Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What should you do now? 10 things that help me.

I had a totally terrific discussion with my students today about next steps-- next steps if you are happy about the election results and if you, um, aren't.

If you're happy about the results, it's pretty simple: Don't be a bigot, and don't commit any hate crimes.  And don't support policies that will kill the planet or its inhabitants.

If you're not?  SO MUCH, guys!

1.  Get off of Facebook.  Especially the secret groups.  If liberals learn nothing else from this election, we need to know that a bunch of elitist self-talk into the vacuum of people who think EXACTLY LIKE US is not helping ANYTHING.  And might have just destroyed our damn country.  And it's most definitely poised to ruin the shit out of some contentious Thanksgiving dinners.

2.  Think beyond the safety pin.  And the online petition.  And the memes, no matter how clever they are.  Look for practical ways you can act in your own community.  Causes you can support with your money and your time. Community festivals you can attend that are put on by worthy organizations to raise money for their causes.

3.  MARCH.  Not because it will change the outcome of the election or because you simply want to shake your fists at the result.  No, no, no.  March because our collective bodies are creating space for our elected representatives to maneuver beyond crippling, conciliatory compromise.

4.  Speaking of elected representatives, CALL THEM.  Tell them Steve Bannon is not a good choice, and you demand that they speak publicly about him.  Tell them you don't support hate or  weakening of the free press or crackdowns on our rights to peaceably assemble.  Tell them the American dream is big enough for everyone.  Tell them that you care about reproductive rights and the environment and transparency of government.  Don't write letters.  Don't email.  CALL.

5.  Get back ON Facebook long enough to use it as an organizing tool.  Call out to your friends.  Make a plan to meet in your living rooms and make lists of your strengths and your resources and your connections and then use them to engage in your community and meet again to talk about your engagement and plot ways to engage some more and then go back out and come back together and repeat this cycle-- with cinnamon rolls and coffee because this is America-- until suddenly you are the change you want to see.

6.  Run for office.  Remember that all politics are local, and find out where you can serve.  Your city clerk's office website is a great place to start.

7.  Keep telling your children that love trumps hate, and show them how this happens.  Build a Little Free Library and stock it with subversive books.  Read bedtime stories about social justice.  Fill a shoebox for a little kid who needs holiday cheer.  Serve dinner at a homeless shelter.  Ask for charitable donations in lieu of birthday gifts.  Contact the school nurse or the social worker at your kids' school and ask what the need.

8.  Donate to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence's name.

9.  Read this and think about how you can teach new media literacy to the people in your life.

10. Start this amazing reading list and talk about it with your friends in #5.

What else can we do?  I really want to know.


  1. Anonymous5:35 PM

    I think these are all great suggestions, especially the get off Facebook, children's books, and call your representatives. I think we always communicate and understand better in person (and phone calls are much better than emails and letters).

    I've also been reading as much as I can about how things work in the government (since apparently I wasn't listening during that part of high school!). I've been reading about what requires a simple majority to repeal, what is eligible for a filibuster, which positions of the cabinet require Congressional approval (obviously Bannon's position doesn't), etc. This has helped my anxiety a lot.

    I saw a video recently that offered advice on what to do if you witness a racist or bigoted attack. It offered practical advice like, if it's safe to do so, stop it or film it. Go stand next to the person under attack and talk with them. When it's over, offer your support if the want to report the attack. Offer them food or water, or just listen. I'm going to talk with my children about this, so they have options if they see something happening. (I overheard one of their sports friends say something ridiculous about Hillary a few months ago, so it's not impossible, sadly.)

    Other than above, we are keeping close tabs on what is going on. We have always been active in terms of donating to charities and teaching our children to respect and appreciate others, but we have never actively protested or marched. But we're ready to do so now, as a family!

  2. I agree with all of this except the facebook one, actually. I'm sure it can be an echo chamber, but when you live in a deeply red area of a deeply red state, you can feel very powerless and alone with your deep blue feelings. But thanks to our new, local Pantsuit National group, I've connected with dozens of women in the last week who all live in my area, none of whom I'd met before, and we're all meeting Friday night to discuss how we can start making an impact locally. When you're in a neighborhood where every truck has a Trump sticker (and everyone has a truck), that group has been an empowering life saver when no one else I knew locally wanted to do anything about this election except celebrate it.

  3. Thought I'd share this list as well - my cousin's friend put this together (he also contributed to the list) and I think it's a great idea: http://torchsong.org/365-list/

    My sister worked on the campaign for Hillary for Wisconsin and I think she's still a bit devastated (her words late Tuesday night will, I will never forgive myself). We're all trying to figure out the best way to put all of this anger and frustration into action.

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