So, Donald Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. I’ll be honest. That’s not really a world I expected to ever live in. There are people who are understandably, legitimately frightened by the potential policies of the President-Elect.
I don’t want to spend too much hashing out the rights and the wrongs of that. There are a lot of reasons that Donald Trump won the election, and there are many reasons to be concerned about it. I think it’s more productive to talk about where we go now.
I know a lot of people are wondering, what can you do now that the election is over? Because there’s an intense need to do something—anything! And I feel that too. That’s why it’s handy to have a list of go-to options, a way to channel your energy into something that is both positive and productive.
Post-Election, What Does Action Mean?
There are a few concrete ways you can act now that the election is over. It’s worth pointing out that you don’t have to wait until the Trump administration is sworn in to take these actions. These are things you can do now.
But I will warn you—action does not mean posting on Facebook or Twitter. Action does not mean hashtagging. There’s a place for that, sure, and I don’t mean to diminish meaningful online conversations.
It’s just that we’re talking about ways to direct your energy. Here are a few options:
- Peaceful Protest: I know that protestors are getting a flak from conservative news media for being “sore losers” or “crybabies,” but peaceful protest plays a very important role in our society. It’s a way to let those in power know that you are unhappy, that you are unsatisfied. Protesting has always been the first step (not the only step) in getting your voice heard. Finding a protest you agree with can be a difficult first step. You just have to find an organization you believe in and engage (searching Facebook groups is also a good way to go). Obviously, and I shouldn’t have to say this, but the only effective protests are peaceful protests.
- Donate or Volunteer: As we’re seeing President-Elect Trump’s cabinet fill out, it’s a safe bet that those most impacted by his presidency will likely be Muslims, African-Americans, immigrants, and people of color and other minorities (including members of the LGBT community). There are many groups and organizations that work tirelessly to support those communities, and you can help by either donating your time or money. Because there are so many non-profits and charities to look through, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, someone has helped. Start here, with this list.
- Support Newspapers: If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you know that fake news stories on Facebook are having a critical impact on our elections—and on the opinions of everyday Americans. One way to mitigate the impact of fake news is to support real news. In today’s world, that means doing all you can to support newspapers. Most news stories these days still originate with newspapers (John Oliver did a whole piece on this not that long ago). Supporting newspapers by subscribing (either online or to a print edition) can help ensure that you get real news. Find a newspaper you believe in, you can support, and then, well, put your money where your mouth is.
There are roughly 60 million people in the United States that voted for Donald Trump—and most of them are likely happy that he won. No one is disputing that win, nor is anyone really expecting that he won’t be sworn in on January 20, 2017.
There’s an understandable call for unity. But the work of unifying the country starts at the top—that’s really the job of President-Elect Trump. Right now his policies are murky and his administration is nebulous. Part of that is simply due to the challenges of transition.
But it’s not as though President-Elect Trump was ever very clear with his policy proposals. In some ways, that policy vacuum contributes to the fear—we can imagine whatever nightmares taking place (and Trump’s surrogates are only too happy to help in that regard).
Action and Unity
What I’m getting at is this: you don’t have to let a call for unity be a call for silence. Your voice matters, and you should use it in whatever way you can. This isn’t about losing an election, it’s about making sure your community knows that the voices of our Muslim brothers and sisters matter, that the voices of our African-American brothers and sisters matter, that the voices of our LGBT brothers and sisters matter—you get the idea.
That may be one of the most important things we can do, on a personal level, post election: Listen. Whether you agree with someone or not, whether you find their fears justified, whether you find their views abhorrent: take some time to listen.
So if you’re reeling from this election like I am, there are a few things you can do to take action. This article, admittedly, ended up a little more philosophical than I was intending. I wanted a much more practical guide.
And in some ways, there is practical information in here. And you should do something. We should all go out and do something. For a long time, I felt like what I did was enough, that the world had a kind of natural momentum that would carry us all along to more inclusive and diverse future.
I don’t know that I believe that anymore. Right now, I’ve committed myself to action. And if you’re upset about what might happen over the next four years, I suggest you do the same. Act today.
Disclaimer: These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of TheDiggz.com.