The Nov. 8 presidential election was a debilitating shock for millions of Americans who opposed Donald Trump's candidacy. The Democratic party certainly suffered a loss, but the millions who were offended and deliberately targeted by Trump's rhetoric suffered a loss too. Those who belong to those marginalized groups lost the idea of a country that loved and supported them, that wouldn't let someone get away with the things Trump said, and would suck up their ideology for the sake of a more cohesive country. Speaking from personal experience, that loss was extremely difficult and really did need to be grieved. But once that mourning period is over, it's time to dust yourself off, take stock of reality, and start to fight back. Here are seven useful actions to take if your post-election grief's over, so you can work to make sure Trump's ugly and divisive policies don't ruin an already great country.
This election has been particularly hard to grieve because it never seems to end. There's been talk of faithless electors, recounts, and vote audits potentially changing the outcome, but realistically, it's extremely unlikely. The small rays of hope have made it harder to move on to a place of action, and it's ok if you're not there yet. However, if you are ready to get started changing the country and fighting back against Trump's administration, here are seven useful ways to accomplish that.
If you have the funds, there are dozens of organizations that will need your help throughout the next four years. Progress in rural health, climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, Islamophobia, and immigration reform are all going to suffer under Trump's administration, and there are corresponding charities that you should support while they fight back.
Whether you live in a big city or a small town, actively voicing your opposition to Trump is important and empowering. It doesn't necessarily have to be huge or vocal — flyers in your school, weekly meetings at your local community center, or fundraising drives at your church will let your community know you don't support Trump and his policies.
It's intimidating to be the person who starts a political conversation, but the country needs it right now. Remember to do so in a polite, thoughtful, and constructive way, but do it. Call out problematic language and let people know their comments affect real people.
This election taught the nation the dangers of towing the party line and relying on the media for all your information. Looking into complex issues like education, healthcare reform, and taxes is important for supporting thoughtful discussions and independent thinking.
Although your post-election grief is over, other people's might not be. The marginalized people who Trump targeted during the campaign may still be having trouble dealing with the reality of living in a country that elected him, or worse, be getting targeted by supporters. Talk to your LGBTQ+, Muslim, Latinx, or black community members, even if you don't know them that well, and let them know you're there for anything they need.
It's never too early to start thinking about the next election, and your help will be needed at every level. Two states, New Jersey and Virginia, are having gubernatorial elections next year, and plenty of state Democratic parties are probably starting to gear up for 2018 already. Contact them, or your local Democratic representative if you live in a blue area, to see what you can do to help.
Run For Office
The best part about government is that there's no barrier to entry — it's accessible to everyone.. Big and small elected positions alike need to be filled by smart, compassionate, everyday citizens just like you. Granted, you can't run for Congress until you're 25 or president until you're 35, but starting small with school board or a county position would be a learning experience and an adventure.
When you're ready, there's a lot of work to be done to protect the United States from Trump's divisive policies. This is just a starting point, a brief guide on what all you can do, so run with it and make it your own.