Yesterday, I wrote up a starter list of ways for people concerned with human rights to begin preparing to fight for each other and against destructive policies of the impending Trump White House. This White House will have unprecedented power due to President Obama’s expansion of “extreme executive-power policies he once condemned.”
I meant to only post it here as part of a daily post challenge, but opted to email it directly to people I love first. We’ve removed ourselves from each other’s bubbles over the last few months, a fact reflected in my inability to type “friends” in my last sentence.
Are we still friends? I don’t know.
What I do know is that my goal is to help save Earth for my kids. I can’t do much to achieve that goal if I remain trapped within my bubble, even if I first retreated here to avoid the politely couched yet abundant violence outside it.
(I experienced enough inescapable violence in childhood that I exit it now, when that is possible.)
So I sent the letter to people I love, and hoped they might find some seed of inspiration for when they’ve moved past the anger phase of their “Five Stages of Trump Grief.”
Email to loved ones
You’re almost certainly shocked and alarmed right now. I’m writing to you to maybe help ease some of that by suggesting some things you can do to translate fear and frustration into change.
I’m doing this because I’ve spent the last five or six months learning to face a shock that’s likely brand new to you, and because our cozy real life and social media bubbles are shielding us from people with different opinions and insights.
Here are some suggestions:
- Buy local. Support growers and makers in your community as often as possible, thereby showing global companies that cheap goods produced by brutalization of the earth and impoverished people worldwide don’t interest you.
- Boycott companies who use prison labor, starving them of cheap labor that (1) deprives not-incarcerated workers of living wages and (2) creates demand for lots of inmates who might not otherwise serve any time.
- Help people you see struggling–because they are good, not because you are good. Donate time, money, and resources, as you’re able. Show empathy.
- Speak up against injustice–directly with those around you, and to elected representatives who must be taught that their re-election depends on actual representation.
- Speak. Create and seize opportunities for meaningful discussion, even though they’ll feel profoundly uncomfortable.
- When people tell you they’re suffering, listen. Believe them. Ask how you can help.
- Skip Facebook. Leave the echo chamber.
- If, like me, you find your ability to see and show love diminished on a particular platform, delete it. (I deleted Instagram after lashing out at friends a few days ago.)
- Read real news, such as you’ll find at http://theintercept.com and http://counterpunch.org. Also follow Michael Tracey, who gave me real news instead of what I wanted to hear, and informed me months ago that a Trump presidency was quite possibly coming.
- Read Glenn Greenwald, beginning at With Liberty and Justice for Some, John Pilger, and Naomi Klein.
- Follow Michael Graham and Michael Oman-Reagan on Twitter. They’re beginning to organize in ways that will help us all.
- March, protest, rally for peace–and with positive intention!–for peace beyond borders.
- Run for office.
- Support great candidates who run for office.
- Support public education. Charter schools starve government funding in ways profoundly detrimental to minorities and poor people. Don’t enable government efforts to “create an unaware and compliant citizenry.”
- Don’t police your friends and neighbors, which does so much more to harm than help. Trust them to make the decisions that work within the total context of their lives.
- Question and be willing to be speak truth to power. Support other people when they do this.
- Support Brand New Congress in its efforts to fill Congress with people who represent we the people and our needs come 2018.
- Most of all, show your love. Show so much love.
If you want to tell me to go to hell, feel free. My feelings won’t be hurt … but neither will the world be changed for the better.
There are a whole lot of people who are and have been a whole lot worse off than us–for a very, very long time–who’ll only ever know a better life if we use our comparative privilege to change the world for the betterment of all.