More ways to fight our impending dystopia

Two months later and Trump is still our president-elect. As predicted, multiple issues have arisen since he won. Examples include conflicts of interest, cabinet nominations (some of whom are being confirmed too quickly to investigate potential conflicts of interest),  potential gutting of the Affordable Care Act (about which many people are still willfully ignorant), this gem of a bill, and the upcoming fight over Planned Parenthood.

Oh and I almost forgot the part where Russia may have had a hand in Trump winning the election in the first place.

Two months out and there’s still so much to do. So here’s a few more actions we can (and should) be taking:

Know where your legislators stand and tell them where YOU stand

Don’t know your Senators? They’re easy to find; just google your state plus “senators” and they’ll come up right away. You can find your U.S. Representative here.   Finding your state senators and representatives will vary, but Massachusetts constituents can find theirs here.

Once you find them, read about them.  Follow them on social media. See where they stand. Learn what they’ve done.

Then – this is key – contact them.

In general, calling is better than email and email is better than social media. The best option for the U.S. legislators is to call them at their state office instead of their DC one. If you’d rather write a letter, mail it to their state office, not DC.

Open with your name and hometown (street name if you feel comfortable) so they know you’re their constituent. Then tell them what you feel and what you want them to do.

Obviously, you’re not going to have heartfelt conversations with your Senators and Representatives. You’ll reach a voice mail, talk to an intern, or receive a form letter. This does not mean your attempt doesn’t matter.  Make your voice heard anyway.  If your legislator agrees with you, urge them to take action.  If they’ve already taken action, thank them and tell them you support them. That matters too, especially with the amount of hate some of these legislators are getting.

Make – and keep – yourself aware of issues of oppression in America

To a large extent, hatred and bigotry in this country is fueled by ignorance, much of it willful. For example, this WaPo article (despite the clickbaity title) illustrates key misconceptions that anti-immigration activists have about American immigrant communities.

“Invisible Man Got the Whole World Watching” by Mychal Denzel Smith is a great resource for understanding racism in America and the ways it intersects with issues of gender, sexuality, mental illness, and other American problems.  It’s powerful and beautifully written.  Prefer audiobooks? There’s a version narrated by Kevin R. Free, and it is phenomenal. Other fantastic resources include “Bad Feminist” by Roxanne Gay and “Between the World and Me” by Ta Nehisi Coates.

(Full disclosure: I haven’t read the Coates book, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it from people whose opinions I value.  I have read the Smith and Gay books, and I highly recommend them both.)

Educate yourself on what Black Lives Matter really is, directly from the women who founded the movement.

Educate yourself on what Planned Parenthood really does and what ‘defunding’ women’s health care really entails. Yes that second article is from Teen Vogue, but the entire thing is worth reading.  Stay informed.

Get involved at the local level

Depending on where you live, Facebook can actually be a good resource for this. There are “Action” groups at the state and regional levels where people post articles, charities, and events. Use your local news outlets to find out what’s happening in your town. Connect to people who are involved in local politics and activism. Donate, show up, spread the word, and support these causes in any way you can.

Don’t get discouraged if/when dystopia still happens

Make no mistake: we’re in this for the long haul.  Things are about to get terrible, and our actions are not going to change that overnight. To be honest, they probably won’t change that at all.

Our system of bigotry and oppression, in fact, has been in place for much longer than the two months since we elected Trump. It’s just that for many of us, these issues have gone relatively unnoticed and/or unaddressed.  Racism, misogyny, systemic oppression and the other “American problems” (see: Smith) are not going to vanish simply because more people are starting to face them. The best that we can do is help chip away at them until, hopefully, the situation improves for people in future generations.

Do you have other ideas and/or resources? Post them!

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