This is part 1 of easing your mind enough to be able to live through each day without fear and anxiety. If you didn’t read my post about the long game from last week, go read it now and then come back. Assuming that we are all committed to resist Trumpism and teach critical thinking, it’s time to get things in place for the struggle ahead. Here’s a list of actions to plan and take:
1. Figure out how much direct action you can take and then sign up for one of the action emails that tells you a short, manageable list of things to do to resist. A weekly one is Wall Of Us, and you can sign up here: https://www.wall-of-us.org/subscribe/ A daily one is Raise Your Hand If You’re Gonna Fight and you can sign up here: http://tinyletter.com/resist Sign up for ONE of them. (You can manage one. More than one will increase your anxiety.) And then when it comes, do what it tells you to do, every week/day. Even if you’re afraid of the phone. I’m afraid of the phone, too, and I have a flat Midwestern accent and a slight lisp and I am making these calls and if I can do it, you can do it.
2. Decide how you’re going to handle it if you witness a hate attack. These white supremacists are coming out from under the refrigerator to attack people of color, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and anyone they perceive as being less than they are. I am asking you to consider stepping in physically to help someone and stop these neo-Nazis. I am practicing and running scenarios to be able to step in physically if I’m alone or am with my children. I told my teenager (who is the size of a big man) yesterday that he needed to know that if something happened in my presence I was going to step in and I needed him to keep himself and his brother safe and call for help. I’m using the same procedure we’ve been rehearsing since they were little and we lived in NYC, but without the complication of being underground on the subway: I tell them I’m stepping in and call for help from other adults in the vicinity, hand them my phone unless they have their phones out, I step in, they call for help. If you rehearse it and talk about it enough, when it happens you’ll just do it without hesitation.
3. If you’re afraid of what will happen to you and your family personally (financially, socially, educationally, etc.) under the Trump regime, shore up as many gaps as you can so you have fewer things to worry about specifically. You may have been thinking “How bad is it going to get?” and the only answer I have for that is “Trust Jesus, but lock your car.” You won’t regret protecting yourself, if only because that frees up more energy to fight for others.
4. Reach out to the people around you to find out what they’re afraid of happening, and help them protect themselves. Do you have neighbors or friends who are going to be especially vulnerable to these criminal vultures and their policies? Help them with paperwork and planning, and help them with resources and support so they’re embedded even more in resilient communities. Immigrants, religious minorities, single parents who are just scraping by financially, kids who seem to get in trouble in school a lot and their parents, neighbors who might be in danger of losing their houses or not being able to keep the heat on. They are probably not going to ask you for help, so get quiet and start watching carefully to see what you can do to help them become more stable.
5. Think about the things that you’re afraid of being taken away, and how those structures are already too limiting and harmful to a lot of people. A lot of these structures are already systematically racist and misogynist–defending them just because they’re all we’ve got is a whole lot of energy to stay in the same place. Since Trumpists are trying to harm us, it makes exactly zero sense to merely defend. We need to attack and push for more equitable structures and more justice than we currently have. Getting along, seeing the other side, waiting and seeing–none of that is going to save us. There is no amount we can compromise that will make them stop pushing. So don’t compromise. Push back HARD into their territory and take what we need. Part of this is contacting your local politicians and demanding that they make your city a sanctuary city. Send your clergy people this story and ask them to become part of this movement. Put your money where your values are and divest of structures that reinforce an unjust system. Don’t support white-only institutions. Support institutions and groups that are fighting back. Meet up online and in real life to take collective action to demand more than we have now. Listen to the people who need the most change and do what they say.
6. Unplug. Knowing exactly what Crybaby Don and his criminal band of appointees say exactly when they say it isn’t going to change anything, and it harms you emotionally and physically. Set limits on the amount of time you spend reading and watching the latest ridiculous crap. Spend that time instead reading or writing fiction or poetry, cooking, doing things with your hands, exercising, making art or music, laughing with other people. They don’t get to make you jump every time they do or say something. You are still you and you deserve to feel good, in spite of it.
All my love,
(For anyone with depression, my friend Shannon and I write the Advent Calendar For Depressed People and it might help you know you’re not alone.)