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What Can Be Done
Many Ways To Be Active

If you haven't already, a good place to start in thinking about how you can get involved with the pro-democracy movement is by looking carefully at our description of what organizations are doing and what is working.

Then, the section following this is about how you can make your efforts count. It suggests a process of assessing the huge list of things you could do and winnowing it down to the activities that make the most sense for you, that best match your resources, skills, and preferences, as well as local conditions.

Before moving on to that assessment, a few preliminary comments on choosing your path may be helpful.

The struggle to protect, restore and rejuvenate our democracy will extend for a decade or more. The 2020 election confronts us with an urgent challenge right now, but even if we ward off the threat of a Trump second term, the democratic restoration we need will require much more fundamental changes. Ultimately we must transform our democracy to the high level of functionality needed to be successful in grappling with the scale and importance of the challenges and opportunities we face.

Long-term engagement is what we need from citizen activists. To sustain a long-term effort, attention must be paid to what is emotionally and practically sustainable. This underscores the value of the careful assessment suggested in the next section.

Many of the individuals who consider becoming involved in the pro-democracy movement are already deeply committed to other issues, from climate to inequality to racism. Our democratic system is the commons within which all reformers do their work, but that commons has been disastrously neglected and depleted in recent decades. Now is the time when all activists need to free up a portion of their time and resources to reinvest in the health of our democratic commons.

As noted elsewhere, the problem is not a lack of ways to work for what you believe in. When it comes to the pro-democracy movement, the problem many people actually encounter is too many choices. It's like one of those restaurants where it would take you a good half-hour just to really look at the menu, and you have to fight down the impulse to just order the first remotely appealing thing you run across in order to avoid having to deal with too many choices.

So sure, decide what do based partly on what seems most important. But this can lead to burnout as the toll of activities you aren't best suited for builds up. Better to think carefully about what resources you have and how you can develop a role for yourself that you can sustain over time.

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