12 New Year's Resolutions That Will Make You Feel Less Helpless During Donald Trump's Presidency
After everything 2016 has thrown at humanity, the new year can't come quickly enough for some Americans. But if you're worried about the looming specter of Donald Trump's upcoming ascension to office, 2017 may be more intimidating than exciting. I'm not going to say not to worry about it, but if you're feeling helpless, these New Year's resolutions to make during Trump's presidency might be a way to keep yourself going strong. To be fair, resolutions are notoriously hard to keep, and many people abandon them within the first few months of the year, if not the first few weeks. But those resolutions tend to be drastic lifestyle changes — there are plenty of smaller changes you can make in the coming year that you might be more likely to keep. And at this most uncertain of times, they might be just what you need.
In the weeks since Trump's election to office, many Americans have spoken out against the rhetoric of his campaign, which was characterized by xenophobia and sexism, and his picks for cabinet members have been criticized. His choice of Steve Bannon, former head of the site Breitbart News, as chief strategist and senior counselor has drawn particularly heavy fire for Bannon's affiliation with the "alt-right" movement. After eight years under President Obama, under whose leadership such victories as same-sex marriage, efforts to make health insurance available to everyone who needed it, and so much more became reality, 2017 may be a difficult transition.
But it's not time to get discouraged. Here are 12 New Year's resolutions to make you feel less helpless during Trump's presidency.
Psst! Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017 starting Jan. 1. Right now, tweet @bustle about how you plan to make 2017 the best year yet. Use the hashtag #2017IRL, and your tweet could be featured on our app.
If you're not registered to vote, make sure to do so for 2017. Although midterm elections won't be held for nearly two years, many mayoral and other local elections will be held in 2017. Even if Trump holds the White House until 2020, you can make a difference in local politics by turning out for non-presidential elections.
Feminist book clubs have three advantages: You get to meet other feminists, educate yourself on past and current feminist events, and of course, read some incredible books. If you don't know of any feminist book clubs in your area, start one yourself.
The Trump administration is predicted to set reproductive healthcare and abortion access back significantly, especially with Mike Pence — the man who has led the charge to defund Planned Parenthood for years — as vice president. Counteract this by volunteering your time to a local women's health clinic, if one exists in your area.
If you don't have time to volunteer, consider donating to organizations that serve the populations that will be affected by conservative legislation: Women, people of color, LGBTQ youth, immigrants, and so on. Example organizations include Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, although there are plenty more to choose from.
If you were as disappointed with the election results as millions of other Americans, the thought of burying your head in the sand and waiting for the next four years to pass might sound appealing. Some people might even be privileged enough to do so without noticing much change in their daily lives.
But the upcoming conservative supermajority will have consequences that will influence American lives for years to come, and it's important not to become desensitized. Stay informed as much as possible; at the very least, you can start by reading a single news item a day.
If you join a feminist book club (see Resolution #2), you'll probably become familiar with women's history. But don't stop there — read up on American and world history. The information will probably inform your own views of current events, and if nothing else, history is a reminder that nobody stays in office forever, even if FDR tried his best to do so.
More so than perhaps any other election in recent history, the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Trump demonstrated the polarization of American politics. Try to avoid the "echo chamber" of social media and understand the reasoning behind opposing viewpoints. It doesn't mean you'll ever agree with them, but afterward you'll probably have a better understanding of the issue.
There's nothing so infuriating as having a man pontificate to you on a subject you already understand — like, say, abortion access, which everyone is likely to be talking about in 2017. Let's make it the Year Ladies Had Enough and call out mansplaining like never before.
Don't just wear a safety pin; it doesn't hurt, but it doesn't exactly help either. Act in a way that embodies the safety pin, too. Demonstrate your solidarity with marginalized groups by actually speaking out when you see harassment in action, or when you hear hateful speech being spread.
Women are likely to be deeply affected by Trump's presidency, so it's more important than ever to celebrate the other women in your life. One possibility? Hosting the time-honored tradition of Galentine's Day. For those who don't know, the unofficial holiday takes place on Feb. 13, and its sole purpose is supporting the lady friends in your life... with waffles, mimosas, and feminist discourse. Basically, it's the best day of the year.
Although he has admitted that he thinks there is a connection between human activity and climate change, Trump has a decidedly different outlook on environmental issues than his predecessor. Look into what you can do to help the environment in your area.
It's going to be easy to become bitter during the first year of Trump's presidency, especially as we watch the unravelling of Barack Obama's legacy. But while it's important to highlight the problems to come, a life of nothing but anger and cynicism is enough to wear anyone out. Focus on the positives as well: Trump may be president-elect, but the next Congress will be the most diverse in American history. If you look around, you'll find plenty of other things to celebrate as well.
Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App starting on January 1 for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017.
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