I never thought I would say the words, “Donald Trump is president.” But on Tuesday, November 8th we elected a senseless, narrow-minded, lying criminal to run our nation. While we all viewed his campaign as a joke, his looming presidency is anything but. The era of Trump is not funny. It is not amusing. It is terrifying.
But there is a silver lining – the 2016 election has awakened us. It has shown us the value of voting. It has exposed the racism that still poisons an overwhelming majority of Americans. It has unified a segment of Americans that truly believe in equality and love.
And it has revealed, at the very core of it all, that we have a lot of work to do.
We can’t change who was elected, but we do have a say in how we spend these next four years. We can sit back and watch Trump dismantle the progress we have made as a nation, or we can fight together to continue advancing and to create a better country, despite its leader.
I, for one, am choosing the latter.
Although a woman, and therefore considered a target by the Trump administration, I am lucky compared to most due to my skin color, gender identity, sexual identity, and background. In the grand scheme of things, I am fortunate to only have to worry about my lack of access to affordable healthcare, safe abortions, and free birth control, as well as the growth of an already budding rape culture.
There are people in this country who wake up wondering if they or their loved ones will be deported. There are people in this country who lay in bed at night wondering if their basic human rights will be taken away. There are people in this country whose minds are racing, wondering if their child, brother, sister, mother, father, or friend will be murdered by a hate-driven American, or even a cop.
As a white American woman, it is my responsibility to recognize my privilege.
It is my responsibility to be an ally. It is my responsibility to fight, and fight hard, to make this country just as safe for immigrants, minorities, and LGBTQ as it is for me. It is my responsibility to fight for our land – to keep it protected from pipelines, climate deniers, and big corporations with poor and money-fueled intentions.
It’s true, this is a history altering event. But let’s not give Trump the power. Let’s create our own history.
When our children’s children and our children’s children’s children reach the chapter on the Trump administration in their history books, let’s make sure they don’t only learn about his detrimental policies, ignorant views, and lack of experience. I want them to learn about how we fought, how we banned together, and how we stood up for all that is right and just. I want future generations to not see Trump’s victory as hate prevailing; I want them to read about how love trumped hate, and how humankind stepped up to the plate despite the odds placed against us. I want them to know the good fought the bad and even more so, how the good won.
So how do we win?
Because we aren’t exactly sure what will happen after Trump takes his oath in January, the best way to help right now is through monetary donations. This will prepare organizations for what is to come and give them a nice “nest egg” for when shit starts hitting the fan. I realize this can be hard for those who aren’t rolling in the dough, but I assure you, even $1 or $5 makes a difference.
Call or email organizations about volunteer opportunities. Many organizations have received an overwhelming response since the election, so don’t be discouraged if there isn’t anything for you to do yet.
If you witness someone saying hurtful, discriminatory things – whether online or in person – say something. Trump’s path to presidency was paved by our passiveness. We, as white people, let other white people be racist, sexist, etc. because we don’t take it seriously or they are our “friends.” We have been quiet and acquiescent long enough (too long). We need to prove we care and stand up for what is right, even if it means burning bridges along the way.
Lend support, whether in the form of a donation, a Tweet, or a hug. We dismiss social media as slacktivism – and it is, in many cases. However, it is a vital tool for generating awareness of valuable organizations focused on aiding immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ, women, and our environment. Show love to your friends, heck, even strangers, who are scared. Compassion is more important than ever. Lastly, show your support by not leaving the country. Many Americans don’t have that privilege and by deserting those in a time of need is a jerk move.
Call your state legislators.
I know, it sort of sounds like a pain in the ass to pick up the phone and talk to some old white dudes about the state of our nation, especially if you live in a red state like I do. However, government insiders say calling is the number one way to have your voice heard. Letters and emails often fall into a blackhole, where a phone call forces your legislator to listen to you. Find your legislator and their phone number here. Now, you’re probably wondering – what do I SAY?! A friend of a friend posted this extremely helpful prompt, that you can tweak to your needs:
Hi, I’m [name], a citizen who lives in [town/state]. I am calling to ask what [government official] is doing to keep Stephen Bannon from serving in President-Elect Trump’s cabinet. Bannon has stated on his own accord that he does not believe in rights for all Americans. I want to know if the [GOP, individual, etc.] is taking action to prevent this appointment, as Bannon’s views are unpatriotic and I hope not representative of [your/your party’s] platform.
There are tons of organizations that are worthy of your support, whether in time or money. Here is a great list of pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-earth, and anti-bigotry organizations compiled by Jezebel. I would also like to add Protect Our Winters (POW), which is a growing force in climate justice.
Have something to add? Please do! I would love to hear of more ways to help, personally.