Everything Feels Terrible. Here’s What You Can Do.
If you are like me, you are probably still reeling from last night’s election.
I know I have not posted much over the course of this election cycle. It would have been hard to pick what upset me the most, because every issue I care about has been on the table: sexual and reproductive healthcare, healthcare in general, people’s jobs, immigration, the list goes on and on. Not to mention that Donald Trump is a repeated accused rapist and abuser, who has used emotional abuse tactics on television.
I am heartbroken. I am angry. I feel let down by a country that has told me once again that people like me do not deserve respect or consideration. That my friends do not deserve to be safe, or to have opportunities to seek good jobs. That a more equal society is unwanted because there are angry white people who want their experiences to be the only normal.
If you’re heartbroken, let yourself be heartbroken. If you’re mad. let yourself be mad. I want you to remember how this feels, because it’s the only way we are going to change anything. Everything feels terrible right now. Here’s what you can do
1 Take care of yourself.
Hydrate. Sleep. Be with your friends. Read a book you love. Watch a show you love. Watch the West Wing for the 300th time. Eat. Pay your bills. Engage in the radical acts of self-care that keep you going. Cry if you need to. Yell if you need to. It’s okay that you need to take care of yourself.
2. Get support if you need it.
If you don’t already have these hotlines on hand, grab a pen:
RAINN: 1-800-656-4673 (they also have an online chat at http://www.rainn.org)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
Gay & Lesbian National Hotline: 1-888-THE-GLNH
You can also look at free or low-cost therapy if therapy seems like it would help:
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has resources to help identify sources of help, and an app called TalkSpace will let you connect to a trained counselor through as many texts as you want for $25/week
Organizations like Planned Parenthood, RAINN, your local domestic violence shelter, and local community health organizations are going to need all the help they can get, and the people they help are going to be among the hardest hit.
You can also donate to organizations like Legal Aid or immigration advocacy organizations that can provide legal counsel to those whose immigration cases are about to get more complicated, as well as local and national organizations supporting LGBTQ persons.
Other organizations to consider supporting: the ACLU, the NAACP, Lambda Legal, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Reproductive Rights, GLAAD, the Disability Rights Legal Center, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Association of Community Health Centers, and any other great local organizations in your community you see helping people in need.
4. Be there for each other
I know it sounds cheesy, but solidarity and support are going to matter a LOT in the next few months. There is no way to know what is going to happen once President-Elect Trump is inaugurated; there is no way to predict exactly what Congress will or won’t support. So listen to each other’s fears. Validate each other’s concerns. Be the community that each of us needs right now.
Organizations like Planned Parenthood, RAINN, domestic violence and rape crisis centers, all need volunteers. If you have the time, helping out can help to ensure that these organizations continue to be able to provide critical services in our communities as well as nationally.
6. Stay involved
Write to your congressional representatives and senators. Pay attention to state-level policies, which are the most likely to impact things like local program funding, education, abortion access, family law, etc.
7. Support media that holds politicians, government officials, and judges accountable.
Our media sources too-often failed us in this election, and our government officials and politicians need to be held accountable for the actions they take and the rhetoric they invoke. Support media outlets that actually fulfill this obligation so that come next election cycle, we get better coverage, and so that every day, we get more accountability and transparency.
8. Support local businesses.
During times of economic downturn, it’s generally smaller businesses that get hit the hardest. In case the shock of having Donald Trump elected does in fact disturb our markets, support your local businesses when you can; they help create jobs in your community, and are more likely to re-invest in the community.
9. Make a plan
Are you saving money in case there’s economic downturn? Are you considering long-lasting reversible contraception in case access to contraception and/or abortion is compromised? Do you have a support system in place to help you cope with difficult social and economic changes on the horizon? If not, it’s time to think through what you are going to do if things get messy. I’m here with you, hoping for the best, but I like to say that in general, it’s good to have a plan-~-because you never know what will happen.
8. Stay compassionate
There has been a lot of hatred in this election cycle, and it would be easy to just push back with even more anger and hatred. I see where you’re coming from, I really do. But part of the problem with what has happened in this country is that for all the strides we have made forward, there are people we have left behind, and progressives are guilty of it too. If you identify as liberal, consider how you or your other liberal friends talk about people from the South and the Midwest, people in small towns, people who identify as religious. We need to bring compassion and humanity back into our national conversations, and that is something every one of us needs to be a part of.