I spent the last three days eating and drinking and smoking my feelings. Today I woke up with the sense that something has washed over me, leaving behind a renewed sense of moral and personal clarity.
I’ve been complacent. I’ve been complacent because Barack Obama has been in office and because I’ve been in Australia. Sure I’ve donated and voted and signed petitions, but I haven’t been paying much attention. Not only is this bad for grassroots movements who fight every day for our hands and minds, but it’s bad for me as a person to push aside the issues I’ve always cared about because it is difficult to balance that with the cause of making myself happy.
I’m very skeptical about Facebook as a vessel of quality information, and even more skeptical about the efficacy of Facebook as a means of changing hearts and minds, but neither can I really ignore it, because my community is broader than the people I physically see on a regular basis. Still it’s a balance. Finding catharsis on Facebook (which I’ve been doing a great deal of this week) may actually even be detrimental to activism. In a world where events can hardly be real without being shared, you and I take to Facebook to convince other people that we are diligent, intelligent, active. And what do we accomplish?
Like everyone, I’ve been reading and watching all the opinion pieces. “Where do we go now?” “What’s going to happen?”. In light of these I’ve formed a rough list of my own plans going forward. I don’t know how much I can accomplish, or how much I’m even brave enough to accomplish, but I will do my best.
- Be more open with family members about why they hated Obama and loved Trump. It’s a phenomenon I don’t understand, and that must mean I’m really thick. I must be thick because I grew up in Texas and the Trump demographic represents a significant portion of my family and a few of my friends, and still my head remains in my ass. Oh, did I mention I hate talking politics with my family (except my sisters)? Yeah I do. They are the cut-you-off end-of-story type. I am the pick-your-battles type. But I’ll try to shift this, somehow.
As an aside, it’s funny how Thanksgiving has really acquired a specific sociopolitical meaning, in that it’s the one time of year when the two Americas have to talk to each other. This is becoming as intrinsic to Thanksgiving as the food, which we also don’t touch any other time of year.
- Write my Representatives and Senators every time I need to. I’ll watch the bills. The Hill is a good place for that.
- Give money to organisations that fight for the legal and social rights of marginalized groups everywhere. There are lists everywhere.
- Show up to protest in person whenever/wherever possible.
- Become more literate and more active in Australian politics. Not only do top officials here often take cues from American politicians, but the world at large is swinging toward racist nationalism. Australia’s racial conflicts and refugee mistreatment have been in full swing for a long time (read: the entire history of Australia), but in many, though definitely not all respects, Australians are a sensible bunch marching steadily toward a fairer future. There is a sense of hope here. There are a few human mold spots though, who really want to throw us all back in time, so I’m going to do what I can for my community here, now more than ever. I’ll march against the unlawful detention centres, marriage inequality, student loan privatization, Islamophobia and so on, now with more gusto than ever. Drumph is a global issue, and he represents a global sickness.
- Be unabashedly and unabashedly left-wing socialist, work on electing people at all levels of government who represent my values. The good thing is I don’t have to wait four years for this. There was a very good, in-depth conversation on MSNBC yesterday about how this might actually be the path to unity with Red-State America. Recognizing their legitimate survival concerns may even allow us to parse that from the fear and scapegoating Drumph has so awakened within them.