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Get Angry. Then, Do Something.

By Zinta Aistars

For days, I’ve been waking up angry. Flicking on the morning news on the television, I have been assaulted by the images of children in cages, by the sounds of their terrified cries. Since President Trump's zero-tolerance border policy went into action May 2018, nearly 2,300 children have been separated from their families. At this time, even after signing an executive order to end this policy under pressure of public outcry, there is no plan in place to reunite these children with their parents.

Like so many of us, I have been frustrated with my sense of helplessness to reach out to these imprisoned children on the border and unlock those doors. After all, their little faces reminded me so much of my own grandchildren.

One moment my blood was boiling, the next, I was wiping away tears of grief for those babies and for the degradation of a country I no longer recognized. What to do? Something, something, but what? What good is anger if it doesn’t lead to action, and action to a solution?

I live in Allegan County, in Allegan Township, and it is a deeply red county. I have always felt strongly about my responsibility to vote—from the local millage and city commissioner races on up to president of the nation. All are important. I rarely miss a chance to show up at the polls and VOTE. Does voting really matter in such a red county? It’s my duty as a citizen of this country. I take that seriously.

Yet I never bothered to join the Allegan County Democratic Party (ACDP). Wasn’t that just a waste of my time and energy?

Suddenly, it mattered. I was angry and I was grieving and I was frustrated and I needed to DO something. Something constructive. I looked up the ACDP website, found the contact information, and I sent off an email to the party chair, Jill Dunham. I spilled out my roiling emotions. I told her I was angry and I didn’t know what to do with all this emotion. I told her my skill set—I am a writer and editor—and I offered those skills up to her in whatever way she might find useful. I didn’t have the dollars to spare, but surely I could help in some written way?

Jill quickly answered, her email peppered with happy exclamation marks, and she promised to put my skills to use. She even offered me this space on the ACDP website to blog about political issues and concerns for others like me. It turned out there are others like me. Jill told me that one out of three Allegan County residents vote Democratic. Really? Hey, that’s not so bad.

Maybe, I thought, if we all stop thinking there’s nothing much we can do, we might actually be able to accomplish something—together. One by one by one, coming together as a concerned community, we can make a difference here in our neighborhoods and across the country.

“Just don’t make it all about anger,” Jill said.

Anger, I reminded her, fired me up enough to come out of my corner to volunteer. To add my voice to other voices. But Jill’s right. Anger alone won’t cut it. Anger is a good motivator, but to build something strong and lasting, we have to do more than shake our fists at the other side. We have to find ways to build bridges. We have to define our cause in a way that makes sense to many. Statistics tell us that we are the majority, but that too many of us don’t bother to vote. Alone, we don’t believe we can create change.

So go ahead, get angry. But don’t stop there. Speak up for what you believe is right, find others who feel the same way, join the ACDP, and together—we may just pave a new path forward.

Zinta Aistars is a writer and editor at Z Word, LLC. She resides on a small farm in Allegan Township, and in June 2018, she decided it was time to join the ACDP and be counted.

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