What now? I have a couple of ideas

So I wanted to write earlier, but I got about two hours of sleep on Election Night after fruitlessly attempting to drink my ever-increasing sense of panic away. Then I spent all of Wednesday in an absurd state of overtired emotional volatility. I cried at least six times that day.  The last time I wept like that, my beloved grandmother had died.

I got a good night’s sleep last night, went for a run this morning and drank a lot of water, so I’m finally feeling better.  Physically, at least. Emotionally and spiritually… that’s still gonna take some time.  Quite frankly, I’ve moved beyond denial and am firmly in anger, and I think I’ll be there for a while.

I’m not going to write about what I think of Trump. What more is there to say that hasn’t already been said?  I could say it again but it won’t change the fact that he is going to be our next president. It also won’t change the fact that a lot of people I know – family members, friends, acquaintances, teammates – were more than happy to align themselves with him. And it really won’t change the fact that other family members, other friends, other acquaintances, other teammates are terrified for their lives.

So I wanted instead to take my tiny little platform and share what I am going to do to fight what’s happening.  I am a woman of enormous privilege and I intend to use my privilege to fight like hell for those without it.

1. I’m donating way more money to non-profits.  I already donate quite a bit of money, but I’m stepping that up. Those groups are going to need it.  I don’t consider myself a massive philanthropist or anything, but I’ve got some disposable income and let’s be real, I’d rather have a healthy planet and intact civil rights for all than a couple of extra lipsticks and scented candles.

2. I’m getting involved in local Democratic politics. I already vote in every dang election – even small local ones – and so this is the next step. Bonus: I’m in one of the swingiest counties in the swingiest state, so I think this could be an effective way to act locally while thinking globally.

3. I’m going to get even more obnoxious about voting. Come 2018, I’m going to be screaming so much about the midterm elections, you won’t even be able to stand me. You’ll go vote just to shut me up. But for real – let’s pack both houses of Congress full of Democrats and lay hard on them to obstruct every damn fool idea that tiny-fingered cheeto tries to push through.

If we want this experiment in self-governance to succeed, we have to, you know, actually self-govern.

(Don’t forget your local and state elections! They matter too!  It all matters. And if you aren’t sure why it matters, please use your googles to find out why so you can be informed.)

4. I’m staying involved with my community. I’m two years into my time as a guardian ad litem, and I’m going to keep doing that work. I’m also looking for other volunteer opportunities to go along with it, whether that’s donating to food banks or free clinics or LBGT youth shelters or legal aid for immigrants. The opportunities are already plentiful, and I don’t see that changing.  In fact, I only see them becoming more plentiful.

5. I’m supporting good journalism with page views and with dolla bills.  I can’t believe how many conversations I’ve had with people about paying for paywall access to newspaper sites, even among my fellow writers and media professionals!  Good journalism doesn’t just manifest itself out of thin air. That shit costs money.  (And no, bloggers are not an adequate replacement.  You get rid of journalists, and what do bloggers have to write about?  NOTHING.)

Plus you need your news organizations to have the finances to protect against powerful interests.  Look at what happened to Gawker.  Immortality fetishist Peter Thiel got upset at Gawker for outing him – although he was certainly happy to trot his sexuality out at the RNC as proof Republicans valued diversity so whatever, Petey – so he bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s libel lawsuit and drove them into bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Trump threatened to sue the New York Times for libel, and they have enough resources to have their attorneys respond with, “Bring it, you ferret-headed vagina-eyed douchebag.”  And that was the end of that.  So yeah, give your moneys to organizations that do solid journalism. Our democracy depends on it.

And eventually I hope to be at a point where I can…

6. Have open, honest conversations with supporters of Cheeto Benito.  But I’ll be honest, I’m not there yet. Right now I would probably just scream at them for being ignorant fools, and that’s not going to fix a damn thing.  So I’m just avoiding them all for now.

For what it’s worth, I’m not sharing these prescriptively.  A lot of people are not in the mindset to even be thinking about these things, which I totally respect. I’m just so at a loss right now that the only thing that makes me feel marginally less crappy is thinking of actual things I can do to help make it better.  It’s not a lot. It’s not going to save the whole world, but at this point the very least I can do is try.

43 responses to “What now? I have a couple of ideas

  1. I sobbed my way through Wednesday, and, much like you, woke up enraged.

    I’ll be fighting by finishing law school and becoming a public interest attorney- while this was always the plan, the increased need for direct client representation had definitely affected my plans.

    I’m not going to lie, I’m terrified. But if I go down, it’ll be swinging. Thanks for this poat.

    (Also I’ve been around here for a while and you were part of what got me into running, so thanks for that also!)

    • You’re amazing. Thank you for this, and for the work you’re doing. When I was a teenager I wanted to be an attorney for the ACLU so you’re basically living out my teenage dream.

      • YOU are amazing. You’re inspiring – I love reading your updates, and how passionately you chase the things you want. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a journalist! Not at all sad we swapped somewhere along the way ❤

      • Ahh mutual love fest! I’m not much of a journalist now but I still have loads of love and respect for those who are fighting the good fight.

  2. Thanks for putting this together. I’m still grasping, trying to figure out what to say with my own little platform…

    Good note about supporting worthy journalism, which is something I hadn’t thought all the way through yet. Noted, will do! The Guardian comes to mind for me, I read them all the time. What are your recommendations?

    • Hey! So right off the top of my head I thought the NYT, the Washington Post, ProPublica and Mother Jones. Someone also mentioned local public radio and NPR, to which I was like YES. I’m also a huge supporter of local newspapers, even if your local one is crappy. They still do important work on the city and state levels.

      Do you feel like you’ve come up with any ideas in the days since you left your comment?

      • Thank you! I somehow haven’t read much of ProPublica, thanks for mentioning them. I became a member of the Guardian for a start and next time I run out of my monthly online article allotment of one of those papers you mentioned, I’ll subscribe!

        I’ve been thinking quite a bit but for me, nothing new and concrete has totally formed beyond what many people have already talked about. I’ve been going to meetings, donating, calling reps, stuff like that. I have an idea for a resistance art series to be honest, but it needs more thought.

  3. Day one of the resistance included cooking a vegetarian meal, continuing with my thesis research, and paying for a meal for someone in need at FARM Cafe!

    • Nice! It sounds like you did some proper self-care, which is something I should have done earlier instead of drinking and eating garbage food and not sleeping.

  4. I spent yesterday in a daze as well, trying my best not to sob on public transportation. (“Why yes I wear sunglasses indoors, don’t you?”) I knew I was feeling better today because I started thinking about donating money to organizations and trying to parse out who Trump supporters are and why they chose him over HRC. I doubt that all 59 million people who voted for him are racist, misogynistic fools. If you can give us blue state people some insights into this, please do!

    • Still trying to figure it out, to be honest. The few conversations I’ve had have been way less than satisfactory. I’ve come away from them feeling like I’m not even sharing the same universe as some of them. We can’t even agree on the same facts i.e. that Obama was NOT president during the 2008 housing crisis. I wish I had insight, but I don’t. 😦

      • That’s frustrating. The things I’ve seen haven’t been super helpful either. I have some friends whose family members voted for Trump, mostly for the “Make America Great Again” promise. What’s interesting to me is that one of them is an older Korean immigrant, and the other has a gay daughter.

  5. Thank you for giving us some tools to work with. I’ve been asking myself what I can do to help (I live on a different continent for starters, but the effects of Tuesday are already noticeable here).

    • I’m so sorry. I’m so nervous about the global ramifications of this. I hate that our elections can affect other countries, especially when so many people are so downright dopey about voting. It’s not right.

  6. Here in the UK, we went through a similar shock with Brexit and I totally understand your rage and sadness. The out-pouring of racist abuse that followed was scary and devastating – I can’t believe the ugly side of humanity that got unleashed. I think you’ve made some really good points about what to do next. It’s not enough to feel angry but do nothing. Getting involved politically and in the local community are good ways to fight the fear, and make a difference, to put some fairness and much needed kindness back in the system. Stay strong!

    • Thanks! And god, Brexit – that’s still so shocking and upsetting. I think part of me hoped we’d see what happened with Brexit and make an effort not to duplicate that, but nope! I guess I’m assuming people actually paid attention to Brexit over here, which they likely did not. Or maybe they did and they thought it sounded great. I really don’t know anymore. I also thought there was no way anyone could ever actually think Trump would be a great president, and here we are now. So I just don’t know.

  7. It’s so comforting to know others were crying yesterday as well. I walked in to work with weepy eyes bc my CMO is a strong Trump supporter. I respect his choice but was floored and scared by his inability as our leader – our referring to a multi-ethnic, gender-diverse, and LGBT mixed team of at least 3 generations in the workplace. I know his priority is economic success and continued financial growth in the US. But, what about the other stuff. If you are such a strong supporter, do you believe all of the other things being spewed. Are the rest of us, non-middle age, non-white males, safe in the workplace. Is what Trump thinks what you think of us? As leaders in the workplace, government, non-profits, I think we owe our constiuents, teams and employees a little more thought. Did he ever think that not every hates Trump. Some of us are just scared of what he represents and can trigger as acceptable in our culture and what that means to the “others”. Fortunately, God brought someone in my path yesterday who confirmed that our CMO is not that crazy. He’s actually very supportive, loving and a champion of the others. However, I would have never known that beyond that chance encounter. So, I think we owe ourselves and especially as leaders, those who follow us, more time to listen. In spite of what happened, this is still one of the best places in the world to be a strong woman. These United States . . .

    • I have a couple of friends I love dearly who are Trump supporters, and it’s tough for me to reconcile their support for him with the fact that they are genuinely lovely, decent human beings. I get the perplexed feelings. I’m still not really sure how to deal with it. It’s fine to just cut off people who are Trump supporters if they’re basically jerks – good riddance and all that. But not all of them are. I don’t know, I don’t have any easy answers.

  8. It really is comforting to know that other people spent Wednesday feeling as dejected as I did. Since then, though, I’ve made my first donation to the ACLU (not to be the last), and I’ve set up my Amazon Smile account to support Planned Parenthood. In the meantime I’m also drafting letters to my senators and state rep, and I’ve followed them on Facebook to call them out when this administration proposes something terrible.

    I feel like there *is* an opportunity in all of this uncertainty to fire up some new blood on the left in the next two years, and you’re so spot on regarding being more involved in local politics too because that’s where we may find the next great candidate.

    Don’t get me wrong–I’m still sad, and I’m still scared (mainly for people who aren’t me whose life and liberty are threatened by these results), but now is the time to use those emotions for good.

    • Oh yeah, I don’t think we were alone. I was a hot mess on Wednesday and I’ve admittedly been in a really low mood since then. I really appreciate hearing what you’re doing to get involved.

      I love your point about this being an opportunity. I’ve been really encouraged by a lot of the things I’ve seen: lots more donations going to non-profits, people getting in touch with their reps, even a high school friend who is going to apply for an incubator for female politicians. It sucks that it took something as scary as a Trump election to get people fired up, but I guess the small consolation is that at least we’re fired up.

      • YES. I’m traveling for work for the next few days with some definite down time, so I’m going to call my senators’ regional offices to thank them for denouncing the Bannon appointment and to bug my House Rep to do the same during that time. I’m super, super proud that the Senator-Elect to my state (who I voted for in the primaries as well as the general) has already been pretty vocal about denouncing this appointment, too.

        One thing I really took away from this election is that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and Drumpf was the craven opportunist who heard a squeaky wheel when no one else did, and while he did it in a horrific way, it’s a lesson that we need to be squeakier and we need to be so now.

      • YES. I love your analogy and I love the lesson. You’re right on. I’ve also been thinking about the Tea Party, how they didn’t mess around and they got to work taking over everything they could. I’m not saying I want the left to be like the Tea Party – their refusal to compromise or to actually engage in the business of governing was thoroughly destructive to everyone and everything it touched – but there are lessons there to be learned.

        Also, super jealous that your senators denounced the Bannon appointment. I’m still hearing silence from mine.

  9. LONG time subscriber, first time commenter here: Caitlyn, thank you for this. Right now I am still in the sobbing and drinking (I know, don’t judge) phase, but I look forward to growing up and moving on to the fighting back phase. Let’s never forget that Hillary won the popular vote, so we will be working for what the *majority* of this nation actually wants! Stay strong for me, and I’ll have your back when I am strong enough to do so!

    • I am SO not judging you because I’m totally there. Except now I’ve started replacing the excessive drinking with running, so I guess that’s a tiny positive? IDK all I know that the hangover-y feelings have been displaced from my head/stomach to my quads.

      And speaking of the popular vote – this now means a Republican has only won the popular presidential vote once since 1988. I find that remarkable.

  10. Are you aware of http://www.SheShouldRun.org? It’s a group that helps to encourage and prep women to run for office! I just became aware of them myself, but my best friend works for a women lawyers association and has worked with them in the past. She had nothing but great things to say about them.

  11. I am so with you on all points! I spent Tuesday night and Wednesday morning sobbing, and also avoiding my Trump-supporting family and friends. I know discourse is necessary but I am not there yet. After I dried my eyes Wednesday, my husband and I decided how we wanted to act. We recently moved and are getting settled back in our very red state. He is planning to get very involved in politics and I have several volunteer opportunities I am pursuing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for this! I’m so happy to hear how you’re looking to get involved. My best to you and your husband. It can’t be easy to be dots of blue in a red state, and you have all my support as you do so.

  12. Longtime lurker, but surfacing to say that I love your blog, your opinions and your honesty. My deeply blue bubble of Denver did not prepare me for the devastation of Tuesday night and the days-long stages of grief that have followed. Walking into my 45-story building and seeing people weeping openly in the lobby affirms for me that I live in a great city that does NOT support the rhetoric that Drumpf has spewed the last 18 months and is likely to keep spewing the next 4 years. Unlike my staunchly left mother (who has had a Hillary for Prez magnet on our fridge since I was very little) who is hopeful and optimistic for our future (“I am old enough to have seen us survive Nixon, Kennedy’s assassination and 9/11, we’ll survive Drumpf!”), I am feeling super doomsday about it all. I too want to get more involved, and have already registered to attend a district-wide meeting to vote on local infrastructure investments and have my voice heard.

    But that doesn’t help my Hispanic coworker, who quietly admitted to me this morning that while he hasn’t felt racist sentiment personally in more than a decade, he was heckled at the gas station yesterday. He is fearful for his family of what comes next.

    I just wish I knew that these so-called “rational Trump voters” would loudly denounce the awful social standpoints that he has validated in this country – but I think many of them agree and that’s why they voted for him. So now what? I do not feel like a “United States,” that’s for damn sure.

    // Sorry for the negativity in face of your positivity. As my lovely BFF, who is a resident heading into women’s medicine, said – she has never been prouder to be in her field and is just going to take each day at a time until something tangibly panic-worthy happens. I guess I already feel that sense of panic but appreciate her sense of calm.

    • No need to apologize! You’re articulating a lot of the things I’ve been thinking and feeling as well. This election has been devastating to me, even though I know I’m likely to be shielded from the worst of the immediate effects (like the racist attacks). I’ve made some donations and taken a few steps but there’s this part of me that’s like “this isn’t enough and you know it.” But honestly, I don’t know what else to do except keep trying to do things and hope that all of us trying to do things adds up to some really big things that actually have an effect.

  13. I am trying to make myself better with this by trying to be optimistic. I am probably being an idiot though..

    I see a lot of people are worried about things like Planned Parenthood, LGBTQ rights and healthcare. People are saying and thinking things like, “now that the GOP has the Prez, house, senate and SCOTUS soon, they will dismantle all our progressive accomplishments”

    Well, there were a few things Trump was consistent on. He was against his primary contenders and actually supported Planned Parenthood. Shocking, but true.

    He doesn’t have a clear repeal and replace plan for ACA, but he was very clear he wants everyone to have healthcare and that nobody should be “dying in the streets” because they don’t have healthcare.

    When N. Carolina passed their idiotic bathroom law, Trump was against it and thought people should use the bathroom they think they should.

    So, what I am saying here, is hopefully, Trump ideology is contrary to Paul Ryan and Mike Pence ideology. But, who really knows right? I don’t think he knows. I think there is a sizeable subset of his followers that still think Trump is going to blow up the GOP. Maybe Paul Ryan and his crew will impeach him? Trump still has more lawsuits in actions. And from the tweet he sent out yesterday about the protestors, he still hasn’t pivoted. he is still an orange man-baby.

    Interesting Reading:

    • That’s the thing about Trump – I don’t think he has any actual positions for himself aside from being totally disrespectful of women and being racist (dating back to the housing discrimination stuff in the 1970s and continuing to his appointment of Steve Bannon to chief strategist). I just read a description of him where someone said he tends to agree with the last person he spoke to. He’s not a bright man.

      And the other part is that he’s apparently told Mike Pence he will be the most powerful VP in US history (possibly because part of Trump recognized he wasn’t going to actually want to BE president), which means we’re likely to get all of Pence’s disgusting social politics along with the know-nothingism and the nativism and the hyper-corporate economic policy dressed up as populism.

      I would like to be optimistic – and indeed I would actually love to be wrong about all of this – but I don’t have it in me right now. I worry this is going to be worse than it appears right now, just as Bush ended up being way worse than anyone ever thought possible.

      • Yeah, Pence is one of those religious maniacs that wants to push his imaginary friend on others via legislation vs just “changing hearts and minds”

        My optimism vs sense of doom see-saws. After this weekend, I am back on the doom train again 😦

  14. Thank you for these ideas! It’s been terrible to feel powerless over the direction of our country and having some specific steps to start making a difference are really helpful. I’d never really thought about needing to financially support strong journalism – but it makes a lot of sense. Just subscribed to a couple that will hopefully provide some important reporting over the next 4 years. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome! I actually read somewhere that the NYT has seen a 4x spike in subscriptions. I’m glad to hear that you’ve subscribed to some as well. Which ones did you subscribe to?

  15. Just found your site but your description of Wednesday was mine as well. Last night we had a block party and all drank to much. We did get into a discussion with our republican neighbors and my conclusion is they are hopeful and naive. I can’t change the naive part. At least my husband and I got some of our stress out and had a good time. There are people on our side even in a deep red state. With this election I had to get off of Facebook and stick to twitter and instagram, which is healthier for me. One step at a time. When I feel like I am less angry and healing up from this open wound, we will be back out there supporting my democratic party. I will be writing letter to all my congressman and letting them know that gems do live in their district and we have a right to be heard as well. I encourage everyone to write to your elected officials as they count 1 letter or phone call as 10 calls or letters b/c they know that you speak for more than one.

    • Yeah I think I’m going to further reduce the amount of time I spend on FB after this. It’s not been good for my mental health. And I second your call for people to contact elected officials! I actually just put my reps’ numbers into my phone so I can call them easily whenever I need to.

      I’m glad you were able to have a good time at your neighborhood block party (!) and also have a decent conversation with your neighbors. Here’s hoping that if/when things start to go south, they’ll be willing to recognize it and to be OK with admitting they made a mistake.

  16. Thank you for sharing these ideas! Not in a swing state over here, but your points about local politics and local involvement are well taken. I’m definitely going to give more money to nonprofits–and I’m donating in the name of all those assholes, so they know what’s driving me to give. I’m starting by donating to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name; they’ll send him a thank-you card. And yeah, continuing to work my way out of rage and into productivity in defense of, you know, humanity.

    • Yessss! Let’s flood Mike Pence’s office with PP donations. That’ll make him flip OUT.

      I’ve found that every time I get angry or upset it helps to do something somewhat productive (and that hasn’t included arguing with Trump supporters, which I’ve done way too much of lately). At this point it’s self-care as much as it is trying to do the right thing.

  17. Thanks Caitlin; as ever, you nail the mood. Here in borderland (IE: Canada within shopping distance of NY/Ohio/Michigan/Pennsylvania) we’re feeling it too. And Trump’s election has allowed closet misogynists and racists among us friendly Canucks to out themselves: yesterday one of my most respected senior male colleagues parroted the “Clinton is unlikeable” line to me as though NO RESEARCH INTO WHY had ever happened; my rowing partner meanwhile reported her male colleagues cheering at the end of Roe v Wade because “ladies need to learn to close their legs”. I can’t believe I had so little idea about the attitudes of those around me; and yes, money/support/respect for EDUCATION and REAL JOURNALISM is the answer to begin with from down below. As one of my Twitter folks said on Wednesday night: if you are angry right now don’t move to Canada; move to a red state and get a job in a public school.

  18. We are on the same page and other commenters are also voicing many things I’m thinking. I especially liked how you acknowledged your privileged status. I’ve spoken to two people close to me recently whose position has been “It’s not going to affect me directly too much so I’m not going to wreck my life worrying.” They are both white men with a good amount of money and no female partner of childbearing age. It is MADDENING because they call themselves liberals but with the “I’ve got mine” attitude, they will not be using their privilege or money to resist and overthrow Trump. My perspective is like yours: I will use my privilege and means to fund all the change that I can. (PS: I don’t know if you friend strangers but I sent you a FB friend request. No offense will be taken if you don’t!)

Comments are closed.