Oh, hello there, traveller! No, no, I wasn’t crying. I’m an old non-being celestial wizard and I love chopping onions. Yes, I heard about the election. Yes, I am as distraught as you. I’m as terrified as you are. At a minimum, the system laid out by DT in his first 100 days is designed to deport millions of immigrants and build a literal brick-and-mortar wall (among many, many other scary things). At a maximum, the Donald has threatened to employ nuclear weapons as a method of foreign policy.
But let’s first exhale, take a deep breath, and examine the positive things we as citizens can do in the meantime. Because right now, until Inauguration Day, all of this is speculation.
Make politics a priority in your life.
It’s a world with no light right now, so all you can do is make your own, like these deep-sea fish. Obviously, doing this is a privileged thing—it’s difficult to engage in politics when you’re busting your hump just to scrape by and put food on the table—but privileged people can make life easy for those who can’t. Know your local politicians. Know the down-ballot. The Democratic party as we know it has failed us. One DNC staffer, a young man by the name of Zach, questioned Donna Brazile’s leadership this week, asking, “Why should we trust you as chair to lead us through this? You backed a flawed candidate and your friend [Debbie Wasserman Shultz] plotted through this to support your own gain and yourself. You are part of the problem.” We must return the party to the people.
Donate and/or become an advocate against racism, sexism, and xenophobia.
Jezebel has published a brilliant list of pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-Earth, and anti-bigotry organizations that desperately need our help and how to help them. White, and especially older, progressives must join this fight to neutralize white supremacy and be on the right side of history. That’s a gif of slime spreading on moss. I think you get the metaphor.
Stop the fact-droning and tell your story of being an American.
As the Intercept astutely explained, Democrats (and technocrats) made the mistake in thinking that if people know raw, cold, facts, they will make the right choices. Truth and fact-checking was the main weapon HRC attempted to throw at Trump. But unfortunately facts alone do not mobilize. (I’m looking right at you, Nate Silver.) Creating compelling arguments using people from real life, and understanding the struggles of the American people in a fluid narrative is not just what we needed, it’s what we want. I beg you, DNC leaders, tell the story of the current American citizen, and people will respond. Do not rely on big data to create a personality or a soul for you.
Stop saying you’re “shocked” and want to “unify.”
Shock was a legitimate response to the election on Nov. 9. By now, you should have realized that you live in a bubble. You may have nothing in common with a person suffering an opioid addiction or a factory closing in their small town (or any number of flyover state issues that drove residents to vote for Trump). Their issues are our issues. We’re all Americans. And by the way, the pundits and predictors you trusted will attempt to tell us to start “unifying.” Stand your ground and stand up for what you believe in. Unifying is a form of political complacency. We need arguments in government. We need the right to protest, protest, and protest some more. Without a diversity of voices, we are not a democracy.
Question corporate media.
People loved to hate Trump as much as they loved Trump, and it created a ratings boom for corporate media that did not focus on real (and sometimes boring) issues. We need to get Big Money out of media. And by the way, Facebook is a media company, whether it wants to be or not. This goes beyond TV stations. Question the outlets you trusted that produced stories just to appease hungry advertisers and build Trump’s endless supply of free promotion. They treated him like a joke, and now that joke is the leader of the free world. A solution: Back a publicly-funded television network. One idea is to support $200 vouchers that any citizen can donate to a non-profit media outlet of their choice. There is historical precedent for this, dating back to the American Revolution.
Take care of your fucking self.
Since Trump won, have you exercised? Have you eaten a vegetable? Called loved ones and told them you miss them? No judgment if you haven’t, but this weekend you’ve got to. We can only take care of others and live lives that prioritize political activism if we take care of ourselves. And why not? Go get that 10-minute massage or buy a fancy candle. We consumed so much garbage this year, we’ve got to celebrate that the election is at least over, even if the real work begins now. At least we won’t have to listen to any more pundits speculate—100 percent incorrectly—about the results.
Remember that Hillary won the popular vote.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote on Nov. 8. Plain and simple. To quote Michael Moore, “If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t.... The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane, 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want.” Moore is right. The majority of citizens believe in tolerance, climate change, debt-free college, gender equality, and a higher minimum wage. There’s hope in knowing and believing these things and working to change the system so every vote matters equally.