There’s been so much going on in the world that it’s been hard – if not impossible – to keep up. And this is not strictly in terms of news, though there’s a lot of that too. But there are so many rallies, protests, phone calls, and other important forms of resistance, that doing them all is definitely impossible.
But that’s okay.
Engaging in civic work is a marathon, not a sprint. You got to hydrate along the way.
John Dewey argued that democracy is a way of living, and I like to think that this is partly what he meant. That is – it’s not just a question of how many protests you go to, it’s how you integrate protests into your life.
When people talk about “resistance fatigue” or argue that protest participation will slowly dissipate, this is what they’re referring to – if civic engagement isn’t part of how you live your life, it will always feel like this awkwardly tacked-on thing that’s holding you back from the real business of the day.
We have lives, families, jobs; responsibilities that make a life of nothing but full-on political engagement impossible no matter what the political climate. The trick, I think, is making civic engagement – whether through protest or otherwise – one of these core pieces of your life.
You can’t do it all; none of us can do it all.
But democracy as a way of living means embracing civic duty as a core value; it means showing up and creating space for others’ to have their voices heard. It doesn’t mean sporadically and frantically throwing some civic actions into your day; it means living in a democratic way: engaging as a way of life.