It’s been three weeks since the election, and it’s been hard for me to think much about writing. I’m still processing a lot of what happened, and I’ll be honest, it’s not always going great. I’m deeply saddened by it on levels that are still revealing themselves to me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a place of understanding how this level of hatred, fear, and incompetence has risen to the level of president.
In the days immediately following the election, I felt deeply overwhelmed. My kids were (and still are) deeply upset and fearful about how a Trump presidency would affect them. I have a few LGBTQ kids in my family, and when anti-gay hate group leader Ken Blackwell was tagged to lead the domestic policy end of the transition team, their fears seemed to have some basis. We’ve watched white supremacist Steve Bannon elevated to the position of Chief Strategist. Just this morning we watched the President-Elect tweet that flag burners should be jailed or lose their citizenship. The “drunk uncle” has been given the most powerful position in the world and we don’t have the tools to deal with it because most of the time we just block him on Facebook and avoid family reunions when he’ll be around. We’re not equipped to have his YouTube channel as our primary means of governance.
There’s a lot of madness out there. And by “out there” I mean, “right here in our country.” Overwhelmed seems to be the word of the day for a lot of people, especially minority groups and those close to them.
When I start to feel like everything is just too much, my tendency is to just shut down. Time to bake cookies, binge watch Breaking Bad, and ignore everything that’s happening. After all, I’m just a mom in West Virginia. People aren’t listening to me. And there’s an element of truth to that. I’m not a powerful voice. I can’t change the outcome of the election. I can’t change the political appointments made. There is very little on a national level that I can affect in any way.
But that doesn’t mean that I can stop. It doesn’t mean that I have no power at all.
So here are a few things that I’m doing already or will be doing in the coming weeks and months and years.
- I’m knitting. I love knitting and crocheting, and I’ve decided to put that love to work and I’m selling some of my knit items with 50% of the proceeds of the sales going to LGBTQ+ charities. I’ve already been able to make a donation to GLSEN from sales and there are several other organizations that I hope to support financially. If you’re interested in ordering something, you can check out the Facebook page or Instagram feed. I’ll likely get an Etsy store up soon, but this is a start.
- I’m fasting. I’ve decided that on the 9th of each month, I’m going to fast and pray for one of the groups that Donald Trump vilified during his campaign. Money that I would spend on food will be donated to an organization that supports that group. On December 9, I will be fasting and praying for Syrian refugees and my donation will be going to Islamic Relief USA. I invite you to join me. You can check out the blog’s Facebook page each month to see what organization I’ll be supporting and I’ll be sure to include links so that you can donate along with me.
- I’m writing. Not so much on the blog (though I hope to remedy that), but I’m writing letters and emails to people who I see as making a positive impact in the way that we communicate. It’s important to let people know when they have done something damaging, but it’s probably more important to let them know when they’ve done something good. It’s not always easy to stand up for the oppressed, and people need to be encouraged when they do because it helps build courage to do it again and again. And then a few more times. Find politicians, writers, activists who are making a difference and offer them encouragement.
These things aren’t sexy. They don’t make for great Instagram pics or even really blog posts. There’s nothing terribly big and bold about these actions.
But these are primarily positive acts. Fear, hatred, anger – these things can motivate for a while, but they become wearing. They grind away at our humanity and leave us feeling lethargic and beaten down. They only add to the darkness. But when we fill ourselves with light, there’s no need to battle darkness. It simply can’t occupy the same space.
Find ways to bring light. This world and your own little corner of the world need it.