Monday, 16 January 2017

On the Eve of a Trump Presidency

This week, we will find out what happens when Donald Trump becomes President of the United States. We all think we know. We all have an idea of what we believe will happen. But truthfully, for probably the first time since the very earliest days of the country, we have very little idea of what to expect from the government over the next 4 years. We have an incoming president whose main selling point during the election was that he has a complete lack of interest in diplomacy or in understanding contrasting points of view. I'm not even convinced that any of what he promised during the election was anything he strongly believed in so much as it was repeating whatever got the biggest roar from the crowd.

This particular election was so ugly, truly ugly, that I'm not surprised that people's reactions afterward are so steeped in disgust. I'm not really convinced that it would have been better in that regard if Clinton had won. It feels like people - across the political spectrum - have just been angry at everything, but very few are willing to try to actually pick apart the problems and solve them. It feels like people want to be right, at the cost of executing actual change.

So I have two challenges in 2017 for my friends and family who voted. Do you want to create a better society? Really? Or do you just want to complain about it? You, no matter how helpless you feel, can do one very small thing to enact the changes you want, no matter who you are and no matter where you fall on the spectrum. But for the sake of this exercise, I'm going to divide everyone into Trump voters and non-Trump voters.

TRUMP VOTERS - Many of you, I'm sure have felt the need to justify your vote since the election, and to trot out your credentials as a non-bigot of one sort or another. So, I'm asking you to put your money where your mouth is. I challenge you to spend at least 1 day this year volunteering for an organization in your community that serves a marginalized group that you keep telling everyone you don't mind. Easy, right? After all, you don't have anything against these people!

You don't have a problem with the gayz? Sweet. Now you can prove it to yourself and everyone else by spending a day helping out at charity that serves vulnerable LGBT youth, like The Trevor Project or the True Colors Fund .

Never had a problem with anyone who believes in god, even if they aren't the same religion as you? Excellent. Head on down to your local synagogue, mosque, Sikh or Hindu temple or any other place of worship that isn't your usual haunt and ask if you can help out their community in some way. They serve their communities in pretty much the exact same way as any Christian church would - food pantries, providing yard services to the elderly, having social days for various community members, etc. Think your town doesn't have a religious minority? Guess again - even if your exact town doesn't, a nearby one will. Get thee to a nunnery, or the equivalent in whatever religious group you're going to work with, and start helping out.

Are some of your best friends [insert racial minority here]? Well then, you won't have any problem whatsoever helping others from their community to get ahead in life. Check out The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families for ideas on how to help. Or plan a fundraiser for the Jack and Jill Foundation. Or look up what's happening locally to help racial minority groups near you. Google, people. It's so easy.

Think women are perfectly capable of handling any job a man can do? Good. Now help the next generation of women prove it to the naysayers. If you've got a talent for computers, start a Girls Who Code club in your community or volunteer with an already established one. Or mentor a girl from a disadvantaged community to help her realize a brighter future with Step Up.

You get the idea. Do it. Show everyone what a caring, inclusive, non-bigot you are.

NON-TRUMP VOTERS - You're not off the hook. Get on the phone, email, write a letter and let your Congressperson know right now that having a temper tantrum and refusing to work because the new boss is an idiot is NOT HOW SHIT GETS DONE. It's how - leftwing buzzword coming up - silos get created. If your representative has publicly stated that they:

  • are boycotting the inauguration
  • refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Trump presidency
  • aren't going to work with Republicans for the next 4 years unless they disavow their democratically elected leader
  • are unable to bring themselves to discuss anything with the incoming adminstration
  • just can't even

then you tell them that their job, the job they've been elected and are paid to do by YOU, is to suck it up and get in there and represent all the things you care about to this muppet. It's their job to ensure that Trump and his advisors are unable to ignore the problems that people like you care about. If your representative won't engage with the incoming administration, then your representative isn't able to deliver the things they promised to do for their constituents: you. So let them know that they'd better put away the duvet, take a damn shower, and get out there and work for you and for the sake of the country. It's going to be a difficult 4 years, make no mistake. But if they don't do their job, then Trump gets to enact all the terrible legislation he wants or thinks he wants without any proper opposition. Now is not the time to hide and hope it goes away. Now is the time to stand up and ensure that the spirit of the USA, the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the ridiculous optimism that has been the hallmark of American culture for so long aren't trampled to dust because of one cotton candy-headed prune and his shouty little mouth.

Don't let him do this without making it a proper fight. Don't let your representative hand over power by doing nothing.

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