Why Civic Engagement Is Critical
The US has an increasingly disjointed, traumatized populace that is more likely to disengage with their own connections and communities than to engage. Overwhelm and trauma are powerful de-mobilizers.
Civic engagement will be increasingly critical as collective, widespread pandemic shock and overwhelm push many into a natural trauma response to freeze and disengage. The trauma response will be a challenge to overcome as the disaster intensifies, as fear increases, as resources are spread thinner, and as other natural trauma responses toward fight or flight occur. There will be widespread cascading effects from interruptions to interdependent systems; and as previously stable systems destabilize or devolve – anything from schools to local governments to supply chains to infrastructure. The Trump Administration will likely continue to worsen the trauma through its deliberately obstructive response; exacerbating the disaster in ways that will harm or kill more and more people. The increasingly authoritarian tendencies of the Trump Administration and its push toward a nationalistic oligarchy all serve to divide Americans and to scare people into further disengagement. All of this will further exacerbate both the widespread trauma and the inclination to disengage. Disempowerment spreads as the series of shocks persists.
Civic engagement can be a powerful way to help with these crises. Human stress biomarkers are lower when we as humans feel like we’re working together, versus feeling that we’re on our own.
A groundswell of visible, inspired, collective civic engagement activity can empower Americans to help pull each other forward through crisis, to vote, to hold democracy together, and to make transformation.
Civic engagement tools can help us get through these crises with connection, community, resilience, and problem-solving; 4 principles that can help us navigate these various crises. The Shift the Country 5-part strategy can help organizations build on existing approaches to mobilizing volunteers for voter engagement – and expand those activities to include our 15 tools for doing helpful things.
This 5-part strategy can help get disenchanted, inactive voters engaged; to pull in voters who may be overwhelmed; to solve urgent problems together; to tell voters’ stories; to advocate for the needs of the city, county, or state to candidates/incumbents running for office; or to bring attention to how government is serving or failing voters and how it could shift. The Shift the Country approach can help bring hope, inspiration, vision, teamwork, strength, and solidarity.
LINKS. || Shift the Country || I'm In! Sign Me Up || How Can I Support All This Shift? || 15 Tools for Doing Helpful Things || 10 Structural Areas For Action Anywhere || Printable Shift the Country Framework || FB || Twitter || Videos & Broadcasts || YouTube || Workshops & Scheduled Livestreams ||
MORE. PATREON and GOFUNDME support help us make more shift happen faster. This framework here has flexible ways to use the 15 tools and to mix + match them with the 10 structural areas. This page is an excerpt from the printable Shift the Country white paper. Help us share this stuff everywhere with everyone you know & totally raise an absolute ruckus. Thank you. Good luck.