TC Brown of Columbus is a retired journalist and journalism professor alarmed by the growing threats to democracy.
“Fight for the things you care about. But do it in a way that will get others to join you. —Ruth Bader Ginsburg
A bewildering buffet of emotions washed over me as I turned on the television in the early afternoon of January 6, 2021 and saw hordes of red hats, Trump flags storming our Capitol and attacking the font in an hour. battle.
Shock, disbelief, worry, worry, fear and yes, rage assaulted my psyche.
I paced the room, unable to sit still as I cried out at the mind-blowing madness unfolding on the screen.
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This inner turmoil and my hostile reaction were nothing new after years of watching a budding despot rip out the foundations of democracy, brick by brick. But it’s been amplified by this all-too-real combat imagery straight out of “The Game of Thrones” set in Washington, D.C.
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And as I watched the Jan. 6 committee peel back layer after layer to expose the genesis of the insurgency, with Trump stalled, those passions resurfaced.
But now there is a big difference. I no longer feel frustrated and helpless in front of the television, I am taking action to fend off the crazed extremists bent on breaking up our republic.
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In early spring, I found The Union, a new organization made up entirely of volunteers from all walks of life and political leanings with one mission: to preserve our democracy.
When I viewed them on JoinTheUnion.us, I was immediately taken with the group’s call for “urgent action” at all levels – national, state and local. I enlisted in this citizen army and I have not looked back. It was like flipping a switch in a creepily dark attic.
By July, the organization had over 57,000 people on board and it continued to grow. Some are experienced; some are brand new, but intensified because they recognize that our democracy is at a dangerous crossroads.
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It seems that the Union understands this too; his website says he is fully committed to creating one of the strongest grassroots coalitions of people and associations in American history.
Depending on skills and interests, volunteers are paired with one of many teams: communications, creative, research, technical, translators, regional organization, faith, and even moms and veterans.
The organization has dozens of national and state partners focused on democracy issues and local elections. A Union person from each state acts as the central communication contact for volunteers in that state. By midsummer, about 30 states had leaders, with the goal of having one in all 50 states.
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No member is asked to donate money, but everyone is asked to take action if they can. So far, the group has issued more than 60 union alerts to its members, asking us to make phone calls, learn how to register voters, help get young people to vote, knock on doors or help a local candidate, among others.
I want to help the Union keep those drumbeats going, while turning up the volume and heat of the out-and-out cult fanatics who eagerly swallowed the fabricated half-truths and outright lies of anti-democracy movement.
Illiberal forces are only growing stronger. Me too. Granted, I still yell at the TV on occasion, but now I know I’m doing a lot more to make a difference with my work on The Union’s communications team.
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If you don’t want to bet that you could possibly live under the boot of autocracy, it’s time for you to join the fight to save democracy. It’s a battle without a vacation.
Are you in?
TC Brown of Columbus is a retired journalist and journalism professor alarmed by the growing threats to democracy. More information about the Union can be found at Jointheunion.us