We are living in troubled times. And that, my friends, is the understatement of the year.
If you don’t want to read about my political point-of-view, or you don’t want to know that I am not a supporter of the current regime, then you are welcome to click out of here.
I will not attempt to distill the rapidly changing political climate into a coherent synopsis. Rapid, destabilizing change is designed to disorient us, to confuse us, and to keep us with our mouths agape in the hope that we do not act. But act we must.
There are others more qualified than I to explain why this time in our nation’s history is unprecedented. Suffice it to say authoritarian tactics used by bullies to threaten and intimidate a populace are not the hallmarks of democracy.
What I will tell you is this: Silence is compliance.
If you are paralyzed by fear and overwhelm, I understand. As I write this, it feels like my heart is going to leap out my throat. But, if you do nothing, you are complicit.
By doing nothing, you help to further the misogynistic, racist, homophobic, fascist agenda of a megalomaniac and his henchmen (and woman).
Here are a few other things I know, that I want to share with you. These are the promises I am making to my friends, family, community—to the world:
- I will continue to speak out, regardless of the possible risk in doing so.
- I will comfort and aid anyone who is oppressed and in need.
- I will share whatever resources I have when I can and where they are needed.
- I will listen more than speak; I will hold space for marginalized voices.
- I will not capitulate.
- I will reach out to the Muslim community and offer my aid and support.
- I will resist authoritarianism and breaches of our Constitution.
- I will ask how I can help—not assume that I know what’s needed.
- I will take care of myself, first and foremost, to remain a healthy activist.
I refuse to be silent or silenced. I am not afraid to risk my life for the freedom and equality of all. I have drawn my line in the sand.
The run-up to the election may have been a Democrat vs. Republican battle, but this current presidency is no longer about party division (believe me when I say I have concerns about both parties). This reality is much more than party politics. Tr*mp is threatening human rights, the Constitution, healthcare, freedom of speech, and the press. If you are not frightened, you are not paying attention.
So, what can you do?
Here’s my recommendation: pick one or two causes—women’s rights and healthcare, for instance, and work on those issues. All the issues swirling around in this political climate are interconnected, but for you to stay sane and effective, you must choose what you can work on. Otherwise, you will remain in the land of overwhelm.
If you haven’t donated to the ACLU, start there (I’ve donated twice since December). Planned Parenthood needs your support—this isn’t about abortion—97% of their services are healthcare and family planning. Even Republican women are at risk for cervical cancer and other reproductive health problems. The Trevor Project, a national 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth, and the International Rescue Committee needs you, too. Check out 5 Calls to turn your passive participation into active resistance.
If you are an activist, a person of color, a member of the LGBTQIA family, or anyone concerned about online safety (everyone should be concerned), I highly recommend downloading and browsing with Tor. But don’t stop there. When you get to the Tor site, they will suggest best practices—you may have to change your browsing habits.
Also, download and use Signal or WhatsApp for safer, encrypted texting (nota bene: I was informed, after publishing this, that iMessage is secure, but NOT standard SMS texting). Sign up for The Privacy Paradox, a week of challenges to tighten your digital privacy starting Feb. 6 from the good folks at the Note to Self podcast.
Support independent, investigative journalism. Mother Jones, The Nation, Robert Reich (economist, not journalist, but he’s an essential voice right now), Politico, Slate, all offer intelligent, reasoned assessments and practical ideas for the resistance.
Below are some articles that may help you understand what we are dealing with:
- Trump Has Created a Constitutional Crisis
- How to Process the Tide of Trump News
- Robert Reich: Twelve Ways to Resist the Trump Presidency
- How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind: Self-Care Lessons for the Resistance
- A simple guide to how you can throw sand in the Trump administration’s gears
As a parting thought: Remember, there will come a time that we will be post-Tr*mp.
Be kind to one another, take care of yourself, and look for ways to help those in need—I’ll be out there doing the same thing.
CC Image via Unsplash