What We Can Do Now
For the last few days, I feel like I've been on a roller coaster I didn't ask to be on, and it only goes down. It's not a great feeling. As somebody with anxiety, I'm used to feeling panic, but it's the kind that's largely imagined. This one is not a drill. Our next president has no government experience, thinks climate change is a hoax, is endorsed by the KKK, has been accused of sexual assault, and is far from pro-choice. And our next vice-president believes in conversion therapy. Horrifying, but wait! There's more! The leader of the free world is also known for his tacky gold apartment, his weird comments about his daughter, and firing Gary Busey on reality TV. Unbelievable. Many of us are deeply concerned. But the thing about panic, I've learned, is that it feels good to do something about it. To feel useful. So when our voices and our rights are at stake, now is absolutely the time to do something about it.
But what do we do? If you're feeling scared or nervous right now, let me tell you: you can not afford to sit and do nothing. I've said this before and I'll say it again: we cannot let those with the most to lose carry the most weight. We have to do this together, because the next four years will have consequences. Whether or not we take one step or 100 steps backwards remains to be seen, but neither option is ideal. And while we cannot see everything that is ahead, we can plan ahead, be heard, and fight accordingly.
And so I say: I hear you. We must be heard.
Since the moment I woke up on Wednesday morning, I've felt mostly angry and helpless. But I have also been listening to others, especially when they say they know how to help. I want to help. And while I don't have all the answers right now, I have come up with a list that I think might be useful. It's not perfect, but what thing on the Internet is? If you're ready to help, too, here's a list with some ideas:
Familiarize Yourself With Trump's Proposed Policies:
Here's what Donald Trump said he's going to do in the first 100 days he has in office. These aren't what the pundits are saying. This isn't what Twitter is saying. This is right from the horse's mouth. Learn about what these policies might mean for the country and its people, and educate yourself on what it could mean for the future.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:
Donald Trump doesn't believe in climate change and has talked about dismantling the EPA. He's also not a fan of solar or wind energy. But climate change is real, and it's destroying our Earth. Now's the time to focus on ways you can make the environment cleaner and safer. Reduce your meat and dairy consumption. Buy EnergyStar products. Conserve heat. Conserve energy. Conserve water. Click this link for more tips, or just ask Leo DiCaprio.
If you can, donate money to the causes you care about. You hear about this one the most because it's the easiest and fastest method we have out there that is also effective. It doesn't matter how much or how little you can afford, because like literally every sad ASPCA commercial announcer says, "every bit counts." If you can't afford it, that's okay. If you're struggling right now but don't think you will be soon, wait. We have 4 years, people..try to do it sometime in that window. And if you can afford it, you should do it. Now. In monthly increments. Here's a list of charities from Racked. And consider donating food as well. There's always hungry people out there.
Time technically is free, even though people say time is money. I'm not a scientist. If you're worried about losing reproductive rights, get out there and work with Planned Parenthood or NARAL. If you want to keep LGBTQ people safe, try this one. Here's a volunteer organization that works towards racial injustice. There's also Big Brother and Big Sister---google for your local branch. Find an organization you trust or are interested in that takes volunteers in your area. Get out there and be seen.
Get Familiar with Politicians and The Voting Process
Emily's List is a site that supports pro-choice Democratic women in politics. Learn about these women. Our100.org is a pledge you can take to support women of color in leadership positions. And here's how you can learn about voter suppression and how to become a volunteer for local elections..and get people to register when 2020 rolls around.
You are not overreacting if want to plan ahead. You are not wrong or unreasonable to want to feel safe. It is tense right now. So if you're nervous about losing reproductive rights, go to your doctor and look into IUD's. PlanB has a 5-year shelf life: if you want to, buy some. I've heard some trans individuals say they are looking to get a passport now if they didn't have one, in case putting their gender on it will be harder to do in the future. I've heard some talk about people creating living wills with their same-sex partners if they don't want to get married right now. If you take medications, or hormones, or are worried about your healthcare ending, start looking into alternatives or options if that does happen. If you are worried about going backwards, or if you feel unsafe because of the way you look and would feel better if people accompany you places, or if you are just panicking and want to research and map out every scenario: you are not overreacting. All being prepared means is that you are being prepared. Preparation doesn't hurt.
Consider Paying For Your News Sources
Feeling a bit...tired of some of your news outlets? Use your wallet to show that you want professional, responsible journalism. Don't fall into the pundit cycle again. CNN was wrong. A lot of people were wrong. Many journalists were, and this is why they say they were. During the election cycle, many trusted the Washington Post, The New York Times, and NYMag to deliver the news for the last few years. If you can, think about subscribing. Either way: read and tune into the news, and if you're not sure it's correct...find multiple sources. Investigate. Question. Learn.
Listen and Speak Up
Man, do we need to listen. We need to listen to people when they say their concerns and fears. We need to let them know we're listening. And in the same respect: don't stop speaking up, either. Talk about things you are uncomfortable or upset about. We should be allowed to hold our families, friends, and government accountable when we are concerned. Don't let things get quiet. Things take a turn for the worse when people are silent. Don't be silent. And most importantly: don't let others be silenced.
Be Kind, Be Strong, Be Compassionate, Be A Fighter
Like I said, I don't have all the answers. And I think I might have missed some things. But I do know that we won't get far without each other. So going forward, be kind: give each other breaks and lean on each other. People feel unsafe right now. Protect each other. Rally together. Ask for help if you need it. Give help where you can. Be strong: wake up each morning with purpose and take criticism and learn things. Be compassionate: learn about people and their beliefs, wants, and needs. Be fighters: do not settle. Do not let speed bumps halt you. Speak loud and clear: we will create the country we want to live in.
I don't know everything we can do. But we can do this. You can do this. We can do this.