This morning I heard from a nurse in Seattle asking this question in response to our advocacy alert inviting comments on the proposed rules weakening the Affordable Care Act – “How can I be sure that my writing, calling and speaking up against these changes to ACA don’t actually encourage them to cut more? They seem to take our protests as success on their parts.” This is a terrific question, and it is one that plagues all of us from time to time! Here is my response – and I invite everyone to add your comments to this post – to help all of us focus on our determination to resist!
It is true that we really cannot know, at least not right away, whether or not anything we do will make a difference. But it is also true that a common initial reaction, by anyone, to opposition is to dig in further and make a “show” of being emboldened – and for the politicians, this is exactly what they will do for the first few signs of opposition. What they cannot withstand is a continued, large-scale show of opposition because at that point, it threatens their security. Those who are elected officials begin to realize they cannot survive with large scale opposition. Those who are appointed officials are also threatened, because our opposition threatens the elected administration that has put them in place. It may be true that they will ignore our opposition to all actions that threaten the health of the American people, but we will be on record for standing on the side of the people, and as our opposition persists, and grows, if anything will make a difference, this will.
There is another piece to this – there are things that people do that indeed do help them – which is to keep repeating what they say, even if we say “don’t” – when we say “don’t take away our healthcare” we are actually calling forth the image of what we want them not to do – to take it away. When we repeat their tweets and their promises to repeal, we are actually emboldening them. And so it is important to focus on what they do, not what they say. We will be posting suggestions for positive action regularly on the NurseManifest website, and also sending advocacy alerts like this one! (note: we are sending email advocacy alerts to all who signed the Declaration of Solidarity and Resistance and included your email)
This question also inspired me to re-visit my post earlier this month – Guidelines for Resistance – guidelines that we are using as we offer suggestions for action. Here again is the list of guidelines (tweaked a bit) – to help sort out, as best we can, what actions can be effective.
2. Remember this is a regime – he’s not acting alone; he has put in place many who have no interest in serving the needs of people for health and safety.
3. Do not argue with those who support the new administration –it doesn’t work;
4. Focus on his/their policies and actions, not his orange-ness, mental state, or wealth;
5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow.
6. No more helpless/hopeless talk
7. Support artists and the arts – pay attention to the comedians especially
8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Think like a scientist. Check it.
9. Take care of yourselves; and
One thought on “Do our actions make a difference?”
Very helpful and thoughtful reply. Focus on what we want them to do not what we want them to not do or stop doing! Like raising a stubborn child?!