Like many other folk, I found myself reeling at the results of the presidential election. I had difficulty understanding why anyone would vote for Donald Trump. I was (and am) afraid of what the future might bring. I posted a statement on Facebook - "I wonder whether this is a country in can live in." By that I meant that I was considering emigrating somewhere. I did play some of those scenarios out and indeed, depending on what happens with medical insurance, I may have to. Since last Wednesday I've thought differently... it most definitely is not a country in which I want to live, so I am committing myself to work harder to make it the country in which I do want to live. OK, now what? What do we do?
None of these thoughts are original. I've listened a lot to Van Jones recently. Some of what he has said is reflected here. I also found an article by Masha Gessen on how to live under an autocratic ruler that I found extremely helpful.
There is a phrase that's going around (from Salena Zito?) in a number of slightly different variations, "Trump's supporters take him seriously but not literally while his detractors take him literally but not seriously." I will take him seriously now and I will continue to take him literally. Gessen's first rule is to believe what the autocrat says. When Trump says he wants to make Muslims register, believe him. When Trump says he will repeal the ACA, believe him. When he says he wants to deport 11 million people, believe him. When he says that women who have abortions should be prosecuted, believe him. Now it is possible that he didn't mean what he said in at least a few instances but I would rather be prepared for the worst than be surprised when he follows up. It is possible that even the Republicans will stand against some of his excesses (although I doubt that) and he won't be able to accomplish some of his plans. Be vigilant and be ready.
Be aware of what he actually said but also how he has followed up in action. He spoke out against racists (rather softly) but then turned around and hired Steve Bannon.
Watch those behind the scenes. Trump does not seem to have any real ideology. Those behind him do.
Work to build relationships and community so we can stand against the damages his administrations wants to do. Be a part of a religious body that takes seriously the calls of faith. If you can't do religion, get together with a bunch of other people regularly an build something that is working towards being the Blessed Community. You can't change the world alone but together...
And be persistent. Wilburforce took 13 years to get his anti-slavery bill passed. As Hillary quoted in her concession speech, "So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9, NRSV)
Listen to those who voted for Trump and keep the truth in front of them. I truly believe we have a lot in common. I was not happy with the direction of the nation either and felt disappointed that Obama did not push more aggressively. I think we have at least some common goals. Let's find them and hold them up. Then, remind them when Trump fails to meet their expectations, as he will, and continue to point out the evils there. Most importantly, build relationships across lines.
Be outraged. It is tempting to look for ways to find the good in Trump. There may indeed be some areas where he does some good things. Do not allow that to dim your vision. See what is outrageous and call it out.
In two years we have the midterm elections. Throw the Republicans out. OK, I know it isn't that simple but those of us standing against the goals of this administration must organize and work to turn things around. A Democratic House and Senate would make things soooooo much easier. More Democratic legislatures and executives at the state level would make standing for what is right and good so much easier. Let us put everything we can into making that happen.
Work hard on the issues that are critical. We must stand with our Muslim friends. If they do try to register Muslims, be registered as a Muslim. I commit to do so. Work with Democratic legislators to guard the SCOTUS. Work to do all we can to meet the challenges of climate change.
Work to provide a safe place for those communities most threatened by this political change.
Finally, remember that time is on our side. The arc of history is long but it always bends towards justice. The fears that motivated the alt-right in this election are based in reality. The nation is becoming more diverse in every way. That cannot be stopped. Millenials didn't show up nearly as much as they needed to, but the election map of those under 25 is almost completely blue. Yes, the map that went around immediately following the election was not accurate and reflected polling from a few weeks before the election but the real one still looks like this