Despite Trump's relatively slow start, he's begun to assemble the alt-right dream team. Trump's main strategist will be none other than former Breitbart News executive chairman and current anti-Semite and white nationalist, Stephen Bannon. Suddenly, those seemingly overblown comparisons to Nazi Germany do not seem all that dramatic... I'm scared for myself, my family and especially for minorities, gays and lesbians, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, women... Anyone who is not a wealthy, white, Christian man is in for a rough ride. And the implications are global in scope.
So what can we do?!?! The answer to that question is still evolving but in the meantime, here are ten things you can do now:
1. Make a donation to one or more - or ALL - of these organizations - they are going to need our support. If you can swing it financially, consider making a recurring, monthly gift as steady support is crucial to any organization's ability to plan ahead. Making a gift to one of these groups is a wonderful holiday gift for a loved one this year, too, so you can potentially cross two things off your list at once:
- ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) - donate here.
- Planned Parenthood - donate here.
- NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) - donate here.
- National Immigration Law Center - donate here.
- Southern Poverty Law Center - donate here.
- Lambda Legal - donate here.
- Emily's List - donate here.
- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - donate here.
- NARAL Pro-Choice America - donate here.
- 350.org - donate here.
- NRDC - donate here.
- Earth Justice - donate here.
And I donated to my local library because libraries are an essential part of any democracy because they provide free books, magazines and internet access to educate and inform oneself no matter how much money one has. And they almost always need more support.
2. Make plans to attend the million woman march in Washington, DC on January 21st or join a march in a city near you - I expect there will be mirror marches all over the country. The march is scheduled for Saturday, January 21st, the day after Trump's inauguration. Housing in DC is already crazily scarce so hopefully you know someone who lives in or near the city.
3. Do some reading to try to get a better grasp on what the Hell just happened and why. I think that many things played a role - from FBI Director Comey's timely (illegal) announcement in late October to the mistaken polling results showing Clinton in the lead that undoubtedly led to lower turnout for her to voter suppression and intimidation on the part of Republicans to Clinton's failure to excite voters or appeal to the Bernie or Bust contingent to the rampant misogyny that plagues our society and more - but the two pieces below provide important points of view:
- Michael Moore wrote this incredibly prescient essay back in July - 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win
- Naomi Klein is a Canadian author, activist and filmmaker - It Was the Democrats Embrace of Neoliberalism that Won It For Trump
- Author Jill Filipovic wrote this brilliant, concise piece about The Men Feminists Left Behind just before the election
I just called both my Senators, my current Representative, my new House Representative, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (202) 225-3031 - press 6 to leave a message) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - no answer in DC so I called one of his district offices (502) 582-6304. I also called Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (202)-224-3542 press 1 to speak to a staffperson) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (202) 225-4965 to thank them both for denouncing Bannon and urge them to continue to speak out against bigotry, racism and misogyny. Don't forget your Governor, too. Find out how to reach your elected officials here. And remember that calls are the most effective, followed by actual letters, trailed by emails. Twitter's not a bad idea, either if you use it.
6. Since we're on the topic, it's high time to do away with the electoral college, an outdated, elitist institution which many Constitutional scholars believe to be a vestige of slavery that was designed to keep the masses from choosing someone unfit to lead (oh the irony....) Abolishing the electoral college is a tall order because it would require a Constitutional Amendment but there's no reason not to sign this petition urging Congress to do just that, as far as I can see. However, it's much more realistic to accomplish the same end by mandating that a state's electors vote for whoever wins the popular vote. Which brings me to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact - an agreement among several U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote. Once states totaling 270 electoral votes join the compact--which only requires passing state laws-- then the next presidential election will be determined by the popular vote rather than the Electoral College. Read more about this movement and add your name here.
6. Stand up against racism, sexism, bigotry, and homophobia when they rear their ugly heads. This is easier said than done because angry, hateful people are rather scary. If you feel unsafe intervening, try to get someone to join you in doing so first to make it safer. This short video offers simple, solid guidance similar to the cartoon below and is appropriate in most situations.
Some people are wearing a safety pin to signify their commitment to supporting people of color and other minorities from attacks. It's an idea that started in Europe after the UK voted to leave the EU and saw a similar spike in xenophobic violence against Muslims and other people who look "foreign."
7. Prepare to fight hard in the mid-term elections. We have a chance to elect new leaders and flip control of the Senate in just two short years but the fight will begin before 2018. That means donating early and often, volunteering, phone banking, and canvassing. I actively dislike making cold calls and knocking on doors but I don't think there's any way around this if we want to live in an America where everyone is welcome.
8. Volunteer. One of the best ways to help is by getting involved directly and it will also help you feel less frightened and alone. Pick a cause and an organization and volunteer.
9. Reach out to your friends, your family, your community - the people you trust and feel safe with. No one should be alone at a time like this.
10. Last but not least, be kinder than you think you need to be. The world - and the U.S., especially, desperately needs more kindness, compassion, respect and civility.
Hugs to you all. Also, just a heads up that I moderate all comments so nothing hateful will be published here.