Clarification: When I say “Trumpism” I don’t just mean the empty spewing hairball himself. I mean the entire machine of white supremacy, misogyny and hate that includes his transition team and their ideas, the alt-right, and the wave of hate crimes and intolerance that’s happening now.
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” — Lilla Watson
Here’s a non-comprehensive list of things you can do to fight Trumpism. The first three are things to focus on right now, today and for the rest of the week. Everything else is a next step. You don’t have to do everything, so pick the things you can do and do them, every day, without ceasing.
1. Show up for your friends. You have friends in less advantaged groups than you are, and they need to know that you are with them. In real life, physically, and on social media. Showing up and staying close, and stepping in when they ask you to. Ask them what they need from you. Then do that, even if it doesn’t sound like fun.
2. Change the way you speak. Fighting Trumpism is the only moral choice, and you cannot be defensive about it. Stop saying “but” and “just” and apologizing for wanting basic human rights and civils rights for all humans. Ask Trumpists why they’re whining about having manipulated the electoral system into putting the loser into office. Point out their lack of patriotism in criticizing dissent. Invite them time and time again to make the moral choice to fight with us against Trumpism. Go ahead and “get along” with them if getting along means that you give them a civics and history lesson, but don’t sell out the side of compassion and truth just for the sake of peace with people who essentially don’t care about your experience or anyone else’s. Being angry is the appropriate reaction, and being called “angry” isn’t in any way an actual insult. “Obviously I’m angry. Anger is the correct response to dealing with ignorant white supremacism.” If you’re not angry you’re not paying attention.
2a. Do not ever normalize this. Never. Call out white supremacism and Trumpism and Trump himself every single time. It’s horrible every single time, and normalizing it is how we got in this situation in the first place.
3. Push back HARD on the appointment of white supremacist Steve Bannon as Senior Advisor to future PGOTUS. Here’s how:
a. Call (not email) your Senators (2 for your state) and Representative (1 for your congressional district) and ask them firmly to condemn white supremacist Steve Bannon and state that he is unacceptable. (Program your Senators’ and Rep’s numbers into your phone. Find them here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ and http://www.house.gov/representatives/)
b. Call Paul Ryan at 202-225-3031 and Mitch McConnell at 202-224-2541 and tell them Bannon is unacceptable.
c. Sign and share the petition from Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/stephen-bannon-has-no-business-white-house
d. Talk to your clergy member and ask them to speak out publicly and privately against Steve Bannon. Back them up when they do. Do the same with every community group you’re in and anyone who has any kind of power or platform in your community.
e. Email/tweet/call the media any time they try to normalize Bannon and refer to him as anything but a misogynist white supremacist. Every single time. He isn’t a “businessman.” Don’t let them paint him as reasonable.
f. Call every one of these Trump transition team members who currently hold office and tell them Bannon isn’t acceptable:
PA Representative Tom Marino 202-225-3731
PA Representative Lou Barletta 717-525-7002
TN Representative Marsha Blackburn 202-225-2811
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi 850-414-3300 (On-top-of-it reader Stacy told me that when you call the FL AG’s office they tell you they’re non-partisan [HA HA HA] and give you the number of the FL Republican party to call instead.)
NY Representative Chris Collins 202-225-5265
Rep. Devin Nunes 202-225-2523
Reince Priebus 202-863-8500, Option number 1
Now, other things you can do (not even remotely an exhaustive list)
- Call Jason Chaffetz at 202-225-7751 and ask him to open an official investigation into Donald Trump’s financial arrangements to ensure that there is no actual or possible conflict of interest. Ask your own Rep to support Rep Elijah Cummings in asking for this investigation.
- Start screwing around with data-mining whenever possible. Give bad data points. Visit sites you’re not interested in. Post about topics and click ads that don’t fit your demographic. Do anything that’s going to make it more difficult for the government and corporations to figure out who’s a target. (Is this going to do much? Not yet. But if we all do it all the time then eventually their tracking data becomes worthless.)
- Consider running for office yourself or backing a friend who is running for office. Start doing the legwork to see what you need to file when, how much money you’re going to need, and how many people to help.
- If you belong to a Christian church, go in to talk to your pastor/priest about partnering with a mosque/Islamic center AND a synagogue/temple/shul in your area. Form a group to be the points of contact, and have your pastor/priest make the first contact. Ask them what they need from you. It may be as simple as some dinners shared between your congregations, or holding a vigil for peace and unity. It may be more involved like having families from your church buddy up with families from the mosque and synagogue so that you know people individually and make those connections and friendships. Get people in your church ready to go register if this disgusting thing about registering Muslims actually happens.
- Support immigrants. Call your Mayor and ask them to make your city a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. (Did you know that undocumented immigrants actually increase revenue in the US? Even if they use social services, they’re still a net gain for our cities and country as a whole. So becoming a sanctuary city isn’t going to harm your city’s finances, while it will increase safety for everyone.)
- Go read the Black Lives Matter platform and think about it. You probably already know that it’s a peaceful and highly effective movement that is working toward police reform and supporting the water protectors in the #NoDAPL camps. Think about how you can support the supporters. Donate, wear BLM gear to show support, put BLM signs in your yard.
- Send your child’s teachers and administrators notes of support and thanks for keeping their schools safe places for all students. This is tough, emotional work.
- If teachers and administrators aren’t doing that, go physically into their offices and ask them to keep your child and all the children in the school safe from physical, emotional and verbal abuse.
- Make plans to go to the Million Woman March on Washington on January 21, 2017. If you cannot go, consider hosting a house party the night before or during the day on the 21st as a fundraiser, and send the money raised to Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the ACLU.
- Subscribe to news outlets that are doing real journalism. Trumpism is going to try to destroy investigative journalism (because they don’t want to be investigated), so we need to support a free press that asks hard questions. For sites that don’t run on subscriptions (such as TheRoot.com) click through all their ads and support their advertisers.
- Buy art and literature and music from your friends, especially from people of color and other marginalized people. Pay full price.
- Diversify your media stream. Ask a friend who has a perspective you like what they listen to/read/watch. Go through the follow lists of people you admire and follow the voices they follow. (If you asked me, I’d say to start with Rachel Held Evans, Kiese Laymon, and the Kinfolk Kollective on Facebook and Saladin Ahmed, Amanda Alexander, and Angela Vasquez-Giroux on Twitter.
- Patronize businesses and stores that don’t run credit checks and that allow people to pay in cash. Especially if your credit rating is fantastic, support systems that don’t use credit ratings.
- There is always another way, and start thinking about how to find the other way in your own life and for other people. You can’t always win the game other people set up. So shinny out the bathroom window. Remember when Prince realized he was stuck under contract to a label that was hurting him, so he just changed his name? Like that.
- Keep making art, whatever your art is. Protect your art.
- Donate money to the Fund for Legal Name/Gender Changes for transgender people who can’t afford all the expensive paperwork they need to be protected: https://www.gofundme.com/fund-for-legal-namegender-changes
- Go to protests and marches in your area. Bring your children with you.
- Make sure your children see you fighting for them and for other people.
- Realize that your very existence is a political act. What are you saying? Adjust your message if necessary.
- Take a self-defense class and practice what you learn.
- Practice with your children what to do if you end up in a situation in which you need to step in to prevent someone from being hurt. (Depending on the ages of your children, they can be responsible for standing to the side safely while you act or running to safety, running or calling for help on your phone or their phones, or filming the incident on a phone.)
- Think about what you post on social media. Post hate crimes and reports to be seen by Trumpists and people who deny that anything bad is happening and are telling you to “give him a chance,” but don’t post if that retraumatizes you or the people reading your feed. Consider who your audience really is, so you know whether your task is to strengthen other people fighting Trumpism or to keep shining a light on the truth for deniers.
- Make sure you know all your neighbors and everyone who lives in their apartments/houses by name.
- If you want to help someone, ask them if what you plan to do is actually going to help them, and what they’d like you to do.
- Start digging into your local police department and find out what their policy is on community policing and stop and frisk policies. How much revenue are officers responsible for generating? How do arrests and imprisonment correlate to neighborhood crime rates and how much do they correlate to race? If you can’t find these statistics, call the Chief of Police and ask them to send them to you. Put pressure on your Mayor to have the police release these policies and statistics.
- What happens to girls who get pregnant in your local high school? Do they have any support for finishing school? Call your district and find out what the official policies are and what they do to support pregnant and parenting students.
- If you are in an abusive relationship (even if it’s “not that bad”) start making plans to get out. Yes, this is a political act, especially if you have children.
- Read Shirley Chisholm’s autobiography Unbought and Unbossed.
- If it’s safe for you to do so, change your profile picture or wear a button to show that you’re in the resistance.
- Call your state Senator and Representative and ask them to take your state out of the Electoral College system. The way to get out from under the dysfunctional system of electoral ballots determining the election instead of the popular vote is for each state to stop participating. (There are tons of benefits to going off the electoral college system, including less campaign advertising in swing states and more attention from candidates to the issues and concerns of voters in non swing states. Read this for more information.) To find your state Senator, search the internet for “[your state] state senate” and then click through to that site and look for their search function. To find your state Representative, search the internet for “[your state] state house of representatives” and click through to search for yours. You have one of each.
- Make sure your kids know that if they have any friends who are having a hard time at home because they’re LGBTQ or gender nonconforming that you are a safe person (and then be a safe person).
- Be welcoming and kind to kids whenever you see them. Their adults are probably stressed out and struggling, so anything you can do to help them feel comfortable in the world right now is necessary.
- Keep doing your work. You still have to pay your bills and eat and sleep. This is going to be a long fight. Pace yourself.
If you made it to the end of this list, go have a glass of water and take a little walk outside if you can. Then make your calls to stop Bannon. There are jobs for everyone.
All my love,