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Now what?

Written by Sarah Simpson | Tuesday November 15th 2016

 

How are you feeling? I’ve been talking to friends who’ve been experiencing a wide range of emotions since last Tuesday night — surprise and confusion, sadness and fear, optimism and resolve.

If there’s one thing the American election can teach us, it’s that we cannot take for granted that elections will turn out as we expect or hope — there will be surprises.

Here in Canada, we are not immune to the divisive politics we are witnessing elsewhere. But we’re also not helpless to prevent that division from taking hold.

Whatever you are feeling, I hope that you will take that emotion and channel it into action.

Voting every few years is not enough. In a way, election nights are just the beginning. At Springtide, we want citizens to get engaged in the political process between elections.

If you’re not sure how to get engaged, we’ve got a suggestion. Next Thursday, Springtide will be hosting a Civic Dialogue about the aftermath of the American election and what happens next. This is part of a series of Civic Dialogues we’re hosting in partnership with Sera Thompson, a master facilitator using the Deep Democracy method, a powerful way of having conversations about challenging subjects, for resolving conflict and mining its gold - something we see as preventive medicine for the divisive politics that are on the rise worldwide.

Learn more and RSVP here: 'Making Sense of Political Heartbreak' 

There are so many other ways to be involved. It doesn't need to take all of your time or all of your money (though a little bit of each would be nice). Here are a few: 

- Read more about what’s going on in your community and province, our country and around the globe. Educate yourself on that issue you’ve been meaning to read more about electoral reform, anyone?

- Teach others what you know.

- Start a conversation.

- Attend a public meeting.

- Write a letter.

- Volunteer your time.

- Make a donation.

- Reach out to someone new to your community.

- Vote at every opportunity (I’m looking at you, PEI).

- Run for office.

- Encourage and support smart people running for office.

- Show up. 

Let's harness the feelings we have now. In a few months, when deciding whether to attend a public meeting or stay home and binge watch The West Wing, we need to remember this feeling. We need to remember that being a citizen in a democracy is a privilege and a full-time responsibility.

See you out there.

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Sarah Simpson is a member of the Board of Directors at Springtide.