Columnist Jennifer Rubin is online every Friday for a reader Q&A where she will interact with readers, discuss her columns and answer questions. The following question appeared in Rubin's column,
Where do Democrats go from here on Manchin, in The Washington Post on July 15, 2022.
What are the steps to ‘protect’ our democracy?
Hello, Ms. Rubin — Maybe I’ve missed the list of succinct, concrete, practical, useful, realistic, things we citizens can actually do to “protect” our democracy. I’ve been on board a long time, but I am tired of the words “we need to.” They seem as worthless as “thoughts and prayers.” I volunteer for campaigns, give money, write to my representatives and educate myself as best as I can (thank you for your work). I also speak up to others who are open and don’t waste my time on willfully ignorant others. What am I missing? It only works if enough people choose to participate, but that is their responsibility.
Make certain everyone you know is registered to vote and turns out for every election. Volunteer not only on campaigns, but as a poll worker (absolutely critical when MAGA forces are packing these posts). Attend local school board meetings and city government hearings. Subscribe to local newspapers, which are in financial crisis. Support and give money not just to candidates, but to groups that advocate and litigate for democratic reforms. If your state has ballot initiatives or referendums, support those or even start one that enhances democracy. (A measure for an independent commission to control redistricting appeared on the 2018 ballot in Michigan and passed. One woman kicked off the entire effort with a Facebook post.) And if you are so inclined, run for office yourself. Democracy is hard work, I know. But the alternative is surrendering to authoritarian, reactionary forces that will undermine democracy.