To advocate for change in a democracy (or even in a republic, like the U.S.), there’s a right way to express one’s views. And there’s a wrong way.
One way: Stand up and scream “Not My President!” Better yet, lay down in the middle of a busy street, hold your signs up high, and bring traffic to a halt. Inconvenience those who don’t agree with you. Make them listen.
Another way: Read the letter below.
This is not a matter of how you feel about the particular issue. There are plenty of those to go around. It’s a matter of how best to advocate for change in general.
Which way do you think is more productive?
February 24, 2017
Dear President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and Secretary DeVos,
This week, you rescinded guidance that had clarified schools’ obligations to protect transgender students — students like our children. We are heartbroken and scared about what this means for them. We respectfully request an opportunity to meet with you face-to-face to discuss the impact of your decision on our children’s lives. This action exposes transgender students to harassment and discrimination in their own classrooms, places [in which] they should feel safe and able to learn.
Before you made this decision, we sent a letter to you, President Trump, that has been signed by more than 1,000 parents of transgender children. We asked you not to roll back this guidance and called on your administration to fully enforce federal civil rights laws. The letter has been signed by parents in 45 states and Washington, D.C.
As members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, a coalition of the nation’s leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people, we ask that the federal government fully protect our children at school — something that all families deserve. We urge you to listen to families across the country demanding basic fairness and respect for every child.
Thank you for your time, and [we] sincerely hope you will sit down with us — and some of our brave, wonderful children — in the coming weeks to share our concerns about what your actions mean to hundreds of thousands of American families.
Amber and Adam Briggle, Texas
Amy D’Arpino, Arizona
Vanessa and JR Ford, Washington, D.C.
Debi and Tom Jackson, Missouri
Jeanette Jennings, Florida
Wayne and Kelly Ann Maines, Maine
DeShanna Neal, Delaware
Peter and Sarah Tchoryk, Michigan
WORKING TO ACHIEVE EQUALITY FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE 1640 Rhode Island Avenue Washington, D.C. 20036 phone (202) 628 4160 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether the Trump administration will reward this gentle approach by inviting these gentle people to The White House to break bread–and listen–remains to be seen. Wouldn’t it be nice, and civilized, if Trump responded in kind. Otherwise, maybe the other folks–the ones blocking our streets and screaming “Not My President!”–have the right idea after all.
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