The 2016 election is over, but in 2017 we’re just getting started. Just as Bernie Sanders hits ATL, it’s time to stay invested and pay attention.
By James Parker Sheffield
With uncertainty around what the next four years will bring, it’s time to get our heads in the game. Since we can’t sit around and Google things like “sheltering in place” and “how to pick a ‘bug-out’ location” all day, we might as well do something productive with our time.
For those who still have a fire burning to relive the “excitement” of the 2016 election, there are some options. You could grab your hiking boots and binoculars in hopes of spotting Hillary Clinton roaming the wilds of Piedmont Park, but we aren’t entirely sure if she migrated south for the season yet. If you’re looking for more of a “sure thing” in spotting political celebrities in Atlanta, you’re in luck.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders makes a stop in Atlanta on Sunday as part of his national book tour for Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In. The No. 1 New York Times Bestseller details Bernie’s experiences from the 2016 presidential campaign trail and his continued agenda for addressing economic, environmental and social justice issues. Basically, if you’re into progressive thirst-traps, this is your scene.
Whether you’re all about the Bernie Book Bash, or you’re feeling “over it” in terms of rehashing the 2016 Beyond The Thunder Dome version of our presidential campaign cycle, we’re here to help.
Fight your political-reality blues with these important reminders:
Elections happen more than once every four years. The 2018 midterms are an incredibly important election. In it, we have the chance to send gay and gay-friendly representation to Washington to help balance the presence of anti-LGBTQ officials, like VP Mike Pence. Know who is running and commit to voting.
Work at local levels is more important than ever. State, county, city and municipal governments have the ability to create a firewall of protections for our community to help offset what happens at the federal level. Contribute to local races, know who your elected officials are, and pay attention to what they’re working on.
Regardless of your party, there’s major work to be done internally on LGBTQ issues. The GOP passed one of the most anti-LGBTQ platforms in history last summer, and while Sen. Sanders and Hillary Clinton both had a strong base of LGBTQ supporters, both campaigns and the DNC were criticized for lack of policy speeches and debate questions addressing the gay community. Tell your party leaders that they have to do better, and hold them accountable.
Don’t just talk politics; get involved in the process. From registering voters to campaigning for candidates at every level, your time and energy are needed. Stay connected to Georgia Equality as a great way to find out how to get and stay plugged in: www.georgiaequality.org
When in doubt, be prepared. If this whole thing goes upside down fast, you’ll want to have some basic fundamentals in place. Sharpening your depression era skills, like “just cut the moldy part off of the cheese,” “nail a new a notch into your belt,” and “whatever is in the panty will work; we’ll just tell everyone it’s a casserole” is a great way to feel more empowered.
How to See Bernie:
The hour-long program takes place Sunday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m., is presented by A Cappella Books at the Ferst Center on the Georgia Tech campus, 350 Ferst Drive NW. Sen. Sanders will speak and take pre-submitted questions from the audience. Tickets are $32 and include a copy of Our Revolution. A limited number of pre-autographed copies will be handed out at random, but the event does not include a meet-and-greet photo or signing lines.
Questions for Senator Sanders may be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.