Channeling Anger: Hope for the Post-Election US
For many, the results of the 2016 Elections has brought on the Stages of Grief for Hillary Hopefuls and Third-Party Dreamers alike. The most iconic of these heartbroken voter images is watching a group of diverse young women grow solemn as the results forecast a defeat for the modern Democratic party. The girls go from resolved, horrified, to a tearful embrace as they realize their futures are growing darker by the minute.
I am those young women. All Hillary Hopefuls and Third-Party Dreams are those young women. We must all realize that we are all these young women.
However, I will not let misery and pain take me from this fight. I will not play through the acts of grief with dramatic precision only to reach resolution and fade into the falling curtain of acceptance and apathy. I was distraught, I bargained for a recount or a protest to denounce a modern American fascist, and now I’m pissed. Roaring, searing pissed.
I’m the kind of pissed that I’ve always been when someone spat in the face of my ambitions and mocked my goals. I get motivationally pissed. My goals have always been high and my dreams big. And all my life people have said that I was either wasting my time or that I would change the world. I will not let a human anal prolapse deter me from these goals. I work hard with movers and shakers of tomorrow who also refuse to go quietly into the night.
You see, we are putting our money where are hearts are more than ever. The Atlantic reported that civil liberty and women’s health nonprofits have seen a huge spike in donations since Trump’s election was announced. The Twin Cities’s Pioneer Press wrote a piece on how Big Brothers Big Sisters is seeing a huge spike in support from volunteers post election season as well. Google ‘donation spike post elections’ and you’ll see endless articles about all kinds of organizations that oppose Trump’s bigotry and ignorance are receiving more donations and volunteers than ever before. So not only am I motivationally pissed, America is too.
For me, this future is perhaps particularly challenging because I’m not a well-off Silicon Valley startup owner or a middle class child of financially stable parents. I’m a queer member of the working-poor and I’m currently about $10K in debt (and I’ve got 3 years of uni to go). I work a seasonal job that pays well, but it all gets sucked up by bills and medication costs. I’m a Social Work/Sociology double major and so I will spend my entire college and working career studying the evils and ails that a Trump-era Presidency is going to bring about. I am scared. I sent at least 5 apology emails to my teachers after the election results poured in because I knew I was going to fuck up the next two weeks, just processing what the fuck had happened. I will not lie: I’m angry, but I’m also scared.
I’m scared because every gathering of resistance holds the possibility of a mass shooting or attack by white supremacist Trump supporters. I’m scared because my workload is going to get heavier and darker. I am going to read case studies that will be getting more violent and despicable than ever before. I fear for my already fragile mental health. I fear for my persistent optimism and hope.
Those of fighting on the front lines need to learn to take care of ourselves and each other. Self-care is a well-known concept for those in the neuro-divergent, mentally ill, and queer communities, but to the average worry-wort, it’s live saving and necessary. Although the election will not overtake your brain with chronic depression, it can make you depressed.
Don’t know where to start?
- Here’s some ideas for self care on bad days.
- Here’s some light-hearted self care ideas.
- Here’s what to do for your post-election woes.
So to all my riot grrrls and pissed off POC friends, to my fellow working poor and queer social change fighters: please do not give up hope. Stay pissed, stay optimistic, stay soft, and stay ready. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it sure didn’t fall in one either.