How It Feels to Wish You’d Never Been Born (A Singular Example)

I don’t want to be where I am.
I don’t want to be alive but I am not suicidal, I guess I wish I’d just never been alive at all, but I will find a way to survive because I have to until this court date in December.

Every day this lawsuit drags on I still feel like I am a prisoner of my old boss. I cannot eat due to crippling anxiety, depression, and stress she has left me with. The resulting sensation of starvation brings me back to the hopeless feelings associated with the broke starvation that I was forced to experience when first alerted my boss to her labor violations in December of 2016 and she started intentionally withholding my paychecks shortly thereafter.

I spend my days just standing around in the same place for hours, staring into nothing (or a stupid app on my phone), feeling and hearing my stomach ache for sustenance, wishing I was not here, wishing I had never been born, a feeling I had never felt until my boss started her systematic torture.

It really pisses me the fuck off when people say they understand what I mean or that what I went through wasn’t a big deal and most people move on from these things. Nobody in the history of the world has gone through the chain of events I experienced. That is not to say I have experienced the worst trauma in the world, but it is disingenuous to even say you understand what it is like to lose fifteen pounds in four weeks while your cousin that is your boss withholds your paychecks intentionally while also giving all your coworkers their normal paycheck, a Christmas bonus, and doesn’t invite you to the holiday lunch to boot while you’re taking your dog to daily radiation treatment for his cancer south of Los Angeles International airport from northeast of Burbank every single weekday for three and a half weeks 900 miles away from all the friends and family you’ve ever known in your life just a month after your grandma passed away whom you couldn’t visit regularly because your boss who was paying you below the minimum wage didn’t allow you to have any vacation time is upset because you told her she is breaking nearly every labor law on the books in California.

I know that’s a loaded run-on sentence, and it isn’t even the whole story.

Some people may know some of the pains I am talking about and some people may know more pain than this. I am not using my trauma as a dick-measuring contest. But I do not ever try to say that I understand the pain someone else is feeling because I am not them, and I don’t want people saying they understand what I am going through. It is literally impossible to know that experience unless you lived it.

Food doesn’t taste good anymore. I used to cook for enjoyment, but now all my favorite things to cook are associated with anxiety attacks I have had and the bad memories are seared into my brain and make my appetite go away for days at a time. I have spent six hours cooking a meal that should feed me for four days and taken a few bites, not finished the rest, and watched the meal mold over til it ends up in the garbage more times than I can count.

It’s economically easier to starve myself than waste money on food. If I could get nutrition by IV, I would.

I don’t know how or why I am alive with the diet I have.

If there was a way to be put in a medically induced coma until the deposition or trial I would do it in a heartbeat. Hell, cryogenically freeze me, I’m already ice cold and mentally dead inside. I really could give a shit if I am blind when I wake up like Han Solo on Tatooine.

I miss the warmth of the Southern California sun. When you’re feeling cold and dark down there at least the sun can keep your body warm, because the cold dark rainy environment of Oregon just leaves me physically cold, my fingers numb from the lack of blood circulation made worse by a poor diet. Oregon reminds me daily of why I fucking left here. At least if it is cold in Los Angeles there are taquerias in every neighborhood to warm your soul up with authentic food unlike the bullshit hipster rip-offs of everything that exist in Portland.

I used to walk my dogs regularly when I lived down in Los Angeles until Azzurri got cancer in his leg. I do not even remember the last time I walked them that was wasn’t because they were constipated and needed to go all the way around the block instead of the 5 minutes my anxiety can manage.

Three years after moving now they’re just two depressed little animals suffering because I cannot provide them with the love and care that I used to. Lilly won’t play with any toys at all anymore and has had over twenty teeth removed because of my inability to take care of her dental needs because of the chain of depression and downward spiral I am in.

I hate who I am and what I have become. I feel ugly when I used to feel somewhat handsome enough to date regularly. I feel crazy because of the irrational behaviors this experience has left me with.

I wish I had never been born.

This is risky to post because I will never be able to apply for a job without my name being tied to this blog post, but what does it matter?

Things could be worse than they are now and holding in these feelings is already killing me inside.

How to Vote in Wisconsin

A quick guide on how to vote in the Badger state.

In 2016 Hillary Clinton (whom I loathe and wish had lost to Bernie Sanders in the primaries) narrowly lost Wisconsin by only 22,748 votes. Of the nearly 4.5 million eligible voters in the state, only 3 million cast a vote.

That means that Democrats registering only 30,000 more voters could have helped swing the fate of the nation in a completely different direction (with help in other key states) away from the hate-filled rhetoric and dumbing down of our nation we are currently seeing thanks to Donald Jackass Trump.

If you look at the table below poor attendance for the elections is as Wisconsonian as cheddar cheese and green jerseys. If Democrats and those who believe in progressive ideas hope to win future election, we will have to make an effort to change this trend by registering more like-minded voters.

Year Voting Age Population General Elections Votes General Election Turnout
2016 4,461,068 3,004,051 67.34%
2014 4,416,501 2,422,040 54.84%
2012 4,378,741 3,071,434 70.14%
2010 4,372,347 2,171,331 49.66%
2008 4,330,695 2,996,869 69.20%

Due to all these facts, I have created a quick and easy guide on how to vote in the state of Wisconsin that you can share with anyone you know who lives in Wisconsin and is not registered to vote. Enjoy!


Who can vote in Wisconsin?

  • Must have photo I.D. to vote
    (Wisconsin Photo ID Information)
  • 18 years old by the date of the next election
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must live at current address for at least 10 days before the election

Who can’t vote in Wisconsin?

  • Felons cannot vote, but can vote again when their rights are restored
  • If a judge has determined you incompetent to vote you cannot vote
  • If you have placed a bet on the outcome of the election you cannot vote
  • You cannot vote twice in the same election


How to register to vote in Wisconsin:

The Wisconsin voter registration website (MyVote Wisconsin) is easily the best voter registration site I have seen so far.

It allows you to see if you are already registered to vote and easily register if you are not. It also allows you to check what issues will be on your ballot, update your address, and request absentee ballots among many other options.

myvote wisconsin

If you prefer mailing your registration in you can do that as well but you will have to print out the form and make sure you mail it to the address of your local municipal clerk which you can locate at

You can download the voter registration application here:
Wisconsin Voter Registration Form

Proof of residency will be required if you mail in your voter registration, register in person at the municipal clerk’s office, or register on the day of the election. Generally a photocopy of a utility bill or ID will work for this. Since you need an ID to vote in Wisconsin you may as well just take a copy of that if you have one or begin getting yours to provide as proof of residency. You are also able to get a free voter ID in Wisconsin if you go to your local DMV and apply for one.

wisconsin proof of id

Proof of residency requirements can be found here:
Wisconsin Proof of Residency Requirements

Information on how to obtain a free Voter ID or other ID in the state of Wisconsin can be found at the website for the Wisconsin DMV here:
Wisconsin Photo Identification Information


How to Vote in Wisconsin

In order to vote in person all you need to do is find your local polling place to vote at and bring your ID on the day of the election.

To find your local polling place go here:
Wisconsin Polling Locations

You can also request an absentee ballot and vote by mail if you are registered to vote already through the MyVote Wisconsin website. You will need to have your absentee ballot in the mail by 8:00pm on the day of election day but it is better to do it sooner than later so the rest of us don’t have to stay up as late on election night waiting for the absentee ballots to keep being counted.

To request an absentee ballot go here:
Wisconsin Absentee Ballot Info



Overall, I am really impressed with how Wisconsin runs their voter registration process. Voting identification is also provided for free so long as you make a trip to the DMV and go through the waiting in line it takes to get it, so it does not seem that ID is being used as a poll tax.

Wisconsin offers so many services and information online that I don’t even have to do that much research trying to figure out how to communicate how to vote in the Badger state. For a state that voted Republican and is led by Paul Ryan I’m actually shocked that they have made it so easy to vote given the general trend of Republicans limiting voting access to their constituents.

Please share this with any and all people you know who are living in Wisconsin so they can either register to vote or share the information with people who can register to vote. Together we can make a difference, we just have to actually act.

The Social Media Bubble Economy

From teeth-whitening kits and vegan smoothies to obscure unoriginal clothing and trendy restaurants, you cannot go on Instagram and avoid being berated by advertisements. I am not talking about ads sold by Instagram and forced on users, I am talking about Instagram users selling their pages out to companies for free products and discounts. It’s almost a new type of pyramid scheme.

Instagram users all over are hoping to secure a deal with a brand they love. They do it by building up a following base of “Likes” and “Follows” and using those high numbers to get a company to give them free product so they can provide a 10% off deal to their fans on one of their posts or some type of shoutout.

These users and posts are everywhere.

This is the life of a “social media influencer” or whatever the hell they want to call it.

All one needs to do to make it today is build up a fan-base and then profit off the fact that people give enough of a shit about the image of their life and what they consume to sell the products they already use to their fans.

At some point the gravy train is going to end.

The social media bubble economy is going to burst.

The Instagram bubble economy is going to burst (and soon I hope as an Instagram user).

YouTube has cracked down on ad revenue for content providers amid a stream of controversies. Essentially, YouTube had their advertisers get upset because their ads were being shown with extremist-linked videos.

YouTube then pulled ads on content which was deemed unwholesome by use of a strict algorithm, which ended up cutting advertising on content providers that addressed taboo subjects, used foul language, etc…

Content providers on YouTube have seen a drastic decline in their ad-revenue as a result of the crackdown. People who used to make a lot of money on YouTube are now pissed. I don’t really care if it means less ads on YouTube videos though.

The YouTube bubble has already burst. It is only a matter of time before Instagram sees a similar shock.

The underlying issue however is not that there are too many people on Instagram whoring their pages out to companies, the issue is this: too much value is being placed on social media followers.

Theoretically with over 6 billion people in the world each person could amass a following of 100,000 followers, and each could monetize their account, but if more users have large followings it will devalue the benefit of large followings.

In order to sell products on your page, you’ll eventually have to have 2 million followers, then 5, then 10, and then 25 million.

The length of videos has gone from 10 seconds originally to 1 minute now. Next it will be 10 minutes. Then the accounts with millions of followers will distribute their own shows via Instagram, avoiding the networks, YouTubes, and Netflixes. Instagram could end up being a whole new media empire like television.

Of course Instagram will want their cut and put an advertisement in videos too. And so-on and so-on…

The over-valuation of social media followers is ruining the world.

Yelp reviewers are the worst of the social media lot.  They whine about their experiences like a dog yelps after it gets slapped with a cat fist full of claws, so I guess the name Yelp makes sense.

Good restaurants have had reputations tarnished over the hurt feelings of a single douchebag “Yelper” that didn’t get a free side with their entrée and just had to bitch about it to the internet.

But why does anyone give a shit about what Bob in Central Missouri thinks about the local taqueria he is visiting on his trip to Los Angeles? He ordered one thing one time at a place he’d never been to and probably didn’t even get something good.

Why should we give Bob a cookie for having dinner at a place and leaving a review and then take his word for it as if he even knows what the fuck he is talking about? We should not.

We should not reward people for leaving reviews on social media like we do in our society today.

But hey, if you think giving Bob a free appetizer because he graced your business’ presence with his Yelp account which has 500 reviews and 25 friends will bring in more business more power to you.

Businesses need to put less weight on social media reviews and stop giving free products to people because they have a lot of “followers.”

In most cases these accounts with many followers are indistinguishable from other accounts. Most are a girl doing squats and taking posed pictures in a mirror. We get it, you go to the gym. What do you do with your life that enhances the human experience though?

I can’t tell you how many of my friends only follow certain accounts because we think a woman is “hot” and because I am a man and I do the same I assume the number is at or near 100%. That doesn’t mean men are going to go buy some pre-natal vitamins because we saw them in an Instagram post.

Social media has become derivative and the bubble economy it has produced cannot sustain itself.

In many ways, I would argue that the social media economy should not sustain itself and that it has in fact harmed businesses rather than helped them by forcing them to cater too much to people who already use their products.

Sorry that I’m not sorry that I hope your bubble bursts if you are a “social media influencer,” but you’re ruining the world.

American Nonviolent Coordinating Comittee

Dear [Insert Name Here],

I, Ryan Chaichi, am writing to you on behalf of the American Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (ANCC) to seek your help in registering voters who believe in Democratic ideals before the 2020 election.

The 2016 Presidential election was decided by less than 120,000 votes in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Since the 2016 election, Republicans have cut education and research funding, passed discriminatory legislation, cut healthcare funding, and quite frankly embarrassed our country on the world stage.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. We cannot let this continue in 2020, or the 2018 midterm elections for that matter.

Democratic voters were not motivated or educated enough to vote in the swing states which lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Many people also did not know about voter registration deadlines or how or when to vote. We must inspire young voters to vote and we must teach them how to get out and vote in 2018 and 2020.

Only approximately 58% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2016 Presidential election. That means there is a lot of room to find votes for 2018 and 2020. If we do not act today to register and educate voters in key areas before the next Presidential election Democrats may be risking another loss by razor-thin margins.

In order to prevent another Republican Presidential victory in 2020, Democrats who live in areas that have an excess of Democratic voters need to invest time and resources into travelling to battleground states to educate and register voters.

The goal of the ANCC is to register enough voters in swing states to avoid handing the Republicans another Presidential victory in 2020. The ANCC will travel to register voters in swing states for the 2018 and 2020 elections in hopes that we can put more Democrats into public office. We will raise money to fund voter registration and education drives and hopefully inspire and fund others to do the same.

The ANCC’s ultimate goal is to move groups of volunteers from Democratic strongholds (Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, etc…) to areas where Democratic candidates need help in the form of educating and registering voters who believe in equal rights for all Americans. However, people cannot easily pack up and leave our homes while we struggle to make our bills and keep a roof over our heads. That’s where the ANCC comes in. We will raise money to pay for lodging and food for volunteers. If we can, we will also pay for transportation.

We need to invest resources in funding voter registration drives and educating American voters.

More importantly: we need to do it now.

The values that America will be fighting for tomorrow are being determined today. We must stand up as liberals and Democrats and return to our roots of actively fighting for equal rights through voter registration and education.

Many Americans have endured unfathomable discrimination and violence just for the right to vote. We must validate the sacrifices that those pioneers before us made and march valiantly to polling stations and vote in 2018 and 2020 with new voters beside us.

I am not asking you for money. I am asking that you invest time and resources into educating voters in your district because Democrats and liberal ideals cannot win an election on rhetoric alone. We saw how rhetoric failed firsthand in the 2016 election and we are seeing the consequences unravel as Trump squanders America’s future. We must nonviolently fight as Americans to vote in our future instead of stand on the sidelines and watching as our rights are stripped from us under Republican rule.

As the founder of the ANCC, I am going to personally demonstrate the mission of the ANCC by road-tripping across America and registering voters. As a Lyft driver my job is nearly as mobile as I am, so I will put my preaching to practice while I work my way across the nation. I will also be trying to recruit like-minded individuals to do the same.

As an individual I will do everything I can to raise money and travel on my free time to register voters and spread the message of the ANCC, but what I can do is limited because I am only a single individual. I need your help. The ANCC needs your help. America needs your help.


Ryan Chaichi
American Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Discovering the Classical Music of William Grant Still

I went for a drive this morning like I do every morning to get coffee, but this drive was different. Today’s drive changed my view on classical music forever. Today, I discovered the music of William Grant Still.

The car turns on and the radio kicks in. It’s on 89.9 All Classical Portland and I’m not really feeling the song (“Swedish Rhapsody No. 2” by Hugo Alfven). I’ve never heard of the composer. Nothing against him, it just isn’t my style.

Put the car in reverse and head out to the exit of my apartment complex and, surprisingly, there isn’t a wait to get out. Traffic is minimal to nonexistent. The drive is now above-average.

As I get to the coffee shop the song changes. It’s a really catchy string piece with a dark and mysterious feel to it (“Humoresque No. 6 in G” by Jean Sibelius; performed by Ilya Gringolts).

I feel like the captain of a newly christened vessel setting off to explore the new world with my feathered bicorne hat and a sabre at my side. It is optimistic but anxious, light but heavy-hitting, and when it ends it leaves you wanting more with an insanely beautiful outro. This piece ends as I am grabbing my coffee from the cashier and I begin exiting the driveway to head back towards my apartment.

When I exit the driveway and get onto the road to head home the song changes again. It pierces my eardrums and brings a smile to my face immediately. This sound that I am hearing is amazing. Who is this amazing composer?

The screen in my center console says it is “Folk Suite No. 2” by William Grant Still.

How have I never heard of William Grant Still before?

If you played me a lineup of Debussy, Dvorak, Bernstein, Gershwin, or any other composer of equal acclaim I would have told you he deserved to be considered right up there with the rest of the best of them. Yet in over ten years of listening to classical music since I first really opened up to the genre I have never heard of William Grant Still.

Who was he? What was his story?

The first thing I did when I got home was look up his piece “Folk Suite No. 2”. I was only able to find a small portion of the suite from a different recording. I could not find the full version anywhere.

I scoured the internet for every  link that was tied to “William Grant Still Folk Suite No. 2” to no avail. Finally, after searching the 89.9 All Classical website I was able to find the album that the track they played came from. It was recorded by the Oregon String Quartet with Fritz Gearhart on violin.

A Google search of Fritz Gearhart led me to a new hope of finding the musical masterpiece by Still. Gearhart’s website was selling the album with the exact Folk Suite I had been searching over an hour for. Just to make sure it was not a fluke I sent him an email. In about an hour or so he responded to let me know it was still available on the website. The album is en route to me as I type this and the link is here.

With my quest for the recording out of the way, the mystery of how I had never heard of William Grant Still remained.

Who was he? Why isn’t his music very prominently played on classical networks?

William Grant Still was Born on May 11th, 1895 in Woodville, Mississippi to two teachers, Carrie Lena Fambro and William Grant Still, Sr. His father was a music teacher, but passed away when he was only three. His mother Carrie later moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. His mother remarried a man named Charles Shepperson who took Still under his wing and inspired him by taking him to many live music performances.

After graduating high school as the valedictorian, Still went on to study medicine before deciding that his true passion was music. He would serve in World War I before recommitting to music after “the Great War” ended.

He was a champion of the Harlem Renaissance while he lived in New York during the 1920’s before moving to Los Angeles in the 1930’s.

His legacy as a musician includes being the first African-American composer to write a symphony that was performed for an American audience (“Afro-American Symphony” Symphony No. 1) as well as the first African-American to conduct a major orchestra (Los Angeles Philharmonic). In 1955 William Grant Still also became the first African-American to conduct a major all-white orchestra in the deeply segregated southern United States (New Orleans Philharmonic).

Upon further digging, I came across a piece written on the University of Southern California News website in which they spoke to Still’s daughter. An excerpt is included below:

At the time of his death, interest in his work had dwindled to such a degree that not a single viable recording of his compositions existed and only a handful of performances of his music, including radio broadcasts, were being given on average each year.

In 1980, determined to resurrect her father’s legacy, his daughter founded William Grant Still Music, now based in Flagstaff, Ariz., where she now lives.

“This is going to be easy,” she thought at the start. “But I’d write to conductors and they wouldn’t answer, or I’d write to record companies and they’d tell me black classical music doesn’t sell.”

Reading this broke my heart.

As soon as I finished researching who William Grant Still was I realized why I had never heard of him. He was an African-American classical composer trying to make his way in a country and time that didn’t want to see African-Americans succeed.

How many classical composers have had to give up on their talent because they could not make money playing or have their own music played just because of the color of their skin? How many composers better than Beethoven or Mozart may there have been if we didn’t have a stupid stigma tied to the pigment we are born with? How many great composers’ works do we never hear simply because nobody has fought for them to continue to be heard?

We may learn and talk about the history of segregation in the United States of America, but it goes so much deeper than one can fathom when we speak about the most obvious examples in schools and the media. I guess I should have known that racism has held back the careers of thousands, if not millions, of musicians. However, hearing a piece of music so beautiful and realizing that the main reason you’ve probably never heard it before is due to racism is sobering to say the least.

William Grant Still was an American hero, and his legacy and music should not be forgotten.


Please enjoy some of his tracks that I have linked below and share them so his legacy might live on a bit stronger.






Horne, Aaron. Woodwind Music of Black Composers. Greenwood Press – New York, 1990.

Bell, Susan. “Still standing after all these years.” USC News, USC, January 11, 2013.

How to Build Credit

Bad credit stands out like a Scarlet Letter super-glued to your forehead. If you have bad credit or none at all you can’t easily get a car, an apartment, a house loan, or even sign up for many basic utilities without a deposit. It’s okay though, because unlike changing the minds of Puritans, building and even fixing credit can be much easier than it seems.

One of the big myths about credit is that you need to be rich to have good credit. As someone in their 20’s with no great fortune, I can assure you that notion is poppycock. You can build credit even if you are only making even a few hundred dollars a month if you manage your finances well.

The first step to establishing credit is to open a bank account. I have met plenty of people who prefer to hold cash they earn or cash their checks for a fee rather than put their money in a bank account. It is not a good idea to hold onto all your money as cash. I’m not saying your pet will decide to rip your money into confetti or that you’ll be robbed, but it could happen if you leave it lying around and nobody will replace your torn up bills.

I have had bank accounts with a few major banks and a couple different credit unions. Locally owned credit unions should be your first choice. They care more about their customers which is reflected in their services by offering better interest rates and lower deposit requirements than larger institutions. Credit unions also reinvest into the communities they serve through providing jobs to your neighbors and sponsoring local community programs and events. If you’re nice when you call customer service, they might even reverse some overdraft fees. I’ve had quite a bit of luck with fee reversals at credit unions over the years, but never with large national banks.

If you open an account with a large national bank make sure you do your homework to find the bank with the lowest fees, deposit requirements, etc. Most accounts require you to hold a minimum dollar amount to avoid being charged a monthly service fee. The service fee can be a ridiculous amount if you hold a small amount of money in the account. For example, Bank of America had a $12 monthly service fee to hold less than $500 in an account, but would waive the fee if I had direct deposit. Since I didn’t have direct deposit available from my employer and didn’t hold over $500 in the account I promptly closed that account. Considering they are holding onto your money and investing it to make a profit on top of charging you to keep your money there, the major national banks are a bit unscrupulous.

Once you have set up your account, you should look into setting up a low-limit credit card through your credit union or bank. If you can’t get a credit card through your banking institution, there are plenty of other options to choose from and Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman can tell you so themselves if you watch TV long enough.

For those with low or no credit, I would suggest getting a credit card through a store you enjoy shopping at. Stores that have credit cards often have promotional offers and will sometimes offer you a one-time discount off your entire purchase to sign up. These stores tend to have more lax rules regarding credit approval. I won’t argue that easy credit a good thing, but if you’re aiming to build credit it can be a great option for you to start building credit.

They will run your credit initially to approve or deny you for the card. The most important factor however is usually income. Don’t apply for a $500 limit credit card if you only make $600 a month. Aim for somewhere around 15-20% of your monthly income. The higher the card limit you apply for, the higher the chance you have to be declined. It is not the end of the world if you are declined, but it can look bad to other creditors if you then apply for another card at another institution immediately after.

The key to using credit cards to build credit is to be responsible with them. Always pay on time; do not keep your card near the maximum limit; be mindful of how much interest you pay on your credit purchases. If you don’t pay your balances off or only make the minimum payments the interest will add up quickly. Credit companies will also pile on fees if you are late though, and can lower your credit limit or cancel cards if you fail to pay in a timely manner consistently.

The periods of time where my credit has been the best have been the periods where I had all of my credit cards paid off and held a zero balance on them. Within the course of a month, I have seen my credit increase over 100 points simply due to paying off my credit cards.

Beyond opening a bank account and maintaining credit lines, one last thing that helped me build my credit has been my car. I understand it is not feasible for everyone to buy or lease their own car, but car loans are an incredible way to build your credit.

My first car was a lease through Subaru. They were running a promotional offer on a 2014 Impreza and with tax my payment was only $184 each month. I was approved to lease the car without credit or a co-signer and only proof of income to show the dealership. When I wanted to upgrade to a Legacy a year and a half later I did not have good credit, but since I had faithfully made all my lease payments on time they approved me for a new Legacy based on payment history and proof of income.

I could write a whole blog post on how to choose which car to get or whether to lease or buy, but that’s going to have to wait for another day. With the information I have given you though, you have most of the information I struggled to learn first-hand in the last couple years. I am missing plenty of other good advice so don’t take my advice as the end-all be-all answer on how to build or fix credit, but use this information to build a foundation for your financial future if you haven’t already begun to do so.

Peaceful Protests & Voter Registration, Please

On January 16th, 2017, America celebrated Martin Luther King Day. A day in remembrance of a Civil Rights icon who stood up in the face of everything thrown at him to resist peacfully and change the system in any way he could. A day in remembrance of the struggle Dr. King gave his life for. He believed in the future of this country. He had a dream that we could all live side-by-side with equal rights and protections as Americans. Dr. King endured opposition that today’s protestors will never know in comparison to what the Civil Rights Movement endured, and yet today’s protestors feel a need to act out in violence to change the system.

On January 20th, 2017, we watched Donald J. Trump get sworn into office and protesters turn violent in Washington DC. I agree Trump is not qualified to be the President, but the Civil Rights Movement built itself on the backs of peaceful resistance. Breaking windows of a Starbucks that isn’t the neighborhood one you visit isn’t going to solve anything. You wouldn’t do that to the Starbucks you go to down the street from your house or the bank you cash your checks at in your neighborhood. Your outrage doesn’t make it okay to destroy others’ property or harm people who think differently from you.

Hell, most of the people affected by the damage done during protests are the minimum wage workers that oppose Trump also and are just doing their jobs while you break the window panes of their workplaces in the deepest depths of winter, ushering in freezing winds and scaring innocent people. I find it incredibly distressing that this concept of nonviolent protests needs to be explained to my fellow liberals.

If you claim it is only a few individuals causing violence but you’re standing there witnessing it in person and not speaking out, you are complicit. To any liberals who are passively watching the damage unphased or reveling in joy: it is your duty as a liberal to stand up against violent protests to prevent these acts from damaging your own interests in future elections.

I believe in the future of this country and everything Dr. King stood for. That is why it upsets me that protesters these days have turned to violent means to express their opinions. I think Dr. Martin Luther King would be ashamed at how these protests have turned towards violence instead of using the example he gave us and his life for.

I also believe Dr. King would not only be voicing his opinions but trying to register as many people to vote as he possibly could that agreed with what he was protesting for. He relied heavily on organizations to help him that focused on peaceful resistance and registering voters, with one of the most important being the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee  (SNCC). The SNCC was created in 1960 by Ella Baker with an $800 grant from the Southern Christian Leadership Committee (SCLC) which Dr. King was the first President of.

Dr. King was willing to put himself in harm’s way to deliver a peaceful message to all he could deliver it to, but other groups like the SNCC were crucial to increasing voter turnout and changing the political landscape of the country. The SNCC was responsible for many protests, “Freedom Rides”, and sit-ins. Although they eventually fizzled out of existence by 1970 due to internal struggles, their work was essential to both the Civil Rights and Voting Acts in the 1960’s. They were a driving force behind the Freedom Summer of 1964 and due to organizations like them voter registration increased from below 10% among the black community to over 50% within only a few years in some areas. Naturally, this had a huge impact on elections as communities began to realize the power of their votes after they gained the right to vote.

Protesting is wonderful, but protesting without registering new voters and observing nonviolent strategies in the crucial places lost the 2016 election for Democrats. Occupy Wall Street created the beginning of the recent liberal protests, but they effectively did nothing in the long haul policy-wise. Protesting violently will also do nothing to progress liberal policies, and will only incite more rage in Conservatives and get them to turn up to vote in larger numbers in the future.

In comparison, the Tea Party movement is the root of what gave Donald Trump the ability to win. It grew out of opposition to Democrats and Obama whether it was justified or not. The voters who won the election for Trump in the swing states that went against all the pundits’ predictions are a direct result of the Tea Party movement which grew inside the Republican party. They went out and they got their neighbors to vote, they marched on Washington, they did everything right, and even though I don’t agree with them I admire the tenacity they showed in changing the Republican party from within. The Democrats need to use the Tea Party as a case study without the divisive and sometimes racist elements that came with it.

If Democrats don’t take their surplus of voters in their strongholds like the West Coast and invest serious resources in registering voters in battleground states before the 2020 election then liberals are handing another four years to the Republican party.

We need to fund voter registration drives. We need to increase voter registration in the Democratic strongholds of the midwest like Kansas City that get drowned out by the number of conservatives in their states that are registered to vote. We need to pay to relocate people from cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and New York to move to battleground states and work full time registering voters in places like Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

We need Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren doing voter registration drives in battleground states right now. We need to successfully win an election based on how the election actually works and not the popular vote. We need our Democratic members of Congress and the Senate to spend less time fundraising and more time on when, where, how, and why it is so important if we want to change this country.

We saw the amount of popularity Bernie Sanders gained in only one year of campaigning, imagine if he focused his energy right now on helping with the 2018 and 2020 elections. Only half the eligible voters in this country voted in 2016. We have tons of ground to register more liberal voters and flip swing states in 2-4 years. It isn’t that difficult if we educate people on how to vote and get larger numbers of liberal people to actually show up at the polls in the 2018 midterms and 2020 general election.

Many of the things Dr. King dreamed of are a reality today because of the way he fought for the Civil Rights of all people in this country, and people fighting for civil rights and against oppression today have lost sight of the way he accomplished his dreams even after his death. He built a message and convinced voters who were only white to support his ideas in large enough numbers to change the status quo. We need to do the same thing today in the areas that barely won Donald Trump the 2016 election. It is no secret that a vast majority of white voters voted for Trump, and we need to adapt to that reality and take our message to them so that their opinions might change even just a little.

What do we have to lose as liberals? We don’t have control of any of the branches of the government right now, and it will only get worse if we don’t do something about it sooner rather than later.