I know that we’re all freaking out about this election thing. And I feel safe in suggesting that most of us feel this way because Clinton won the popular vote by a healthy amount and basically every metropolitan area was blue, even in the reddest of states. (I’m looking at you, San Antonio. Good for you.)
But panic is not helpful. So please, take a moment, breathe through your trauma, and repeat after me: the world is not over.
Let’s all remember that Trump, despite the various truly batshit things he said during the course of the election, also made it clear that he’s planning to outsource as much of the actual work of being president that he can.
Probably that means we’ve effectively elected Mike Pence to the presidency. *shudder*
And don’t get me wrong, Pence is a terrible person in his own way (funerals for abortions?! “smoking doesn’t really cause cancer”?? WHAT ARE YOU DOING MIKE PENCE?!) but he’s a sane terrible person. Which means we aren’t likely looking at imminent nuclear missile deployment because the President of France neglected to give Trump a gold plated cup at dinner one night.
This is probably going to be a terrible, awful presidency. But not, probably, catastrophic for the entire future of the world.
Can we all just pause and ponder the fact that we’re in place right now where the lack of the end of all civilization is a relief? And not even a certain outcome?
Ok. Breathe. Are we all feeling less devastated? It’s been almost a week, the panic should be abating somewhat. You’ve all probably done some version of that talking myself down thing I just did.
NOW. Let’s talk about how we can all survive the next four years.
If you are a white Christian man in this country, probably you’re fine. Congratulations, you are still the only demographic that really matters. If you have empathy for the rest of us or if you are not a white Christian male, consider taking action to support others.
Pick an area of concern, and do something. Do any one thing. You don’t even have to do much. If we all do a little bit, the overall situation will improve dramatically.
General steps for ALL areas of concern.
- Call and write your elected representatives at EVERY LEVEL (do you remember that disaster of an abortion law in Texas? That’s why state level elections matter) and tell them that you are not ok with any vote that you don’t agree with. This includes votes for supreme court justices.
- Actively fight bullies where you see them. If you’re on Twitter…they’re there. Slightly harder: push back against your nutty aunt when she posts ridiculous nonsense on Facebook.
- VOTE. VOTE IN THE MIDTERMS. VOTE FOR LOCAL AND STATEWIDE OFFICIALS. We spend 1.5 years thinking about presidential elections and then ignore the stuff that is actually destroying lives in our communities. It’s like spending the entire football game covering the receivers. Yes, that’s important, but that’s not enough to win the game. STAY ANGRY. STAY UPSET. VOTE.
- Donate to Planned Parenthood or other reproductive health organizations. A group that does good work in Texas and came to national attention during that abortion law period is the Lilith Fund, which helps fund abortions for poor women.
- Buy Plan B, and donate it to groups that will give it to women in need. I foresee a lack of Plan B in the future.
- Sign up to be an escort at your local abortion provider.
Black Lives Matter/Police Accountability:
(Note: this should go without saying, but we need the police and we need them to work effectively. This isn’t a call to destroy the police.)
- Join a BLM local group.
- Participate in a local BLM protest.
- Go to Campaign Zero, pick an area that has interest to you and do something on their proposed solutions list. Remember when this started and everyone was wringing their hands and saying, “But what can we DO?”–this is it.
LGBT and Gender Identity:
- Contact ALL your elected officials. If you live in a state that’s considering a “religious freedom” law that is intended to give license to bigotry and oppression, go hard on this step.
- Join an organization that works for LGBT rights. Consider volunteering with or donating to The Trevor Project, or the LGBT Initiative.
- Look for local LGBT groups and events and participate with them. Local organizations are often the front lines in LGBT causes.
- Donate to or volunteer with an organization that works to support paths to citizenship. This lawyer has a good list of organizations that work with/for immigrants.
- Volunteer to help teach English as a second language. Language barriers are a major issue for newcomers to this country.
- Help immigrants apply for citizenship. Think about the last time you had to work with the government, think about the pile of paperwork and nonsense it involved. Now imagine doing that without legal status or a fluent grasp on the language on the forms. *shudder* This list includes people that help with citizenship in various states. Googling for organizations in your state may give you a more targeted list.
- Volunteer at your local school district to work with the children of recent immigrants. These children often lack the same kind of educational support as children of native-born Americans.
- The list from step 1 of the immigration section is also good for refugees. I would like to put a special word of support in for the work done by HIAS.
- Volunteer to help with refugees that recently arrived in this country.
- Another list of organizations that work to help refugees.
- Volunteer to help teach English as a second language.
- Volunteer in your local school district to help refugee children assimilate and adjust to life in your community.
(A word of warning: Not all organizations that tout “religious freedom” as their goal are actually trying to do so. Many are trying to promote an explicitly Christian agenda in the laws at the expense of the rights of those of other beliefs.)
- The Council on American-Islam Relations has a section of their website dedicated to local groups that work to support local Islamic communities. They also have a link to other organizations that work to prevent violence against Muslims.
- The Anti-Defamation League was started to prevent antisemitism and has now grown to fight against hate of all kinds. You can donate to them or report a hate incident.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center documents and tracks hate groups across the country and works to fight these group. They take donations and arrange for action at local colleges and universities.
- The ACLU is always happy to take donations and they do good work to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans.
- Consider contacting a local synagogue or mosque in your area and ask how you can help. Everywhere I have ever lived, we have had police protection at our synagogue during religious holidays and have given explicit instructions to the congregation and the children specifically about what to do if there is an attack on the synagogue during services. This is what life is like when you’re not a Christian in this country. I can’t speak for the Muslim experience but I can’t imagine that they are less security conscious than we are in the Jewish community.
Other lists of good organizations to support or volunteer with:
Stay strong. Take care of yourselves. I know it’s bad, but remember to practice basic self-care: Go drink a glass of water. Eat a real meal with actual food groups and vitamins. Walk around the block in the sunlight. Get some sleep. You would be AMAZED what those four things can do for your mental state.