So it’s been a week-plus.
For me, Monday was the first day that something didn’t bring me to tears, so, progress.
The #BidenMemes have been helping.
And Kate McKinnon. Christ Almighty.
But then I read horrible stuff about Bannon or the apparent possibility of Ted Cruz getting the SCOTUS nomination and it’s like, downward spiral.
Last week, I wrote that part of my problem in the immediate aftermath was not knowing what to do or what action to take to make a difference and move forward.
I’m still working on that, but I’ve figured some things out that I wanted to share, in case you also feel a little helpless or overwhelmed right now.
This list of organizations to donate to is fantastic, if a tad overwhelming.
Pantsuit Politics is a podcast that should be required listening for all Americans. It’s been both thought-provoking and sanity-inducing for me for the last several months.
(Also, watch Kamala Harris’ victory speech.)
Now, the way I see it, the “things we can do” fall into four basic categories.
There’s getting involved in politics, whether that’s running for office, volunteering with or otherwise supporting a local party or campaign, or getting involved in activism.
There’s donating to and volunteering with charities and organizations that are going to support those who are likely to be threatened by our next president’s policies.
There’s supporting those minorities in thousands of other ways, from shopping at their businesses to reading their books to intervening when you see harassment to just being a decent human being to them.
And there’s seeking out and connecting with those on the other side of the political spectrum.
Last week, I was a whirlwind of nervous, uncontrolled energy. I would swing from desperate tears to angrily swearing I would DO ALL THE THINGS to trying to be hopeful and optimistic, each hour or so. It’s only over the past year or so that I’ve started to make a concerted effort just to have more than a passing awareness on current events and politics. And aside from voting (most of the time) and maybe occasionally retweeting an article about a certain issue, I was pretty passive. I never signed petitions outside Target. I hardly ever donated to causes or organizations. I don’t go to town hall or city council meetings. I’ve never contacted any of my elected representatives, ever.
At some point last Wednesday, I realized it was time for all that to change. I was reading TAKE ACTION lists and seeing calls to protest and mobilize, but it took me awhile to harness that energy and figure out discernable action steps.
Here’s what I’ve got so far.
I signed this petition supporting Keith Ellison for DNC Chair, and if that aligns with your principles and beliefs, you should too. If it doesn’t, and you’re a Democrat, read up on some of the other candidates and do what you can to support them.
I am working up the courage to call my representatives in Congress (lucky me, they’re all female Democrats) about Bannon and other potential Cabinet appointments and legislative battles (like repealing Obamacare). I hate talking on the phone in general, and I really hate being put on the spot with someone on the phone—like, it’s one thing if I know I’ll be leaving a voicemail and I can literally write a speech to read, but what if someone actually picks up? And asks me for more details about what I’m calling about or pushes back and I’m not prepared for it? Aaaahhh it’s so scary. This looks like an absolutely incredible resource for that. I don’t know who created it (it was shared in an e-newsletter), but that person is a saint and should probably win the Nobel Peace Prize or something.
So come Monday, I’ll get over myself and make some calls.
I’m also looking into getting involved in the San Diego Democratic Party in some fashion. I signed up for their email alerts last Wednesday. I think they’re still regrouping after the election, but I’m going to keep checking periodically for volunteer opportunities (or to see if they maybe want to hire a writer for something).
Donating and Volunteering
My husband and I are planning our charitable giving. We just revised our budget because we’re starting the house (condo) hunt (!!!!)—and now I’m the one in charge of tracking it, so I have some greater insight in how much we can give each month. It’s quite a bit more than I thought, so I’m deciding how to allocate it and at the end of the month, I’m going to set up some recurring monthly donations.
Right now, I’m considering the ACLU and either the NRDC or EarthJustice. (The ACLU, I figure, will sort of cover the most ground and be one of the organizations bringing everything from infringements on freedom of the press to discrimination against the LGBTQ community to the courts. NRDC and EarthJustice because climate change is fucking real and our president-elect either still doesn’t even believe in it/doesn’t plan to do a damn thing about it/will probably actively make it worse.)
If possible, I also want to donate to She Should Run (because I have no desire to run for office, but I absolutely want to support other women who do. Seriously, I think my new goal might be to be a community organizer or campaign manager for a badass female candidate, whether it’s on the local, state, or national level).
And then a small monthly donation to Second Chance Dog Rescue, the organization we got Onyx from, because I still care deeply about saving dogs. I’m also compiling a list of other organizations to have ready for the months when we have more of a surplus and can afford to donate even more.
There’s so much we can all do here that’s super easy. I’m lucky to live in an area with a ton of locally-owned businesses, many of which are owned by women or people of color, and I’m already making an effort to shop local more than I do currently.
I’m making a conscious effort to read more books and articles by people who aren’t white English-speaking men. I’m really getting into biographies and memoirs now, so if you’ve got any suggestions in that genre, let me know! I love adding to my TBR list.
And podcasts! Because I don’t listen to enough already. I just started listening to Code Switch and will take recommendations there, too.
Also, I mentioned Pantsuit Politics above—like many podcasts, they have an option for listeners to support the show on the monthly basis, and I’d like to do that at the $5/month level as well. And I’m totally going to buy one of these shirts (once they’re back in stock) and this tank.
Which brings me to that last category, and I think for just about all of us, it’s far and away the hardest. Volunteering with, say, a local charity that supports LGBTQ rights or working with the SD Democratic Party is all well and good, but it keeps me in the bubble of only talking to and working with people who largely think like me. I’d love to find something more bi-partisan or non-partisan that will get me directly in contact with those “other side” people. Again, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please share.
Finally, another podcast I listen to, Note to Self, is asking listeners who want to get connected with people on “the other side” to get in touch. I heard this while walking Onyx the other night and fired off a quick email before I could lose my nerve. I could say a lot—a lot—about the blame people are putting on liberals, especially “coastal elite” liberals, right now, but for now I’ll just say I’m fully aware that I’m in a very insulated bubble and I want to get a broader, more nuanced picture of the other viewpoints that are out there.
This looks like a good start.
(God, I hate selfies, but fine.)
If you’ve read all this, God bless you, and I just want to end by saying — I’m not trying to preach to anybody, I’m not saying you should do all this or anything at all. More than anything, this is just a way for me to get all my thoughts and wishes and plans written down in a semi-coherent manner. And if, like me, you’re a total newbie about ~*~getting involved~*~ and taking a stand, I hope you’re able to go through a similar exercise to calm the overwhelm.