How to help progressive social/political issues: US citizen outside US
November 20, 2016 8:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm a US citizen living in Mexico. I want to do my part to help the country survive Trump and the GOP-led federal government, especially the people, groups, and programs/initiatives most at risk. I can't do any on-site volunteer work. I will donate (considering this advice) , but my pesos won't amount to much. Any suggestions on how I can help, while still living outside the US? And any thoughts on how I can participate in mitigating the damage to the Mexican people?

I've read these recent AskMeFi threads on getting active, non-citizens, supporting good journalism, supporting voting , and calling my elected officials.

I assume I should primarily call the senators and representative of where I am registered to vote.

I am an academic, and my work sometimes get into the areas of worker's rights, and public health. I hope there might be some ways I can leverage that.
posted by neutralmojo to Law & Government (8 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Those are very important areas of public policy! You could make a real contribution by publishing studies that quantify or document propositions that challenge the alt-right, especially if you work with public interest organizations to spread the word about your findings.
posted by lakeroon at 8:48 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hi. I am also a US citizen living abroad and have been asking myself the same questions, so I'll follow this thread closely. Thanks for asking this.

So far, these are the things I've done or plan to do. It sounds like you already have the first two covered. I also don't have your policy experience, so these areas of action are more general.

- Donate money (particularly to the organizations on that great Jezebel list that was going around)

- Call my senators and representatives for where I'm registered to vote

- Stay informed about what's going on in the US and encourage friends who are still there to take action. Keep my sense of outrage.

- Stay informed and active in local politics in the area where I live. Trump's election is not an isolated incident; it's part of a global swing towards extreme-right, xenophobic policies in countries around the world. I plan to do what I can to keep my current country from moving in that direction.

Very interested in any further ideas that you come up with.
posted by mekily at 8:55 AM on November 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

One thing you can do every day is be good - that is, be yourself. I desperately want the rest of the world to realize that Hillary won the popular vote and that Trump is the beneficiary of an outdated system. Being a good example of an American is, I bet, something you're already doing, and if someone brings up this madness, your explanation could go a long way, if they in turn share it with others.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:55 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you. These are all excellent points - helpful and inspiring.
posted by neutralmojo at 11:26 AM on November 20, 2016

As a U.S citizen abroad, I've been considering this as well. Thanks for asking this. I've felt very despondent after the election results, especially as a black American. I'm tempted to move back home to California within the next year to help out with work on the ground, but I'm still considering that.

One thing I definitely would suggest is to do what you can to protect your own interests while living abroad. I might be paranoid, but I don't know how far this "outsiders are bad" attitude might extend, or how it might affect citizens who don't live stateside. Consider joining a group like American Citizens Abroad (ACA), which advocates for the interests of people like us, and can serve as a good network of information. The cost to join isn't too steep, and it could be worth it in the long run.
posted by Cybria at 2:11 PM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for that link Cybria. I had not heard of them. Looks like a good resource.
posted by neutralmojo at 3:13 PM on November 20, 2016

I've been wondering the same thing, Cybria, about what they might do to those of us Americans who've "betrayed the USA". I heard that plenty in the run-up to the Iraq War so I know it's still simmering in the far right, they just know it's not catchy propaganda (yet). I suspect it could be something along the lines of what's being proposed here in Europe by the far right, namely forcing us to choose a single nationality, or potentially actually having to pay taxes to the US, not just declare them. ACA is pretty good yes. The nationality thing I'm about 85% certain could happen, so do some soul-searching and check out what that could mean for ties you have to the US. We can still go back for visits without US citizenship, we'll just be tagged (we already are anyway).

I will say this: having seen how governors, mayors, senators, and representatives are standing up in the US to protect people, I strongly suspect that the overwhelmingly Democratic embassies overseas will also take steps to protect us. But probably, it will be only enough to buy us time. I wouldn't count on more than that.

Nthing protect what you have where you are now.

Also nthing be yourself. My friends in the US have outright told me they're relieved I'm in France; they're happy just to know one of their friends is okay. Likewise I'm realizing that one of the best things I can do is be a safe place for them to get away to if some of them need it. And given as basically all of my friends are women, LGBTQ, and not considered white, well.

Write your senators and representatives. Especially: tell them how the US is being viewed overseas! This has really made an impact on my senators and rep.

The flip side of that is to talk to people in your country. That too makes a difference. I have singlehandedly convinced more than a dozen French people to register to vote for the first time in their lives. They hadn't wanted to vote for our upcoming presidential elections, and when I asked them if they were registered, they were like, "oh... oh god I'd better do that right now." Just conversationally.

Donations are great.

And going to repeat with another aspect: be yourself, live your life. We have got to remember what normal is so that we can fight for it.
posted by fraula at 3:34 PM on November 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm a U.S. citizen in Canada, wondering the same thing. I happen to be a lawyer (though I no longer practice) so I am working on finding organizations that can use me as a volunteer working on projects remotely. Are there organizations you can work with from the academic side, perhaps contributing research, writing, or other services?
posted by gateau at 11:05 AM on November 21, 2016

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