“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” -Abraham Lincoln
I am a middle class white woman. Both of my parents have Masters’ degrees. I am incredibly privileged. Because of my privilege, my own safety has never been threatened by my government.
I started writing this post on November 9th, the day after the presidential election. On Novermber 9th, I felt unsafe. I still do.
I feel unsafe because my reproductive rights are no longer protected. I feel unsafe because not only does our next president not care about sexual assault, but he himself is an actual predator.
My heart aches for the LGBTQ+ community, for POC, for women, for people living in poverty, and countless other groups of people who have been and will continue to be victimized by Donald Trump.
But I’m not writing this post to convince you that Donald Trump is a bad person. If you believe he is a decent human being, there is nothing I can say at this point to change your mind.
However, I do have a few things to say to a few different groups of people before I get to my main point.
- To those of you who did not vote (and, in particular, those of you who didn’t vote but are displeased with the results of the election): You made a decision. Having the right to vote is a beautiful thing, and you decided to let that go to waste. You wanted the rest of us to bear the burden of this election, while still expecting the outcome to be favorable. Why didn’t you vote? Whatever your reason, it isn’t good enough. However, you have a chance to make it up to this country – and you owe it to yourself and to the rest of us to do so. Become more involved. Pay attention to what’s happening around you. And for every single election to come, you’d better be first in line at the polls.
- To those of you who want everyone to stop talking about politics now that the election is over: In a way, I understand. Politics are messy, personal, and sometimes obnoxious. However, politics are so incredibly important. You might not know it, but they have an effect on your every-day life in so many ways (of course, the more privileged you are, the less likely you are to be affected on a day-to-day basis – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care). Please learn to accept how vital politics are. And for the love of God, don’t scrutinize those of us who are sharing our opinions just because you don’t feel like sharing yours.
- To those of you who voted third-party: If you voted for a third-party candidate because you truly believed in their political platform and wanted them to become President, I respect and understand that. If you voted third-party because you wanted “something new,” or because you’re sick of “the system,” or because you “don’t like Trump or Clinton,” please know that you made a mistake. Either way, I would like to underline the importance of reforming our political system when it comes to third parties. Clearly, our two-party system is not a place that will foster the success of a third party. And every four years, voters who want to see a third-party candidate in office unintentionally harm the fragile outcome of the election.
So I would challenge you, as a third-party supporter, to get involved with your party in a different way. Decide which issues mean most to you, and start campaigning for those issues – not just for the party itself. Write letters to politicians, urging them to adopt the policies you are passionate about. Join grassroots movements and spread information. And please recognize that you have every right to vote third-party for as long as you live, but as long as the system doesn’t change in relation to third-party candidates, neither with the outcome of those elections.
- To those of you who voted for Donald Trump: I would like to congratulate you – and I mean that sincerely. I can imagine it’s exciting to feel that you’ve won. I completely respect your right to your opinion. I’m glad you voted, and I’m glad you feel a sense of joy. However, I need a safe space, and you are no longer apart of that safe space. Am I sore loser? Of course. I’m heartbroken. But mostly, I feel this way because your vote for Donald Trump is a direct form of disrespect to me, and to so many other people in this country. If you do not understand why this is the case, I pray that you will start to understand – though I know, deep down, that you never will.
I understand that maybe you personally are not a racist, sexist homophobe, but you voted for one. So now you have the wonderful opportunity to prove to this country that you are not a racist, sexist homophobe. Call upon your next president to do more to stop the violence being committed in his name. Yes, he has said “stop it;” but that’s not good enough. He needs to do more, and you do too. Your silence when it comes to all of the hatred spewed is an indirect contribution to that hatred.
- To those of you who feel the need to protest the Trump victory: I am begging you to please keep it peaceful and kind. The violent protests that have broken out are not representative of our entire movement – so let’s keep it that way.
Let me be very clear: I do not support burning flags, destroying property, or violence. I do support peaceful resistance and movements based on love.
Remember: go high.
- To those of you who did not vote for Donald Trump and are feeling defeated, frustrated, and/or scared: Keep reading.
One of my first thoughts when I heard the final results of the election was, now what?
I am still searching for an answer this question – but I think it’s an important question to answer. So I reached out to some members of the progressive community and asked them what they’re doing to cope with the results of the election. I compiled my own observations along with their remarks.
What’s done is done. Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. Here’s what to do next:
- Familiarize yourself with who else won the election, particularly in your state. In addition to electing a new President, many states also elected new Congressmen and Governors. Read about who your state elected here.
- Write Hillary a letter. I did not vote for Hillary Clinton because she was the lesser of two evils; I voted for her because she deserved to be president. If you feel the same way, tell her that.
- Donate to Planned Parenthood. If you believe in women’s health, you should believe in Planned Parenthood. There’s a $5 minimum for donations – but even $5 will help. Donate here.
- Subscribe to a newspaper. I plan on subscribing to The New York Times; The Guardian, Washington Post, and even the Wall Street Journal are good options too. Remember that we’re going to need the freedom of press to remain free – now more than ever. My family also gives to NPR, which is something I also plan on doing as soon as I’m not a poor student living abroad. P.S. if you’re a student, you can most likely get a reduced rate to the majority of major news sources – and you can get a digital subscription, so you don’t have to have the newspaper dropped on your doorstep every morning.
- Contact your politicians. Tell them what you think. Are they doing something that’s making you angry? Are they doing a good job representing you and your values? Are they doing enough? Let them know. If you don’t feel that your opinion matters to them, remember that they are literally representing you for a living.
- Volunteer your time. If you don’t have money to give to organizations, giving your time is just as important. Here is a list of a bunch of organizations that are pro-choice, pro-immigrant, pro-Earth, and anti-bigotry; they could really use your help right now. Some additional suggestions:
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network): You can become involved in a number of ways, including fundraising and volunteering for their crisis hotline.
- HRC (Human Rights Campaign): It appears that HRC mostly needs financial support, but there are local chapters that can be visited. You can also see their website for more info. Plus, students can become official members for a discounted rate.
- NAF (National Abortion Federation): NAF has lots of resources and ways to get involved in the pro-choice community.
- Bold Progressive’s Progressive Change Campaign Committee: Ready to fight back? Start here.
- Also this list.
- Are you upset that the candidate with the popular vote lost the election? Sign the petition to abolish the electoral college here. Remember to do your research first.
- Consider becoming a vegetarian. Okay, I know this sounds silly, but Donald Trump is not going to be doing any favors for the environment. He’s a climate change skeptic. The way I see it, if our government isn’t going to protect the Earth, we all need to take it upon ourselves to save the planet by changing our own lifestyles (something we should’ve been doing for decades). The meat industry is very harmful to the environment. If you’re not ready to cut meat out of your diet all together, consider going meatless just one day per week.
- Stay informed. I’ve mentioned the Skimm before, but I want to reiterate that is absolutely the easiest way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the world. I’ve seen the Skimm make a real effort over the past few months to deliver unbiased information – even if they do get a bit sassy from time to time. Subscribe here.
- Remember that if you are hateful to Trump supporters, you are sinking to their level. The last thing this country needs is more hate. Spread love whenever you can.
I will continue to update this list as time goes on. If you have any more suggestions for me, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below.
God bless America.
More articles that might be worth your time (I’m not saying I agree with everything stated in these external links; I just think they’re interesting and important):