of the US presidential election caused an upswell in political activism, and we're taking a look at how to get involved.
Photo via Mario Tama/Getty.
How to Listen to This Week's Episode
This Week's Discussion: Political Activism
Though our focus is on US politics, many of the strategies we discuss can be applied to Australian political activism. For example, one of the most direct ways to get involved is to contact your direct representatives. These are the people you should try and talk to when you want to voice your concerns or want them to vote a certain way on a specific bill.
Actually getting their ear is easier said than done though; phone calls are the most effective method for influencing your representatives, but you can also send emails, faxes and letters. Even though you might not ever talk directly with your MP, their staff will tabulate all the issues that their constituents are discussing. On that note, it's important that you are actually a constituent. You may want to vent about the actions of a specific politician, but you should really focus on the people whose job is literally to represent you.
Later on the show we talk with Joanna Rothkopf and Prachi Gupta, hosts of Big Time Dicks, a new political podcast on our sister site Jezebel. Joanna and Prachi share their tips on how we can further get involved with the political process; for some people that means marching, donating to organisations that support the causes you care about, or even running for office yourself.
What can really help, though, is focusing on just a handful of issues that concern you. Approaching the current state of politics with the intent of fixing everything that's wrong is far too daunting and won't necessarily accomplish anything. Moreover, it's just plain exhausting. You can't attend every march, protest and demonstration, and you shouldn't task yourself with taking on the world. Focus most on a handful of issues that specifically matter to you.
Our Upgrades of the Week
Every week to round out the The Upgrade with the little upgrades of our own. Here's a quick recap:
- Andy: Sweatpants. OK, bear with me. I recently bought a set of socks, underwear and T-shirts that also came with a pair of sweatpants (it was all bundled together for dummies like me who need a bunch of the essentials). These pants have become part of my routine at the end of the day and have made my life just a little bit better. Life hack: Wear comfortable pants.
- Beth: Beth took a note from the book Unf*ck Your Habitat and decided to make her bed every day when she gets up in the morning. It's a small, straightforward thing, but it's starts her day right and makes her bedroom feel more organised.
My office is a mess. So are many areas of my house, to be honest. I don't like cleaning, so I tend not to bother with cleaning books. Even if they motivate me to clean, everything gets dirty again and, well, what's the point? But then I met Unf*ck Your Habitat.