A few months back, right after the election, I wrote a very tight-lipped article about the power we can employ as creators. I only say “tight-lipped” because, at the time, I was teeming with frustration and confusion over what was going to happen next as a result of Trump’s electoral-college win. However, instead of funneling all my personal rage into an immediate post, I held back. I felt frozen. I felt lost. I wrote about something else, something more objective, something that I had more solid knowledge about: the creative community and how artists still hold something in their hands that can’t be taken away.
Since then, only a few months have passed, and already the world feels different. Funding cut from Planned Parenthood and other organizations for women’s health and personal sexuality, taping off the mouths of government workers like the Department of Agriculture and EPA so they can’t tell the press anything, and riling up a modern white supremacy group known as the “Alternative Rights.” There were early jokes about our reality that now feel eerily accurate, how a supervillain rose to power through what feels like a political loophole and his conservative brigade is trying to placate the media with “alternative facts,” or lies.
Dystopian literature with plot points comparable to things Trump has said is currently flying off the shelves: 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451… (I’ll add, these are all brilliant novels, but they’re not something that any sane person would want to read as nonfiction).
During my perusal of various news articles and conversations with others, I’ve gathered up ten ideas for resisting a world as dark and sullen as the aforementioned.
This one is simple: reach out to your congress people. This is a moment where individuals do have power. There’s a handy app called Countable that sends you updates when votes are taking place or new bills are being discussed. It regularly asks you for your opinion and connects you with your congress people to send them messages simply and directly.
CALL your congress people. Set a reminder on your phone so you do it every damn day. Don’t forget that you have rights. You have a say.
If you’re in a position to donate money, there are plenty of organizations needing help. The environmental group, NRDC, for one, since Trump basically has chosen not to address the environment at all in his presidential plans. Also: the ACLU, NAACP, NPR (to support the arts and journalism, also things that have had their funding cut and now rely on listener support), and Planned Parenthood.
Speaking of our planet, call your local weather station and ask that meteorologists incorporate climate change into their coverage.
You can further do your part for the earth by following the suggestions at websites like http://www.50waystohelp.com/ or http://greatist.com/happiness/ways-help-environment.
Pay for your news resources to further reduce the chance of an age of only Alternative Fact presses.
Keep updated with what is going on by using a website like Talking Points Memo (left perspective), or the NPR Politics Podcast.
Pick a fight that resonates with you the most: the travel ban, Planned Parenthood/women’s health, the environment, healthcare, etc. and commit to that. Donate to charities specifically related to that cause, speak out and peacefully protest for that cause, read books and write essays or fiction about that cause, create an exhibition for that cause—whatever you can contribute. Rather than sprinkling a tiny bit of energy into a hundred different things, put the majority of it into a single thing to truly create some change. (Although, the caveat to this is how difficult it is to pick a sole subject.)
This last one is just something to help you from feeling so burnt out. Chrome has an extension called Make America Kittens Again which transforms every photo of Trump on your browser into a (different!) picture of adorable kittens. It might seem trivial, but trust me, it really has helped ease some stress.
One final note:
I had never considered myself a “political person” before and never really gotten involved with any sort of election. I’d only been able to vote in one other presidential election before this one, and the tensions felt much lower to me last time. This time was different. This time truly left so many people with terror in their hearts, screams in their mouths. While my personal privileges have left me in a much safer place than most, I still no longer feel like being quiet. I want to yell alongside those who have been, or will be, affected directly and make their voices heard.