Where To Begin Again
Where to begin.
I have been in a self-imposed Internet silence since Tuesday, November 8th. It seemed silly, in the light of the election of Donald J. Trump as the next President Of The United States, to continue on with the usual retweets, the casual Facebook postings, even the political and activist commentary. I very much needed to stop and consider…is any of this helping? How am I helping? In what way do we move forward?
While many are rejoicing in his election win, I am among those both shocked, saddened, sickened, and enraged. I expected better of my country. I hoped for an electorate that would stand up and call out against the horrific manner in which this man ran his campaign. I hoped for information to win out over emotion, for love and hope to win out over fear. We were given the chance to vote against misogyny, fear mongering, and race baiting, but instead, 56 million voted for it, if not directly, then through indifference or ignorance.
He won. While the idea of a recount seems attractive, most agree that no change will come of it. While part of me would cheer the motto “#NotMyPresident”, such sentiment, as we witnessed after the first election of George W. Bush, may look cool on a t-shirt, but it accomplishes nothing.
Our complaint cannot be against the reality of the win. We must rally to understand the why. We must speak up and act.
I find it troublesome to hear the negativity thrust upon those protesting in the days following the election. The point of the protest is not that it will change the outcome, but to show the world, the rest of the country, and, most importantly, ourselves that this is not OK. We do not accept this as the new normal. We do not support the values of Donald J. Trump.
So, what next?
First, we do not despair. The United States did not get more racist, sexist, nationalistic, or xenophobic on November 8th. What’s always been there is just more in the open now. Donald Trump is not an outsider. He is another rich, white man who uses fear to gain power. We’ve been fighting them for years and we will continue do so.
Already, in the weeks since the election, I have seen wonderful examples of concerned citizens finding a way to help those who will face even more struggles in the next four years.
Cartoonist Alec Longstreth urged his supporters on Patreon to cancel their financial pledges to him, income he and his family don’t count on for a living, and instead direct it to the “people and organizations right now that are being threatened by the incoming changes to our government who need that money more than I do.”
I’ve witnessed white males offer their bodies as protection for those encountering hateful attacks after the election.
Subscriptions for legitimate news sources have spiked. Donations to the organizations that will help fight against the policies of Trump seem to be doing the same, including the amusing donations to Planned Parenthood in the name of Vice President Mike Pence.
Our dollars have an effect and one of the most important things we can do, if we are able, is to direct those dollars to the places that will need them. Even a regular donation of a couple of dollars goes a long way over time. The organizations in need are many. I’ll post some options at the end of this post.
If you can afford a vacation, plan your next one in one of the major cities pledging to remain a “sanctuary city” for immigrants. Your tourism dollars can be an act of defiance.
As a straight, white dude, my most important job is to shut up and listen. To those of similar status, if you want to help, that must be your first step.
Listen. Expose yourself to voices that make you uncomfortable.
Inform yourself. There were plenty of journalists who did their work admirably during the election. For nearly every complaint of “why aren’t they reporting on this”, I found multiple pieces of journalism on the subject.
Question what you are told. Do not depend on Facebook, social media, or anyone else to filter out misleading news. Check your sources, expand your pool of information and, if need be, learn a little about spotting fake news.
Let your government know you are watching, you are invested, and that you will act. Action goes beyond Tweeting your beliefs or signing on to petitions. If you really want to make an impact, send your opinion to your Congressman in a handwritten letter. I guarantee they will read it.
It’s time to do some work, people. It is OK to be sad, upset, and angry and to express those feelings. But remember, that’s just the first step. This is on us.
I do not support the values of Donald J. Trump.
These are just a few of the organizations that will need our help in the coming years:
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Planned Parenthood
- Center For Reproductive Rights
- National Network of Abortion Funds
- Trans Law Help
- The Trevor Project
- National Resources Defense Council
- International Refugee Assistance Project
- Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- Stand With Standing Rock