How to make our dystopian future somewhat less dystopian

So.  It happened. Donald Trump is the United States president elect. I’m not going to speculate on how or why he won, what his presidency will mean for women and minorities in the US, or the ramifications for the rest of the world. It’s likely that you already know.  If you don’t, I’m too tired and sad and terrified to educate or debate with you right now. This post was hard enough to write as it is.

For the rest of us, I’ve compiled a list of things that we can do to combat this nightmare, or barring that, shape it.  Because although this isn’t actually a collective hallucination – as I’ve been slowly coming to realize – we aren’t out of options just yet.


Attend a protest

Voice your anger, your concern, and your refusal to quietly let bigotry and hatred shape our next four years.  Find solidarity with thousands of people who feel the same and are just as determined to make their voices heard. From a practical standpoint, attending these events is often a good way to get connected with local and national activism groups and events, so you can keep fighting after everyone goes home.

Here is a list of 33 anti-Trump protests and rallies taking place around – and outside – the United States this weekend. There’s also a protest taking place in Washington DC on Inauguration Day and a march for women’s rights the day after. There are undoubtedly more, so look around if you can’t make it to any of these.  Facebook, for all its flaws, is generally a good way to find out about smaller, local events.


Call out racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, ableist, and body-shaming language when you hear it.

We are not going to overcome intolerance in our culture if we continue to allow people to get away with bigoted comments, however minor or unintentional.  So call out bigotry when it happens. This amazing thread outlines how to do this better than I ever could:

And it’s not just about race. Don’t let anyone get away with saying things like “That’s so gay” or “That’s so retarded.” When your friend catcalls a stranger in public, tell them to knock it off. Challenge a coworker who refers to a foreign accent as “broken English.”  If someone uses the wrong pronouns to refer to a transgender or gender non-comforming person, correct them.  Keep pushing if they try to brush it off.  Call yourself out when you need to, and listen to people who call you out for inadvertently offensive language. Apologize, then correct yourself.  Yes, it’s awkward, but it’s important, especially now.

At the same time, be careful that your voice isn’t overshadowing the voices of women and minorities.  If you witness a microaggression and the victim speaks up against it, show your support quietly.  Stand next to them, nod, agree, speak if they ask you to, but do not let your voice overpower theirs. These moments are not about you. They are about people who have been fighting for dignity and respect for decades, even centuries. Show your solidarity without speaking for them.


Intervene when you witness harassment in public

After Brexit, hate crimes in the United Kingdom increased noticeably.  After Trump won the election, people predicted the same for the US, and it turns out they were right. Check out Shaun King’s Twitter account for anecdotal evidence of hate crimes taking place all over the country – against a variety of marginalized groups – in the past two days alone. Read as many as you can, allow yourself to feel uncomfortable and disgusted, take time to recover, watch for hate crimes and harassment in your world, and (this is key) step in.

This comic provides a really nice guide to de-escalating public harassment.  Although it specifically refers to Islamophobia, the idea generalizes to situations of public harassment against just about anyone.  This Facebook video, created in response to the rise in racist incidents after Brexit, provides some more tips for responding to public harassment. Familiarize yourself with these techniques, then use them. Don’t assume someone else will step in.

Afraid for your safety?  So is the victim.  These are dark times, and we won’t make it out of them if we fail to show solidarity when people need it the most.


Donate to charitable organizations that are likely to struggle under Trump’s presidency

Here is a list of “Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-bigotry organizations,” with links for making online donations. These organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Planned Parenthood, and the Southern Poverty Law center, work hard for equality and are likely to struggle more than ever over the next four years.  It also wouldn’t hurt to check out your local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, Boys and Girls Clubs, food banks, and LGBTQ organizations.  Can’t donate? Volunteer. Tell your friends and family.  Share links on social media and encourage your followers to do the same.


Sign a petition (or petitions) urging the Electoral College to elect Clinton instead of Trump

I’ll be honest, this one is highly unlikely to accomplish anything, but it’ll take less than five minutes of your time, which feels like an appropriate trade-off for the slim chance that we can avoid a Donald Trump presidency.

This one from argues that Clinton won the popular vote and Trump is unfit to serve as our president.

This one from calls the Electoral College into question in addition to urging Electors to cast their votes for Clinton.

Which brings me to the next item:


Write to your legislators and ask them to switch to a National Popular Vote

Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the past seven presidential elections. This election, in which Clinton won by more than 395,000 votes, is no exception.  In fact, this is the second time in 16 years, and the fifth time in US History, that  the person who won the popular vote did not become president.  This site is working to change that. They have great explanations for how/why we should switch to a National Popular Vote, as well as a very easy link to help US residents email their legislators.


Last, but definitely not least…

VOTE in your local and midterm elections

If you do nothing else, do this. Trump will have the support of a Republican majority in the House and the Senate, but in 2018 we’ll have the chance to change that. Massachusetts residents, let’s not allow Elizabeth Warren to lose her seat to Kurt Schilling two years from now. Show up at all of the elections, stay informed, and vote in people who will strengthen our country, not destroy it.


Not enough?  This article has more great ideas.  So do Rachel Maddow and Elizabeth Warren.   The second half of their conversation outlines exactly how we fight and/or shape Trump’s presidency at the political level.

Stay strong. I love you. Never stop fighting.



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