1. Be well-informed about Trump’s plans and about the backgrounds of those he has chosen to help him, so that you can be most strategic and effective in fighting them. Do not put this off for another day, and do not expect others to do this for you. It is extremely urgent that we all start this fight now.
2. Identify what contributions you can best make to help block those plans, particularly those you consider most destructive and dangerous.
(For me these include the threat Trump poses to our democracy [e.g. to a free press, to the rights of all those who live here, and to an independent judiciary]; to our national security, with his call for a new nuclear arms race; and to the global environment, with his profoundly ignorant denial of human-caused climate change.)
Your contributions may take many forms, such as organizing and participating in petitions or protests, speaking out publicly, writing letters and Op-Eds to newspapers, and many others. Some people work best alone; others prefer groups. The latter has the advantage of making you feel that you are not the only one who is enraged, anxious, frightened, depressed, and/or despairing. Whatever action one takes, it generally leads to a greater sense of optimism, and to the rewarding feeling that one is doing everything one can.
3. Support those organizations that seem best able to fight Trump and to protect our democracy, our security, our environment, our values. These may include such groups as the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, Earthjustice, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, AVAAZ, and many others. Groups that are able to translate the threats we face into language that most people can understand, and those that will aggressively go to court to challenge Trump’s policies may be in the strongest positions to block them.
4. Contact those who represent you, either by yourself or by joining efforts such as phone banks or face-to-face Congressional visits, organized by groups you support. Make sure your Representatives and your Senators know your views, and make sure you know well the issues that concern you before contacting them. Ask to speak to the legislative aide who handles immigration or the environment or health care or education or security, or whatever issue you are raising. If it will help you be more coherent, write out what you plan to say beforehand. Insist that your representative take strong stands to oppose appointments and policies you feel will endanger our country and the world. Be polite and respectful, but also be very firm and let them know you will be in touch with them again and that you will be watching what they do. Ask everyone you know, especially those in other states, to do the same.
5. One of the most important things we can do is to help identify Republicans in Congress who are opposed to some of Trump’s plans, and to encourage them to join Democrats to form a majority to block them. Many Republicans hate and fear Trump as much as many of us do.
6. See what is possible on a state level and make sure your state rep and state senator, and your governor are doing all that is possible to challenge federal policies that may cause harm to those in your state. Do the same with your mayor and town/city governments. Significant legal challenges are ahead about how far federal authority can reach.
7. In all your efforts, follow Winston Churchill’s urgent warning, made during some of the darkest days of World War II―“Never, never, never give in….” The stakes of giving in to Trump are far, far too high.
8. Take good care of yourself — physically, emotionally, and spiritually — this will be a long fight and you need to be healthy and able to take it on.
9. Don’t let Trump and the people who surround him prevent you from embracing what is beautiful and meaningful in your life. Don’t allow them to stop you from enjoying your life to the very fullest.
10. Hold all those close to you even closer.
Eric Chivian M.D.
Former Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
Founder and Former Director
Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize