Step Up or Shut Up

BY: Padraic Maroney – “The Neurotic, Urban Millennial”

Two years ago, I was on the phone with my Dad. He lives in Arizona and was voting early, via absentee ballot, because he was traveling back East on Election Day. I asked who he voted for, assuming I already knew the answer. But he surprised me, when he replied, “Trump.”

My jaw was on the floor. I knew that since moving to Arizona he had been watching a lot more Fox News, but I wasn’t prepared for this. Plus, the reason he was flying home was for my sibling’s gay wedding. He voted for Trump two days BEFORE. ATTENDING. HIS. CHILD’S. GAY. WEDDING.

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Dumbfounded, I asked him “why?” and if he knew the irony of his vote and his weekend plans. His response: “Benghazi. Clinton just left those men to die.”

He made it sound like Hillary Clinton was some goddamned geriatric Harley Quinn, driving the getaway car in Libya, and decided she was over the mission and went to go make donuts in a parking lot.

I get the stories we’ve all heard about people getting into fights with their relatives over the 2016 election results. It’s not easy to deal with these conversations, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. This year, we were promised a blue wave from people being so upset and disgusted by the president and his administration. But for the last two years, there has been no wave to come throw the American people a life raft. In fact, the only wave I’ve experienced is the crimson wave, that I have been surfing since election night 2016.

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Alas, it’s time to put the 2016 election to bed. It’s tiring to constantly feel beaten down. And I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly feeling hopeful these days. We’ve all gone through the stages of grieving. It’s a weird dynamic that we are living in. There’s crazy low unemployment, which is driving up wages, as it’s a more competitive market to land a candidate, and the stock market has been riding high. Yet, socially we live in a nightmare reality where our country is divided, and only getting further divided by the current White House occupant.

So, where does that leave us? As we turn on the television seemingly every day, we see a new mass shooting. In the last two weeks alone there have been four, killing over 25 people, plus the crazy Unabomber wannabe was sending bombs to all of Trump’s “enemies” (I put that in quotes because quite honestly, he pretty much considers almost everyone to be an enemy if they don’t get offered to bow before him).

You want to know where that leaves us? It leaves us needing to come together on a grassroots level. After this week’s election, we will probably just see gridlock in the government for the next two years. In order to make change, we need to take it upon ourselves to right the ship.

Don’t get me wrong, there were promising signs this week: The youngest women ever elected to Congress, an openly gay Governor, Florida giving ex-felons the right to vote. These all offer hope to the hopeless, of things to come and that change is possible. But we need to all come together and take action.

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Rallies are good and they provide an outlet for people. But how many people go to a rally and then put their pussy hats away until the next year’s rally? Talk the talk and walk the walk…anything from volunteering to be a mentor, to help the next generation, actively standing up to make your neighborhood a safer place to live, or getting involved with local nonprofits and giving your time to make a real difference.

It’s easy to fall into the pattern of just bitching to our co-workers about how bad things are going. We need steps to stop focusing on the negativity and put more positivity into the world. Even if everyone around you is being awful, take a step to be a positive light by doing something that will make a difference in the world. We need to lift each other up and also offer self-care to ourselves. If we aren’t keeping ourselves in the best frame of mind, how can we truly help anyone else?

We can’t expect politicians to be our saviors. Maxine Waters can reclaim all of her time and we can fangirl her and RBG all we want, yet there’s only so much that elected officials can do. The republic needs to step up, and start making the waves that will eventually turn into a Tidal Wave — one that isn’t created by climate change!

If you aren’t willing to do it, then at least do us a favor and shut up, so that you don’t end up distracting us from the work we need to do.


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Padraic Maroney hails from upstate New York, suffering from middle child syndrome.  His writing career began after moving to the Philadelphia suburbs while in high school. He wrote for The Bucks County Courier Times’ Reality section, written by local teenagers, and has the distinction of writing a weekly gossip column for a college newspaper at a school he didn’t even attend! His love of pop culture led him to intern at Teen People, where he met Janis Gaudelli, and realized he could turn being a millennial into a career. Since then he’s alternated between writing and marketing, but always focused on Millennials and everything they bring to the table. Padraic is a lover of shenanigans, 80s music, and the movie “Scream.”

You can follow his additional adventures on Instagram: @padraicjacob

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