When Trump won, the biggest thing I felt was guilt. As a PhD student in psychology–I have put an enormous amount of energy into understanding humans, but have done very little to help them. For years, I have known that income inequality has been steadily increasing in this country, and that as a result, people are suffering. I have known that the lack of universal childcare is bad for children and bad for mothers. I have known that the environment is being ravaged by corporations. I have known that many people in this country don’t think climate change is real. I have known that very wealthy people in this country have more influence on politicians than the rest of us combined. I have known that communities of color have been ripped apart by mass incarceration. I have known that innocent Americans are being murdered by the police. And yet, the sum of my political involvement amounted to two $10 donations to Bernie Sander’s campaign and some posts on Facebook. It is clear now that this level of involvement is unacceptable.
As a new member of Democratic Socialists of America, my hope is that that we unite to make concrete changes. I hope that we do not allow perfect to be the enemy of good. I hope that I can do my part in small and large efforts, like raising money for abortion access, recruiting more members to the DSA, joining with other like-minded groups, getting democratic socialists elected to local government, providing universal healthcare, changing the perception of democratic socialism in America, achieving national universal childcare and pre-k, raising the minimum wage to $15. Finally, whether we do it by pushing Democrats to change or creating a new party, I hope we provide a party that stands up for the entire working class.
Ashley Thomas is a new member of DSA, and DSA-LA from Long Beach where she and some friends are beginning the process of organizing a local DSA group