You’ve probably read this “post-election thinkpiece.” But, just in case.
tl;dr: if you believe that love (still) trumps hate, make a move. The easiest, for those financially stable, is to donate. Here’s a list of fantastic organizations.
These first days after the election, I’ve been oscillating back and forth between whether our country and our world will keep on keepin’ on, spinning us toward more of the same; whether we’ll be greeted with only the familiar, friendly status quo as we turn the corner come January. Whether the outpouring of private hate made public is a momentary misfire in the American psych. Or, whether, we’re about to enter a truly horrific time, a backwards-looking devolution, in which the rights — the lives, the liberties, never mind the pursuance of happiness — of America’s vulnerable populations are seriously, seriously threatened.
The idealist in me, nourished by Disney movies and Norah Ephron romances, closes my eyes and believes, wishes upon a star, that the former — tattered but comforting, the Linus blanket of best case scenarios — will come true. The cynic — evolved and evolving through playing bystander and lead role in struggles and shitstorms — suspects that it might very well be the latter.
Those of us who are less vulnerable, more privileged have a responsibility to take action. As a good friend once stated, “To know something, yet do nothing, is fucking stupid — oops! Don’t swear, kids. Well, it’s stupid.”
You might have followed all the right (read: wrong) people on Twitter and found reassurance in the reverberant opinions of even your smartest Facebook friends. You might have eagerly listened to the Silver tongue of FiveThirtyEight and obsessively monitored polls and predictions. You might have voted come the day of reckoning. But that might have been the extent of it. One of my best friends and I “got into it” because she wanted me to talk and keep talking to my Trump-supporter relatives. I argued the sacredness of family, of tolerance, of democracy. In hindsight, it was the least I could have done.
In hindsight, the least also included writing to and phoning strangers; volunteering for and donating to the Hillary campaign; working the polls; the list goes on. But I didn’t. And, I’m guessing, neither did most of you.
No one can be blamed, because no one saw it coming (well, except for this guy). Even on the day of the election, my colleagues and I laughed in disbelief at an-odd-one-out’s assertion, “I think Trump will win.”
But now. What now?
You can learn about civic and societal issues through events hosted by SPUR and The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. You can vote, from now and forevermore, in every election, at every level of government. You can call your Senators and Representatives and sign petitions. You can peacefully protest, to demonstrate your refusal to accept, to normalize, the behavior and beliefs of our president-elect. You can volunteer — to protect our reproductive rights: at Planned Parenthood, at abortion clinics; to protect our vulnerable populations: with communities like Larkin Street Youth Services, which works with homeless, LGBTQ youth; to protect our earth: with Global Power Shift (admittedly, I have less experience with this one; suggestions welcome). You can get to know, try to understand the other more-than-half.
And, arguably the most effective, definitively the most convenient: you can always always donate, from the comfort of your own pizza cave. And make it a recurring one, because these organizations’ need for funding will never go away; it’s only going to become greater.
You may feel like any or all of these efforts are but a drop in an ocean of hate. But this is often how social progress moves — slowly, silently, at first; gathering speed and power over time. And then, drops make waves. I can go a lot further with this metaphor, but I’m going to end this here.