Okay. Here it is. My imperfect post about what to do–more specifically, how to resist a society of bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, religious persecution, environmental degradation, and a total erosion of civil rights–now that Trump got elected. This is in no way complete, so please add your own suggestions in the comments.
- Eat your vegetables
- Exercise multiple times per week
- Sleep 8 hours per night (or whatever amount is healthy for you)
- Meditate (or pray, journal, go to therapy, or do what gives you mental clarity)
Okay, probably half of you will see that list and think, “WTF is she talking about?,” but the rest of you, the anxious, the depressive–my kindred spirits–will think, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Give yourself permission to take care of yourself first. If that’s too hard, know that I give you permission. Take it.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the 24-hour news cycle that you forget to eat or go to bed on time. I’m guilty of scrolling through twitter and reading articles when I should be asleep.
It’s also easy to fill with panic, rage, or despair after seeing upsetting news, like that neo-Nazis are openly heiling Trump in D.C., or that Trump’s pick for attorney general was too racist become a judge in the 80s.
A lot is happening, and it’s happening fast. Yes, we all need to act. That said, our actions will do the most good if they come from the calmest, healthiest versions of ourselves. A frantic, panicking person will burn out quickly without doing much good. So, yeah, before you start getting politically involved, take care of yourself. Then, maybe in small doses of just a few minutes a day:
- Educate yourself. Follow news sources, non-profits, and key people on social media. You can’t know what actions to take if you don’t know what’s going on. Read articles from reputable sources. Sometimes non-profits focused on the issues provide more detailed information than traditional news outlets. (So far, I’ve found the New Yorker and the ACLU to be the sources I trust the most. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Mother Jones are also good, but sometimes have some articles I consider to be borderline.) I’ve also found following key people on twitter (journalists, politicians, academics, etc.) to be extremely helpful as I’m educating myself on what’s happening.
- Make phone calls. Find your senators’ contact info here and your representative’s here. (I saved this info in my phone to make it easier to access.) You can also utilize usecalltoaction.com to contact congresspersons directly through their site. A former political aide named Emily Ellsworth tweeted that calling is more effective than other forms of communication, and explained the best way to approach calling politicians. A politically active teacher in Massachusetts named Kara put together this Google sheet that she is regularly updating with calls to action. Non-profits also post calls to action.
- Donate. I am going to begin sharing info about one non-profit organization a day for thirty days, beginning today, in order to better educate myself and help others figure out where they should donate their money. Donations also make good Christmas gifts! Many non-profits also sell products that could be given as gifts, with the proceeds supporting their cause.
- Volunteer. The list of non-profits to donate to will also double as a list of places to volunteer (and triple as a list of places to find information). I currently occasionally volunteer doing environmental cleanup, but I want to find a volunteer cause that is a better fit for me, and get involved more often.
- Protest. I haven’t taken part in a protest since moving to Tampa, but I might in the future. While I agree with protesting as a movement for change, I do question whether it’s the best use of my time, especially while I’m living in a smaller city where the protests often do not make it into the news.
- Spread the word. There are different ways to do this (and plenty of arguments about how effective it is or isn’t), but I believe sharing information is important. None of us live in a vacuum, and we all influence and are influenced by the people we come into contact with daily, whether online or in-person. That is why I’m blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, and instagramming. That is also why I plan on buying a Black Lives Matter tshirt and ACLU gear.
Okay, that’s all I have right now. If you have any ideas that I haven’t listed here, please please please put them in a comment!