One month ago, Donald J. Trump won 80,000 more votes in a few states that gave him the needed margin for a likely Electoral College victory. Unless something dramatic happens in the next several weeks, he will become the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017.
We progressives have somehow managed to survive the past thirty days knowing this upsetting piece of information. We have awoken every morning with some combination of coffee and dread. We have gotten our kids to school with fear and trepidation of what the day and their classmates or teachers have in store for them in an anti-immigrant, xenophobic future. And we have attended Thanksgiving Day celebrations preparing meals and breaking bread alongside Trump supporters whom we also call father, aunt or brother-in-law. And some of us have also had to start making safety plans.
At this time of year, we often read about how to survive the holidays. This year, we progressives need to know how to survive and hopefully recharge over the next 43 days as we prepare ourselves to resist over the next four years. Here's a list of a few suggested DO's and DON'T's:
DO take the time to mourn. We need to grieve. Like the loss of a loved one, we are mourning the loss of our country and the leaving behind of our ideals.
Watch mindless TV if that suites your fancy. Go see "Moonlight" or enjoy "25" and "Lemonade" as you try to figure out whether Adele or Beyonce should get the Grammy for Album of the Year. Listen to old episodes of the podcast "Politically Re-Active" by W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu and old and new episodes of "Good Muslim/Bad Muslim" by Taz Ahmed and Zahra Noorbakhsh. They are as healing as they are hilarious.
DON'T normalize an autocrat and demagogue even if he is going to be President of the United States (see below on how). Autocrats like Mussolini and Idi Amin woke up every morning and likely enjoyed three square meals a day. Demagogues like Joseph McCarthy had two parents and attended college. These characteristics shared by other humans do not make them normal and Trump holding meetings with Republican colleagues and selecting Cabinet-level nominees, some qualified and many not, does not make any less of what he is. Treat him as such.
DO join in protests. Choose your issue and your location. Oppose efforts to block grant Medicaid or fundamentally alter Obamacare. Protest any sort of Muslim registry and mass deportations of undocumented individuals. Continue to fight for reproductive justice. Start learning to be loud.
If you think there's no point to protesting, let me offer this: there is a straight line between the Tea Party protests of 2009-2010 and Trump's electoral selection. The Tea Party protests not only prevented Republicans from supporting passage of the Affordable Care Act--a market-based (GOP fav!) solution to the problem of uninsurance in America-- they also shut down the federal government and elected many far-right members of Congress. And they prevented Merrick Garland from becoming the ninth justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Let's learn from their playbook!
DON'T say "Trump won the election." Most of us know that he did not win the popular vote and, in fact, lost it by approximately 2.7 million votes. Instead, DO call him the minority president, as George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics at University of California and author of Don't Think of an Elephant, tells us. We should say it again and again and again. Donald Trump is the minority president. He lost a majority of votes for president. Remind him and members of Congress. Tweet that to him. Only when you repeat that verbiage will it be clear to the folks in Washington and the individuals at the news desks of CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, LA Times and Wall Street Journal that Trump was not supported by most Americans and does not have a mandate.
And going forward, do NOT use the language of Republicans. Do NOT say "Medicare Modernization," say "Medicare dismantling." Do NOT say "alt-right," say "white nationalist" or "white supremacist." When you use their language, you use their frame, which has been strategically selected to win hearts and minds and secure passage of their extreme agenda. DON'T help them win.
DON'T wear a safety pin or proclaim your intention to participate in any future Muslim registry if you're not Muslim. Many of us very well-intentioned people want to help. We want to support our friends. We want to be allies. But, signaling that intention through clothing accessories or Facebook Likes doesn't change policy. And officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not form lines of Muslims in front of mosques [That makes for a bad photo op.] They will instead send quiet letters to make questionable inquiries and knock on individual doors to take folks away when no one is looking.
DO make a safety plan if you feel your personal safety and well-being are in jeopardy. Chances are you already have.
DO take the time to find concrete ways to help those who feel threatened or unsafe. Reach out to an immigration attorney for a friend who needs answers to questions about their status or advice on how to move forward. If you don't know any, reach out to friend who knows a friend who knows a friend who is an immigration attorney. Or reach out to Legal Aid. Here's the link: http://www.lsc.gov/.
DO go out and celebrate the end of 2016! We experienced a horrible presidential election that was climaxed only by its horrific results. We need to enjoy its demise. 2016 is almost over! And when we wake up late, exhausted or energized and possibly even hung over on January 1, we must be prepared for the tremendous challenge that is in store for us.
THE RESISTANCE STARTS NOW.