How Do You Normalize Life without Normalizing a Trump Presidency?


We can't make it easy for ourselves

by Stephanie Kaloi, Content Manager

woman standing in front of mountains

It has been over a week since the election in the US, and I, for one, am still reeling. I’m still angry, and I’m still scared. I have Black, brown, immigrant, LGBTQ, and Jewish friends who are terrified. My son has a disability, and we’re questioning whether or not we need to go ahead and move to a more disability-friendly part of the country. People are terrified that their family members will be deported or go into hiding on January 21, scared for their trans partners, and a lot of women (though not 60% of white women, as we are all Very Aware) are still, still, coming to terms with the raw misogynistic reality that their, our, country handed them a little over a week ago.

And yet: life goes on. I find myself struggling with the littlest, most meaningless things. Two days ago, for example, I pondered aloud if I should post a photo of my dog on my Instagram page, since I had only been posting photos of us protesting or angry and hurt responses to this new American life. It also feels weird, and wrong, to be thinking about Christmas and Hanukkah presents, and yet… I am.

My current struggle goes something like this: I want it to be obvious that I do not, will not, absolutely can not accept this President as a normal experience. I have moved past my initial shock and rejection and realized that hi: lots of people have always felt this way in America. I can get used to it. I’m still scared, every single day, for what will probably happen to my kid’s healthcare. I am even more scared of the white supremacists (let’s not legitimize them with the term “alt-right,” ok?) that have been appointed to various positions in the administration (and been endorsed by the Nazi party, even). I’m so worried about what will happen to the Earth in the next four years that I can barely breathe (though I’m also surrounded by wildfires this week… which, just like openly government-sanctioned misogyny and bigotry, is probably also a new normal to adjust to).

However, if I’m keeping it real, I need to also acknowledge that even though I, like many of you, am living with these feelings… I’m also still going out for drinks with friends. I’m still shopping online (and will be peeking at Cyber Monday deals, you best believe). I’m still laughing. I’m going to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tomorrow night, and I know that I can’t spend the next four years feeling bad about seeking laughter and enjoying life and finding smiles wherever I can (like in purchasing this coat because it kind of reminds me of Hills).

How are you coping, processing, and just doing life these days? How do you find your normal without normalizing our new reality?

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her husband, their seven year old metalhead son, and a crew of beasts. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and smiley faces.

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  • CMT

    Oooh, HRC would totally wear that coat. (That’s about all I have the physical or emotional energy to think about right now.)

    • scw

      lol I was sitting here about to type the exact same thing.

      will be reading along, though, as I have with all these election posts. thanks apw for continuing to run them. the thing stephanie said in her post last week about white women getting a feel for what POC have always felt in this country really stuck with me and I’ve repeated it a few times this week. [side note: I cannot wait for the compact so I can stop telling my friends “I just read about this in my favorite wedding blog!”]

    • Oh my gosh, I’m ashamed to admit this, but if it gives someone a laugh its worth it. I read the line regarding the coat as “it kind of reminds me of THE Hills”…as in the MTV show with Lauren Conrad. So I clicked on it and thought “hmmm I don’t remember that being something Lauren Conrad would wear, but okay”. Thank you for referring to her as HRC here so I could catch that :)

      • lamarsh

        Oh yes, I had the exact reaction. I was like, wow, people must have been WAY more into the Hills than I was, because I do not remember their sartorial choices that well. Ah, Wednesday.

        • Ah, Wednesday indeed. This whole country needed a solid week off, not just a weekend. This week has felt like foooooooorever

      • Jess

        Saaaaame.

      • Gaby

        That was my first reaction too but I reminded myself that I thought people were talking about Hilary Duff a lot last year so I reread it haha.

  • Anon

    My friends and I have been talking about how to get engaged and stay engaged. We are passing around the idea of an email chain/listserve/googlegroup that would keep us all alerted to the legislation on the house and senate floors so that we can call our reps. We want to stay energized and focused up through especially the midterms and the 2020 election (where who is in charge will be able to gerrymander in their favor for the next 10 years).

    Does anyone know of any websites/sources for keeping up to date on legislation at the federal (or local) level?
    Any other thoughts on what we might want to include in weekly roundups?

    • Jess

      I picked this up in either a Happy Hour or somewhere else online, but Countable is a free app/notification service that lets you know of upcoming bills/congress votes and has informal polls for users as well as links to contact your reps.

      So far, the comments I’ve seen have been pretty hit or miss – you get people who are really well informed with history and links to data but also people shouting various buzzwords on both sides of the fence – but the actual information contained within at least alerts me to the bills being proposed so I can research on my own.

      For an example of what they send: the renewed sanctions on Iran got passed in the House, and I got a notification and was also told that they have yet to be voted on by the Senate.

      • Anon

        I saw this in HH too. I like it, but have found it hard to navigate and focus on only legislation. I probably need to play around with it a bit more.

        • Jess

          Yeah, it’s super tough to focus on, but I found the e-mail alerts to be more useful. I think I’m going to do some winnowing of my settings to figure out the best way to focus more on legistation than opinion.

      • Gaby

        I have been loving Countable and have already spread the word to friends and neighbors about it. It is a little difficult to navigate but I’m starting to get the hang of it! It should be mentioned, though, that most everything I’ve read recommends calling vs email, though email helps. I think I’ll be using the app regularly and calling my representatives on the things I feel most passionately about.

        • Anon

          Yes, we are trying to email each other as a call to action to call. We’ve even talked about setting up meetings with local staff people of the reps for issues that are particularly meaningful and that we have some expertise in.

        • Jess

          Honestly, I really don’t feel comfortable calling. Maybe after some e-mails and continued activism I will get there.

          I’m one of those people who will put off things when I’m afraid of them. If I plan to start big (calling and actually talking to someone I don’t know, showing up to protests) I will chicken out.

          If I start where I’m at (telling people I know I’m not amused at their joke/statement/whatever, yearly-ish donations), and expand out a little (e-mailing canned opinions, donating more & more regularly, actually volunteering at those places I keep researching) I’m more likely to actually do it.

          Would I love to be the kind of person who is fired up and calls their rep in a wave of righteous fury? Yes. But I’m not, and being realistic about that is helping me focus on what I will actually follow through.

          • Gaby

            Yeah, I’m *planning* on calling my representatives but I’m not there yet either. It helps to find scripts/samples and read over them in preparation, though!

          • Angela Howard

            There was a link posted to a spreadsheet somewhere in the comments that had great 3 sentence scripts to use to call your representatives about any of the issues that are important to you. I think it is a really helpful tool to help you make that first phone call.

          • Jess

            The spreadsheet seems helpful!

            I just have so many more questions and fears. Like, do you have a conversation with somebody? Does it all go onto voice recorder? Are they going to ask me follow-up questions? What happens when my voice gets wobbly or I skip a word or two?

            I’m the kid who refused to talk on the phone to order pizza and I still don’t pick up the phone at work if I’m not ready to talk about something I know the caller wants to talk about. I used to call a friend with a voice message recording written out just-in-case.

            Phone calls are not my specialty.

          • Angela Howard

            They won’t ask you any follow up questions. They keep track of the amount of calls received on each issue so the staffer answering the phones will just check a box that you called on that issue. As long as they get the gist of what you said, it won’t matter if your voice is wobbly or you skip a word.

          • Lisa

            So I just called one of my senators. I hate, hate, hate the phone, and my heart is pounding trying to write this. I called, and a woman answered saying, “Hello, this is Senator _____’s office.” I read her the script that someone posted above about Bannon, and she said, “I’ll let him know your concern. Thank you for calling.”

            It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and she didn’t ask me to justify myself. Once I’ve gotten my heart rate back to normal, I *might* move on to my other representatives.

          • Jess

            This is good to know! I hate phone calls, especially when I’m not sure what to expect.

          • Ashlah

            Thank you (and Angela Howard) for this information! I’m also a stereotypical millennial who gets anxious at the thought of phone calls (and confrontation). Knowing it truly is as simple as reading a script and saying goodbye is very helpful in pushing me towards taking that action.

          • MDBethann

            I interned in some Senate and House offices in college. They record your name and the city & state you live in (out of state/out of district people call too, but more weight is obviously given to a Representative and Senator’s own constituents). They do not record your phone conversation. They are supposed to write down your opinion and be polite (which I assure you can be hard if constituents – or non-constituents – are calling you and screaming or swearing at you). As long as you are polite with them, they should be polite and listen to you.

            It is hard to call though. If you don’t want to do that and you don’t want to send an email, you can try writing a good old-fashioned letter, which I would send to a local, in-state office, as all mail that goes to Congressional offices in DC is scanned/irradiated (remnant of the anthrax problem back in the early 2000s – I work in a federal office in DC so our mail gets scanned too). If you do email, make it personal and not the template stuff. Personal emails are more likely to be read.

          • Amanda

            You can call after hours and leave a message! I’m also scared of the phone, but work during normal business hours so it works out for me both ways.

        • Lexipedia

          Also, call to say thank you on things you agree with! Encouragement is key. For instance, if your congressperson signed the letter that came out today denouncing Steve Bannon’s White House appointment, call and say thank you and that you support them.

          I just did this and the aide seemed shocked that I was saying something positive. All I said was “I am calling to thank Congresswoman ____________ for signing on to today’s letter denouncing Steve Bannon, I appreciate her support on this important issue.” The woman on the phone said thank you, asked for my name and zip code, and if I had any other message to pass on. That was it!

    • Her Lindsayship

      ACLU is also a good source specifically for social justice-related activity updates!

  • Emily C

    I’ve been reading up on what I can, reading the stories on the “secret Facebook group” pantsuit nation, donating to different groups who will be needing it (I’ve filled out the next couple of weeks in my planner with organizations to donate to, but so far Standing Rock, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, NAACP, and Black Lives Matter have some dollars from me, and today I’ll donate to the National LGBTQ task force – if you’re counting, I’m sticking to donating on weekdays/days that I have money coming in from work), I’ll be going to a community action meeting tonight, I’ve called state reps to oppose Bannon’s appointment in the White House… basically, without making huge drastic measures, I’m reminding myself that this isn’t normal, and doing what I can to help make a difference. (More drastic measures to come).

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    My new normal is going to be Constituent: Gadlfy Mode. I’m going to politely and repeatedly annoy the shit out of my reps, let them know I’m paying attention, and let them know where I stand on what’s happening. I’m going to set up a regular schedule for myself; if I’m honest with myself I’m not good at initiating new projects, but I’m pretty good at sticking to a schedule. And, as best I can stomach it, it is my goal to try to read news from multiple perspectives, rather than just friendly ones, and actually read to the bottom of news I don’t want to hear, even when the photo of President Turnip at the top makes me want to scream.

    • LT

      yes! I called my representatives yesterday to ask them to protest against Steve Bannon and it was less scary than I thought/empowering.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        That’s next on my list! First I’m calling my state senators to voice disapproval of an anti-choice bill. So far everyone on the phone has been friendly and awesome.

    • Anon

      Yes, I’ve found this to be a good kicking off point. I too am going to make it a schedule. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/174f0WBSVNSdcQ5_S6rWPGB3pNCsruyyM_ZRQ6QUhGmo/htmlview?usp=embed_facebook&sle=true#

      • CMT

        Oh, that’s so great!

      • KK

        Wow, this is an excellent find!!

      • Gaby

        thank you for this!

      • Gaby

        ok I’m usually computer savvy but it’s not working out today, do you know how I could save this to my own google docs?

        • Anon

          not sure. I got the link via facebook, but it may have to do with how the settings were made by the creator. You could create a google doc with that link. it might also be that it’s getting a lot of traffic, which sometimes makes certain functionality disappear.

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            I can’t open this on my work computer, but when I open it on my phone I get the warning that it’s a popular document and not all functions are enabled.

          • Gaby

            thanks! I’m just going to bookmark it and follow it through the direct link since it seems she’ll be updating it every week. Didn’t catch that the first time.

          • Anon

            Yes. The call to action each week will change and a new script will be provided as I understand.

          • Gaby

            alright, thanks!

      • AmandaBee

        This is super helpful, thank you!

        Now to get over my phone fears and just make the freaking call. I emailed both my senators earlier in the week about Steve Bannon, but got a form response from one (‘we care about jobs’ ugh) and no response from the other. So on to the phone!

        • Natalie

          I find talking on the phone to strangers terrifying. But calling my representatives was really easy. A staffer answers by asking what he/she can do for you today. I read my short, impassioned speech about how Steve Bannon is a white supremacist who has no place on a president’s staff, and how I urged my representative to refuse to work with Trump’s team until Bannon is removed from power. The staffer thanked me for calling & promised to pass the message along to my lawmaker. In one case, I was asked for my email address so they could follow up. In another, I was asked for both my phone number & email. I’ve heard many others are asked for their addresses, but I was not. I thanked the staffer & hung up. The entire interaction took about a minute. It was actually very easy.

          • accidental_diva

            I was in a seminar-ish thing with the Maryland State Senators & Delegates a few years ago and we were told that one reason they might ask for your address is to ensure that you are in their district – especially if you are in an area that has tight boundary lines or was recently redistricted – and they need/want a head count from their district. Its not to hunt you down (even if you disagree with them) its so they get their count correct.

      • anachronismsarah

        Just made calls as Rev. Sarah.
        In this red state, those 3 little letters mean a lot, especially as reps are elected on “family values”

      • Cz EDwards

        i was just ran across this site.. and the we’re his problem now call to action sheet is great.
        i live in IL the only blue state in that awful sea of red states. when i comment on other sites i will refer to the link.. i have a feeling illinois [chicago] will feel the rath of the orange narcissist

      • Skittkate

        When you call your reps, can you address more than one issue per call? Or is it better to write up a whole list as a lettter?

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      YES.

    • toomanybooks

      Thank you for politely and repeatedly annoying reps!!!!!

    • anachronismsarah

      Reading from another perspective… Tough but probably an essential piece of the puzzle. I’m adding this to my list.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        This is really difficult, I’m going to be honest. I just reached out to a military guy I know who skews super conservative on just about everything and asked him where he gets his news. We may never agree, but I can respect that his positions are well thought out.

        • anachronismsarah

          And you might make just a tiny wedge in his image of progressives for being willing to look and consider sources outside your bubble. And, when we can plant enough of them- and we have the time over the course of the next few years-those tiny wedges are what will make way for change.

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            Thank you. I needed that bit of encouragement just now.

        • Anon

          I’ve started reading the red state blog. It’s not Trump, it’s republican, so they support some Trump decisions and oppose others and I think it’s helpful to understand which issues go which way and why.

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            Thanks for the rec!

  • La’Marisa-Andrea

    I am coping the same way I’ve been since February 2012: sustained rage interspersed with time outs for self care and holding up other black women by supporting their ventures, giving them cash, paying a bill etc. I’ve found that the most healing thing for me is help my communities survive and thrive.

    • stephanie

      I have been quietly donating to disability advocacy groups and organizations since the election. I feel this. ♥

      • Lisa

        I’ve been a quiet donator for years, and since the election I feel like I need to be a bit louder about it. It’s held in the Jewish faith that double blind giving (where the giver does not know the receiver and it is done anonymously) is one of the highest forms of giving, but in this time it seems to me that showing others that I am giving and who I give to has some benefit (whether it helps to know we have allies or whether it encourages others to make their own small contributions). I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts on making small acts (monetary or otherwise) more public.

        • Angela Howard

          Take my reply with a grain of salt because I’m currently feeling guilty for being quiet before the election because i didn’t believe my voice could make a change, but I think that people who share your views will be heartened to know about donations you make and people who don’t may hopefully be influenced when they see someone they know espousing those values.

        • stephanie

          OH I mean: I am quite loud all the time about pretty much everything that’s even remotely political, but I do agree that what I donate to & why & basically anything related to money always feels.. iffy to publicly state. I don’t mind saying what causes I support, but being like, “Oh, I just donated X amount to X organization” is always met with mixed sentiments.

    • Agreed – I’ve pretty much been doing the same thing. And reminding myself that for generations, Black families have had to figure out how to live life even through the most dire of circumstances. I’m trying to find the balance between doing what I can, being gentle with myself cause I can’t do everything, and self-care.

      • La’Marisa-Andrea

        The only thing that’s been holding me up since 2012 is knowing that we are survivors and this isn’t new. Still hard but I feel like we (collective American people) will be ok in the end.

  • Alyssa

    I’ll be donating to different groups, and a friend of mine just posted a list of companies that either support or accept money from Trump, so I’m making sure not to support those companies when I do my online shopping. I just found the Women’s March on January 21st, and they’re having a sister march in Oakland that day, so I think I might head up and join that… I quickly realized that protesting doesn’t quite feel like “me”, so I’m trying to find ways to get involved with issues I care about and trying to get more involved on a local level.

    Yesterday during a counseling session with a kiddo, we played “school” and she had me say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the Star Spangled Banner. I hadn’t recited either in years and especially after the election, I felt particularly uncomfortable with it.

    • Roselyne

      Might wanna let the Kiddo know that she can’t be legally made to say the pledge of allegiance, though you might bave to back her with the school administration.

    • Ashlah

      I’m going to a basketball game tomorrow night, and haven’t quite decided what to do during the Star Spangled Banner. It feels uncomfortable to me too (more than usual, that is).

      I’m also planning/hoping to go to the Portland Women’s March, and in some ways I view it less as protesting, and more as showing that support is there for people who are afraid of the direct impacts of Trump. I want people to see that they aren’t alone, that we don’t have to accept his version of our nation. (I know that’s mostly semantics, and I totally understand and respect if the march still isn’t your chosen form of action). Do you think you could share the list of companies who support Trump?

      • Alyssa

        Yes! I will post the list when I get home from work, as it’s on my Facebook and I can’t access that until I get home…

        I feel the same way about the Womens’ March…. I really want to show solidarity with my fellow women and people who are feeling personally targeted by Trump and his presidency, but I also think I personally need that reminder that we are in this together and we’re here to help each other (I actually wanted to fly to DC for it, but couldn’t afford it. That would be amazing though). When I’m with kids all day who don’t always understand what’s happening, processing election fallout can become isolating.

        What I typically do during the Star Spangled Banner is I put my hands behind my back and don’t sing, but that was before the election. Not sure what I would do now, but I support you in whatever feels right for you! Being a therapist, the process is more about the kid than my political beliefs (plus c’mon, she’s 7) so I sucked it up and did it, but was surprised at how empty it all felt.

      • Alyssa
        • Ashlah

          Thank you!

        • Lexipedia

          No Amazon no! Ugh, that hurts. But, for those who are still lured in by the convenience of Prime, Amazon Smile donates money from purchases to a charity of your choice. I’ve donated $33 to Planned Parenthood from occasionally remembering to redirect to smile.amazon.com.

          • Alyssa

            Oooh thank you for that info! I know. There are a lot of major retailers on that list (Amazon for sure) where I was like “oof”. It’s okay — it’s worth the hunt to find a different place to shop, but good to know that you can donate to PP through Amazon!

  • Ashlah

    It’s so hard, isn’t it? Husband and I had another evening of despair last night, spending the whole time we prepared dinner talking about what the fuck we’re going to do. And it’s so necessary to feel this way and talk this way, but sometimes I just want a normal evening. I want to not think about it. But not paying attention feels far too dangerous.

    I’m afraid my husband is going to decide he can’t have a child right now. And I understand the urge, but it pains me to consider it. One of his co-workers (currently single and not planning on kids in the immediate future) told him she’s not sure she would have kids at all now. Another has a young daughter and told him she might not have had her had she known this was coming. They don’t know we’re currently trying, and I can’t help but get defensive–it’s easy to say that when it’s hypothetical; we literally started trying the same month as the election. But I get it! I do. I’m absolutely terrified that this is what we’ve been dealt–both that I’ll be pregnant when my medical care is at risk, and that we’ll raise a child through this presidency and all that it means.

    I still want it. At the same time, sometimes I feel like I’m not taking this situation seriously enough if I’m willing to bring a child into this–that in continuing to desire this, I am assuming some sort of normal. What’s the other option, though? Delay a kid for four years, and hope everything is okay then? Eight years? Indefinitely? I’m struggling with how to argue logically (with myself, even) that it’s okay to want to get pregnant now, regardless of the very real fear.

    • Amy March

      I’d have a kid now in a heartbeat. It’s very much okay to both be horrified and continue living your life. You can make the not taking it seriously enough about lots of things. Why haven’t you moved? Why haven’t you quit your job to pursue full time advocacy? Why do you own any possessions instead of selling everything you own to support your principles? Because you are human and you get to want life as well as struggle.

      • Ashlah

        Thank you, Amy <3

      • La’Marisa-Andrea

        Yes. And wanting life is what makes you go on. Finding those measures of joy, no matter how small is NECESSARY.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        Thank you for saying this. I’ve been having the same struggle as Ashlah. I’m terrified to bring a life into this world, but then in the same moment, I want nothing more than to raise a voter who would cancel out a Duggar.

    • Gaby

      I don’t have advice but I’ve been surprised to find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum. I feel more inclined to have kids sooner than later.I found myself thinking about healthy sex education for our future teens as I dozed off for a nap yesterday! I’m hoping I’m not wanting for kids in a time of despair just for a source of additional happiness, but I think I believe my husband and I can raise good humans that can grow up to be more of the positive change we want to see in this world.

      • Ashlah

        I look at it that way too! That hopefully by raising a fierce, feminist human, we’ll be contributing good to the world.

    • Angela Howard

      I think you need to evaluate how likely the worst case scenarios are for you. Do you have employer-based insurance? If so, the repeal of the ACA isn’t likely to have much effect – especially if you get pregnant before any requirement for maternity care is removed. I don’t believe your policy can change mid-plan-year, so your 2017 coverage will likely be locked in with maternity care. Privilege may work in your favor – if you both are citizens, deportation is not a threat for you or your child. Personally I don’t think that Trump’s election would be enough reason for husband and I to put off having a child, but you both have to make that decision for yourself.

      • Ashlah

        I should have been more clear–I’m not too worried about medical insurance, more the repeal of abortion rights and the like. I know, realistically, things of that nature will not and cannot change immediately, but I can’t help but think about it when choosing to take on a potentially (though uncommonly) life-threatening condition. I think of Savita Halappanavar and Valentina Milluzzo.

        • Roselyne

          I’m Canadian. I’m currently pregnant. I wouldn’t travel to a lot of places in the US right now, for exactly that reason, and I can’t see myself changing opinions on that in the next few years. I need to know that if I have an emergency or accident, that I’ll get the best possible care. In Quebec, I have that assurance. In the US, I do not.

          • Amy March

            i am so over the handwringing of Canadians who suddenly are just too afraid to visit the US. Ok? So don’t? Really not a problem that is about you.

            In general “gasp of horror I couldn’t go there” when “there” is a place you don’t have to go just strikes me as making a problem all about you.

          • Roselyne

            *sigh* what I MEANT was, I understand the concerns, and validate them, and other people share them too. It ISN’T my problem, and I’m NOT going, but I understand the concerns of those who DO have that problem.

          • AmandaBee

            I appreciated your comments, personally. It helps to have the occasional reminder that there IS another way for medicine to work. It wasn’t until I met some Canadian friends that I realized just how much our medical system sucked. And I spent a good chunk of my childhood without any health insurance at all, so I’ve seen some of the worst of it.

          • Lexipedia

            I’m a Canadian, living in the U.S., and I’m so over everyone just assuming that I’m going to flee my life here and come home because of Trump. Like, just cut and run on all of the people I love and all of the hard professional work (political, in my case, so pretty relevant) here. I’m going to have to hold back at Christmas from smacking the first person who says “ooh, I just couldn’t stand it, I can’t believe you’re not leaving.”

            Thanks Amy, I always love reading your comments.

          • Cathi

            For what it’s worth, if you have a medical emergency in the US chances are pretty good you will get EXCELLENT care. While the cost and insurance aspect of our healthcare industry is messed right the hell up, the actual medicine being practiced is rather high quality.

            IDK if Canada’s health system has some payment agreement with the US (I know some countries do) so an emergency medical situation while here might be very expensive, but it won’t be low-quality care.

        • Angela Howard

          My husband and I are carriers of an extremely rare genetic mutation, so I understand your concerns. I would recommend researching the laws of your state. I’m fortunate because there are few restrictions in my state and there is even a late term abortion provider here. In our case, the genetic testing that would find the genetic condition we carry could be performed at 11 weeks, with results in approximately 2 weeks, so there would time to have an abortion prior to any 20-week restrictions if necessary. I hope my suggestions are constructive for you.

    • K.

      I am very, very newly pregnant (5 weeks or so) and also very sensitive to musings like these, as though not going through with my pregnancy would be the more “selfless” choice. I just remind myself that my husband and I plan to raise our child with awareness, kindness and feminism, and the world needs a little more of that right now.

      But yeah, I feel you on getting defensive about those statements, while still empathizing with where people are coming from. :-/

      • Ashlah

        Yes! It’s so hard to know how to react to those statements. Are you public with your pregnancy yet? It feels so weird to nod along and agree it’s very scary, while knowing there’s a chance we’ll be announcing a pregnancy within a few months.

        • K.

          Just with immediate family; we’ll probably begin expanding to friends and extended family after we get a good scan.

          The topic has come up once or twice since we found out last week (which feels like A LOT) and I’ve said basically what I said above. That, in general terms, I can understand their perspective but I think a new generation is a big part of the light at the end of the tunnel.

          It’s hard though! I’m also more emotional than I’ve ever been in my life (e.g., I still haven’t watched the SNL opening where Kate McKinnon as HRC sings Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah,’ but I woke my husband up the other night because I was crying at the *thought* of it), so I know I might be taking it less objectively than I normally would.

      • Danielle

        Congratulations :)

    • AP

      I decided this weekend that I want to start trying for a kid next year, and the election was no small factor in pushing me off the fence. I am DONE with letting fear rob me of joy. I will also work and fight, and teach my child to work and fight. (This isn’t to say other conclusions aren’t just as valid, but for me, choosing to have a child is an act of hope and defiance.)

      • Ashlah

        Thank you! You’re putting some of my previously vague feelings into words. This is absolutely how I feel, and this will help me in future conversations with my spouse or with others who ask about our decision. Thank you, and good luck with kiddo number two.

        • AP

          Lol, should have clarified, *future* child. None yet! Very, very scary decision:)

          • Ashlah

            That was totally my bad! Not sure why my brain added “another” to your first sentence! Reading comprehension fail. Good luck with kiddo number one then :)

          • AP

            Good luck to you, too!

      • ART

        Same. Although that doesn’t mean it’s not scary :/

    • Abbey

      I guess I’m in your husband’s situation right now. I had been kind of getting ready to start wanting a kid, but since the election I just don’t have that feeling. I’ve been telling my partner that I might very well keep feeling this way for four or eight years (which worries him a lot). But the way I’m feeling isn’t rational, just like wanting to have a kid in a very imperfect world isn’t irrational. There is very real fear and very real hope and a bunch of feelings that come up from the depths without a lot of logic.

    • Laura C

      One of my darkest things these days is looking at the baby and wondering what kind of world he’ll live in as an adult, in the literal physical sense. The climate situation was bad enough without a Trump presidency.

      Election night I emailed my parents and said they can never sell their house, because it’s inland, on a major interstate, in an area with some farming, and when the coasts are flooded and transportation is more expensive, it’s going to be a valuable place to be able to retreat to. And I know I’m over-dramatizing, but I’m also semi-serious.

    • honeycomehome

      No. Trump is not the one who gets to make your reproductive choices for you. We are going to fight him on this, and it starts at home.

      <3 to you and yours and your future yours, too.

    • MDBethann

      We have a toddler and have been trying a bit this year for a 2nd child. We’re in our late 30s, so TTC is harder anyway, and it took us nearly 2 years to have our toddler. Anyway… since the election, we’ve been debating having a second child because of the election outcome. It’s scary, but it’s scary to have a child any time. I think we’re still on the fence, but for me, the selling point of a second child (aside from someone to pay with my toddler), is that from a long term perspective, if we want to have a country/world populated with our morals and values, one way to work on that is by raising the next generation, whether that is through having biological children of our own, adopting, fostering, teaching, mentoring, etc.

  • Mary Jo TC

    You are so right that there is enormous tension between wanting to just live your life and not wanting to forget that terrible things are happening. Between the acceptance of reality you need to function, and the acceptance that’s defeat and complacency.
    I wrote about what I’m doing on my blog last week. I tried to come up with some concrete ideas because taking action can calm a little anxiety and ward off despair. https://mereader.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/how-im-dealing-with-this-terrible-election/

    -I went to a March Against Hate on Sunday.
    -I called my senator’s office for the first time yesterday to protest the Bannon appointment.
    -I’ve been participating in a lengthy email correspondence with my sister-in-law, a Trump voter. It’s been alternately productive and mind-boggling.
    -This week I’m working on getting teachers to vote so that our union can finally get us a contract.

  • Sara

    Personally, step one for me to was delete Facebook. I was getting angry and lashing out constantly, and that doesn’t resolve anything on Facebook. Plus it was making me even more insane. So taking time off of it is helping me a lot. I would love to donate to worthy causes but I can’t afford it at the moment, so my current plan is to stay aware of what’s happening in the news and strike back however I can. My friend and I have been talking about ways we can volunteer, so I’ll probably look into that when the holidays die down.

    • Roselyne

      Same.

      I got into a Facebook screaming match with some left-y activist ‘friends’ and… couldn’t take it.

      For the record: I’m fairly left-ish, as far as it goes, and what I had asked was for non-monetary ways to contribute to the effort. And holy GAWD did I get ripped apart: white people don’t care, I’m ‘just like those white women who voted for Trump’, etc, etc. And, erm… it’s not public knowledge on Facebook, but I’m 6 months pregnant and have a toddler and my husband just got the news that he’s getting laid off, so we don’t actually have money to donate ANYWHERE if we’re going to be surviving on the amount of time I can still work and then on my (55% salary) maternity leave payments, for 2 adults + toddler + baby + mortgage…

      So my current MO (I’m not American, but I live 3km from the border) is to hassle my local representatives and prime minister into hopefully making sensible decisions. Phone and snail mail. I don’t really know what else I can do while broke and pregnant up to my earlobes, but I’m not setting myself up for being screamed at by asking again…

      • Angela Howard

        So sorry to hear this. Given everything going on in your life right now, your time is a precious gift.

      • MC

        Wow, I’m so sorry that you were attacked for that, that is not okay for anyone who considers themselves to be progressive to shame someone for not being able to contribute money or wanting some other way to get involved. Not only because it’s rude, but it takes ALL KINDS of actions to make progress happen. Imagine if everyone donated money, but no one called their representatives and no one volunteered? Nothing would get done. It’s so counterproductive to act like there’s one superior way to get involved and work toward progress.

      • Eh

        Wow that’s a lot going on in your life! One of my friends just posted about people who make themselves feel better by donating money or wearing a safety pin but not actually “doing” anything about the situation. Being engaged through volunteering and contacting your MP and PM is also important.

        I’m also from Canada. Is your MP conservative? Have you been following the CPC leadership race? If your MP is conservative find out their views on the candidates.

        • Roselyne

          Yeah, I’ve seen a LOT of ranting about ‘people who just donate and wear safety pins’ and a lot of ranting about ‘people who WON’T donate and just call their MPs’, and a lot of ranting about other people on our side not doing our personal preferred form of activism…

          And on one hand, I get it, it’s a scary situation and it sucks and you want the people around you to be doing something that you think has a chance of working. And a safety pin, while lovely, is not… the most direct.

          But at the same time, a lot of people wearing safety pins are doing it as their first foray into activism of ANY sort. And so they’re getting crap from people in public, and from more right-wing acquaintances, for supporting the movement, and they’re getting crap from the left for not doing their personal approved method of activism, and I’m just scared that a lot of people are going to decide that nothing they can do is right and go back to sitting on the couch because they don’t know what to do. And that doesn’t help either!!

          • Eh

            My friends point was that marginalized people still have to seek people out who are wearing safety pins instead of those people actively helping. The safety pin campaign is getting people thinking about it. People who are already active need a figure out a way to keep that group engaged, and I agree it’s not by attacking them. We don’t need to divide the left in Canada more than it already is.

            The left in Canada also needs to reach out to progressives on the right. I have to keep reminding myself that not all conservatives are bigots and/or support Trump’s ideas (despite my experience with my inlaws). I leave in a city and have a Liberal MP but I was talking to a friend last night who lives where I grew up. Her MP is someone I have known since I was in grade 1. We went to school together and we have frequently had healthy conversations about politics. We have very different views but we have always been respectful to each other. From what I have seen and heard from his constituents (e.g, my friends and family that live there, in addition to the media) he has done a great job representing them and working for them. He has not endorsed a CPC leadership candidate so my friend (who recently moved to the riding and does not know the MP) said she is going to reach out to him, and she has been encouraged with what she has seen about him in the research she has done and what I have said about the MP.

    • Meg Keene

      Yeah, I pulled myself off FB for a bit. (Someone walked me through disabling my account, and then coming back whenever.) Reading the news, talking to friends, and dealing with my own feelings is a lot. Turns out rolling in the feelings of 300 other people was feeling more toxic than helpful. I’ll probably be back soon, but. It was becoming a super unproductive way for me to deal with my feelings (scroll, freak out), so I stopped. Until then I’m trying to engage with my IRL community and figure out needs, which feels more productive at least.

      • lamarsh

        “Turns out rolling in the feelings of 300 other people was feeling more toxic than helpful.”

        This, exactly this. I deleted the FB app off my phone last Wednesday. Most of the posts were from folks who feel exactly the same as I do about this election, but seeing the constant stream of anger, sadness, and disgust was causing me way too much anxiety. Now I check for 20 minutes after dinner and then put it away. The fact that I have become much more productive at work is an added bonus.

        • MDBethann

          I’m with you. I never had the FB app anyway, but just stopped checking it (and turned off notifications) in September because I grew tired of the vitriol. I went back on for Halloween and have been on FB sporadically since the election, but I’ve pared down who appears in my newsfeed because I want to see everyone’s holiday pictures but don’t need to see the pro-T/P posts of my conservative relatives (PA residents, so it REALLY bothers me right now). I too, only go on for a few minutes in the evening, and only every few days. Having a toddler has really cut into my online time anyway, which is a good thing.

      • Sara

        Exactly – having everyone’s anger and hurt right in my face just made it harder to process what I was thinking and feeling on top of that. I was obsessing over what I should write back or say to people when I see them.

        I couldn’t disable my account because I need it for the studio I teach at, but I deleted the app. All I do is log in, see if I have notifications from the studio and log out. Its helped a lot with my sanity.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        Yup, same here. I haven’t been on in any real sense since Friday morning. I check my messages and notifications, but that’s it. I was just too upset and anxious. I’m a highly sensitive person as it is, and last week made it so much worse.

  • Gaby

    I have been struggling with guilt about how it took THIS to get me finally regularly involved. I’m actively looking for places to donate to, learning about my representatives, and looking up volunteer opportunities more seriously. I was a Bernie delegate in the Nevada caucus and I feel guilty that he’d been preaching about getting involved this whole time and it took a living nightmare to motivate me. Continuing to enjoy the rest of my life hasn’t been an issue for me though, it feels like a necessary outlet. And it feels good to talk about the issues with like-minded friends but then also escape it and laugh over something completely unrelated.

  • I relate to these feelings. Of course, we should not live every day in a state of gloom and despair for the next four years—this accomplishes little. BUT, there is a need to remain vigilant and not let the fervor of these last few days die down as the Trump presidency becomes more “normal.” Two thoughts on what to do: Set up a recurring donation to one of the many nonprofits that have been coming to the forefront over the last week. Set up a recurring volunteer/protest/activism activity in your life. Or at least a reminder in your calendar to engage and not stop fighting. I hope both of these things can help us to keep opposing bigotry and hate in our daily lives, while not feeling like we have to live in a pit of darkness for the next 4 years.

    On another note, I’m struggling with wanting to keep my ear to the ground and read all the resources and follow all the organizations who seem to be plastered across our news and social media feeds, but also wanting to step away from the national political focus and incessant arguing that happens online and focus more on what is happening in my neighborhood and my city, and find out where I can be most active and best use my abilities to help people around me.

  • QUEER

    I’m queer, my husband is trans. Things are very much Not Normal right now. We have to make sure all his paperwork is in order, in regards to his gender markers accurately reflecting who he is. We plan to meet with a lawyer specializing in LGBT family law to make sure our marriage will be respected (setting up wills, power of attorney, etc) and also make sure we can get him a second parent adoption so he has full parental rights once our child is born.

    He feels bad that I have to go through all this. I am facing it with a mix of practical grit (“Who do we need to call? What do we need to do?”) and anger/rage/frustration/sadness that all these years of progress will likely be rolled back.

    We both grew up in the 80s, Husband with a gay dad who had many closeted friends who suffered immensely under the Reagan administration. He feels we are turning back to the survival techniques of those times. I’m so sad about it. Who will die this time? I can’t help but thinking.

    • Roselyne

      That’s what GETS me about people who say ‘we’ve survived bad presidents before’. Like, yeah, straight white people with money have survived bad presidents before. The ‘nation’ has survived bad presidents before. But not all communities and people have. That’s what’s terrifying.

      • QUEER

        Yes. Not everyone will survive. Many in my community, especially trans people, are really freaking out, scared, and some are suicidal. And this is just one of the marginalized communities, among many.

        My heart goes out to everyone scared today. I hope we can be strong together and hold each other up during what will surely be a difficult time.

      • Meg Keene

        Yes. And also, this is way worse than a bad president.

        It’s like when people say “God is in charge.” I mean, I’m religious and that’s useless. God was in charge during the holocaust too. And slavery. And the Rwanda genocide. I mean, come on.

        Terrible fucking shit happens, don’t be naive.

        • Amy Sigmon

          Thank you- I’m way religious (like, on an ordination track to be a pastor religious) but “God is in charge” or “Jesus is still Lord” (sorry Meg, coming from the Christian church here) just pisses me off right now. God may still be in charge, but God empowers us to do something about the people who hurt other people in God’s creation. /endrant.

          • accidental_diva

            That always reminds me of the modern parable of the guy who finds out there’s a going to be a hurricane, and there’s evacuation orders, and first responders, and all these warning him and offering help and he says through it all “God will save me.” Then he dies in the flooding and when he gets to the pearly gates he demands a meeting with God right then. And when he sees him he yells about how God should have saved him, that he was a believer and he did what he should have and that should have been enough to survive. And God says to him: “I sent a weather forecast, an evacuation order, and first responders – it was your job to get out.”

            God might be in charge but he’s giving us all the information and warnings he can.

          • Unhip in Brooklyn

            If anyone needs a story of hope, I used this parable to help convince my Pentecostal Christian friend to vote. He said he never votes because “it’s all in God’s hands.” God works through our hands! God– throughout many different religions– wants us to serve the poor, and that is done via politics!

          • Amy Sigmon

            Um yeah- God doesn’t have a physical vote in the US Election, obviously! God creates us to care for others. And I’m from the United Methodist Church, which backs our obligation to participate in the political process, including voting.

          • Amy Sigmon

            I’m rewatching The West Wing (political escapism at its finest!) and they use this story in the first season. It’s so true.

          • anachronismsarah

            Yeah, when my people at church on the day after the election told me to pray about it

            (I’m their pastor) I wanted to be like, ‘are you kidding me’.

            And I told them that beyond prayer, it’s our imperative as Christians to provide safe space. When people use platitudes like that and don’t walk the talk– or WORSE– when they use faith to justify actions that aren’t at all reflective of who God created us to be… It makes me beyond angry.

        • Cellistec

          Amen Meg, and that last sentence on a T-shirt, plsthx.

      • Ashlah

        Exactly this. From John Oliver’s latest episode (which is great and available in full on YouTube): “Things will not be okay. And yes the sun will rise each day, but the continuing rotation of the Earth should not be your baseline expectation of American society.”

      • stephanie

        This this this forever.

      • ART

        I will own up to having said this myself, during the primaries before anything was settled, and before Trump looked like a viable candidate. I’m kicking myself for that, and not only because of Trump, but because a lot of the candidates would have been bad news (or not enough good news), and I wasn’t thinking hard enough about the individuals that need and deserve soooo much better. I won’t make that mistake again.

        • Lisa

          I considered and really kind of wish that I had registered as a Republican in my state so I could have voted in the Republican primaries. My vote was obviously more necessary there than in the Democratic one.

    • EF

      hey, QUEER, just a heads up that #translawhelp on twitter has some great resources. If you happen to be in massachusetts, please give me a shout and I can refer you (or anyone reading this) to a lawyer literally dedicating most of his working days between now and january 20th to helping trans people get their paperwork done.

      it is scary. i’m afraid of going certain places in the usa and trying to use the restroom already. i don’t want to get shot. right now i feel glad i live abroad, but it’s hard knowing i truly can’t return home.

      • QUEER

        Thank you so much, EF! We don’t live in Massachusetts (unfortunately we are in a much redder state, ugh), but we have reached out to an LGBT-friendly lawyer for help. Thankfully, husband has most of his paperwork done and his been going through this process for over 10 years. He is pretty familiar with what he needs to do.

        Again, thank you for your comment. And it sucks you won’t feel safe here either. What a tragedy.

    • Katherine

      Echoing on what EF said below. If you (or anyone else) happen to be in Texas, let me know and I can connect you with a clinic and lawyers dedicated to helping trans persons with their paperwork.

    • Anne

      Well, Pence is a problem, but I don’t think Trump is really going to be a problem for LGBT people. He affirmed their rights in his speech at the Republican convention, and made it a point to say that it was important because Republicans had a bad record on the issue.

      I heard he reiterated his support again on 60 Minutes and said gay marriage has been settled. I don’t know if this helps.

      • QUEER

        Not really! Not when he has proposed people to his cabinet that believe being gay is a choice, and can be trained out of you.

        I don’t trust Trump at all. Legal scholars don’t trust him either, and are encouraging all LGBT folks to secure our rights ASAP.

        • Anne

          I hear you. I really do. But they are not the president and he at least has been clear on his stance – one of a few he hasn’t wavered on.

          I think we’re going to see Trump’s sole emphasis will be on trade deals and economic issues. I think he will spend very little time on social issues and those issues will mostly stay the way they are with no real forward or backward movement.

          Regardless, there is no stopping the overall movement toward greater LGBT rights. Plus, since the Supreme Court’s ruling, it would be incredibly hard to unwind their decision. We will most likely move from panic to the hum drum slow nature of progress.

          • The problem is we can’t know if Trump will serve his full term – there’s a decent chance he’ll get impeached, and at his age the stress of having won this thing that he so clearly did not expect to win and doesn’t want to make changes to his lifestyle to accomodate may force him to abdicate due to ill health. You have to guard yourself against a Pence presidency too, and he absolutely believes the things he’s said about LGBT rights.

          • ItsyBit

            I think this is part of my panic level right now, that even if Trump does something that warrants legal action and he’s impeached, we’re left with Pence, who is just as bad / possibly worse. It feels like a lose/lose/lose situation right now.

          • Ashlah

            I understand where you’re coming from, but I can imagine that Trump saying “the issue is settled” is a lot less comforting that a president who actually comes out in direct support of LGBT rights, especially when he does then appoint people who don’t think the issue is settled. And as far as social issues, my fear is that the republican congress will pass regressive bills that Trump will sign without much thought (or in exchange for the economic bills he wants to see). Trump showed many times during his campaign that he is not very consistent in his opinions, and will show support for whatever he thinks serves him best.

    • toomanybooks

      Passports are super important!!

      • QUEER

        Yes! Thankfully he got his updated last year. It was an… interesting process (took longer than we expected), but glad that it’s done.

  • Her Lindsayship

    I want to take action and I’m looking into ways to stay better informed (and therefore better motivated). But I can’t help feeling that living in a deep blue state, there’s not much of an impact I can make. My state already leans the way I do when it comes to my representatives. I’m sure there’s a more local impact I could make, and that’s certainly somewhere to start. But my anxiety sits with the decisions in Washington, and I don’t know how to get involved from where I am if my reps are already doing what I would do.

    Staying alert is at least an improvement, so trying to keep that in mind. Plus, even if my state is generally Democrat, there are always battles to be fought. It just feels like I would have a bigger impact elsewhere.

    • Angela Howard

      I’ve been wondering whether there is any benefit to contacting House/Senate leadership when you aren’t their constituent. Or you could volunteer with an organization that works nationally on issues you care about.

      • MC

        This article, written by someone who worked in Congress for many years, says that contacting folks that don’t represent you won’t make much difference: http://theslot.jezebel.com/how-to-effectively-lobby-your-congressperson-1788958124

        I’d say it’s still important to contact your representatives even when they’re doing something you agree with – even just to thank them & tell them you agree – because everyone’s gotta make compromises in politics and it’s important that they hear from constituents on what is not okay to compromise on.

    • JC

      Agreed. My national representatives denounced Bannon’s hiring almost immediately, and I know and support their positions on the big issues. I’m going to work hard to be more locally-focused (than I currently am) because I know that my deep blue enclave is the growing edge for issues like climate change and urban planning, minimum wage increases, public transportation, non-discrimination ordinances, and policing reforms. If we can prove it works here, then it can work elsewhere too, so I’m on board.

      (Do I know how I’m going to get involved in these issues? Not yet, but it’s been the realization of the past couple of days that that’s the power I have as a citizen of a progressive city, so there we are.)

      • Her Lindsayship

        This makes so much sense, thanks for that perspective!

      • Anon

        It’s also likely that areas that surround you might be red or at least purple, you could volunteer for local races to help people get elected. Democrats have been very complacent about voting in local and midterm elections. It takes 2/3s of state legislatures to call a constitutional convention to amend the constitution, so it’s important to keep control of state legislatures as well. No matter where you are, I’d bet you are within driving distance of a pink county (even if it’s not in your state http://graphics.wsj.com/elections/2016/results/). But even without that, you can work to help identify which legislation is important and gets proposed/talked about in your local government.

    • You can work with/donate to/advocate for national organizations that align with your politics/passions. And keep in mind that it’s not a given that your state will remain blue – folks have to continue to do the work on the local level to make sure that blue states stay blue.

      • A single sarah

        This. So much this.

        Places that I would’ve sworn weren’t blue turned pink on the electoral map. It highlights for me that we’re all shades of purple. And discussing that is important.

    • QUEER

      Also, I’m *sure* there are communities within your locality that do not feel safe, that are likely to be targeted and threatened under this new administration. Look around and find them. See if they could use your help in any way. Now is the time to reach out.

    • Alyssa

      CA Bay Area dweller here — this has been on my mind too. I’m basically doing what Jubilance says below…donating to and trying to figure out how to volunteer with organizations that align could have a more national impact.

  • Anna

    I’ve decided to make a sustainable, long-term commitment to anti-racist organizing, and so far this feels like a productive place for my energies. I’m a queer white woman, and so far SURJ (http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/) has felt like the right starting point for involvement. I’m putting in my first volunteer shift at one of their events tonight!

    And I’m also just going to stay angry as I go about the rest of my business. It’s actually felt super liberating to accept that I can live side-by-side with rage–not letting it envelop me, but to inspire and encourage. Rage and I might become best buddies in these years to come. :)

  • Amy March

    This weekend’s sermon was on the apocalypse and what Christians are called to do when it draws near, focusing in particular that in the moments before it draws near, life gets harder and hate that was smoothed over gets brought to the forefront. The answer was love. Love your neighbor radically, love through the hate.

    No idea how I’m going to bring that into my life, but I’m mulling it over.

    • Scalliwag

      I didn’t make it to my church this weekend, but I was really hoping they sang “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” I’ve been singing it to myself this past week as a reminder that showing that love is important, and trying to act on it.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        I’m a Christian ex-pat, and the idea of that song right now makes me a little teary.

      • Mary Jo TC

        The song we sang at my church this week was “We are many parts, we are all one body.” We have a lot of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean in our parish.

    • A single sarah

      I laughed when I realized that the lectionary put the reading about end times after the election. I’m impr asked your preacher chose that scripture for the sermon.

    • LadyMe

      Church hurt emotionally for me this weekend. It was a lot of ups and downs, but our homily ended up as basically a call to Mr. Rogers: Look for the helpers and don’t forget to be the helpers. I’ve sort of latched onto that part. I’ve made more donations this week and I’ve got a giant list of local volunteer organizations and have been sorting through them to look for one that I can add to my schedule.

    • Meg Keene

      Mmmm.

    • Fundamentalist Anonymous

      That’s very charitable; I admire that. Last week’s Torah portion was the one with “a wild-ass of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him,” and all I could think during the reading was, gee, that sounds familiar, I think we just elected him.

    • Lexipedia

      We did a lot of crying last Sunday morning. It started with the children’s sermon about feelings, especially what to do when you feel scared, and went all the way through the rest of the service. It was especially hard because I had gone to a service on election day that was so full of hope and positive energy, and five days later everyone just looked so heartbroken.

    • anachronismsarah

      Sounds a lot like what I’ll be preaching this coming Sunday.

  • JC

    Maybe this is a distinction without a difference, but I’ve been willing to engage in some “everyday life” activities, hesitantly, but not engage in any kinds of platitudes, sharing of hopeful quotes, etc. The words feel empty right now, while the actions don’t. I guess I’m trying to make sure that my everyday life actions– planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas, budgeting our new rent and security deposit, buying some new clothes for the winter– are influenced more by my other, anger-induced actions like donating to my important organizations, calling my representatives, and not by a facebook meme or a line from a movie. I can keep walking like before, but the walk has to be on the new path.

    • JAS

      I agree. Because telling everyone “it’ll be ok”–I think–lulls one into a false hope that it might actually be true. And I don’t believe that it is true. Time marches forward, and we don’t know what will happen, but the probability of it all “being ok” are pretty slim. I want to acknowledge that with my words, and my actions. I love my people, and our communities are the fabric that holds this country together (such as it is); I will support them, I will defend them, I will laugh with them and drink wine with them.

      I’m an economist; I teach college. After the election has been incredibly hard for me as I simply do not have language–or empathy–for the students who support Trump in my classes. I strive for my classroom to be an inclusive space, a safe place to share sometimes opposed ideas. But Trump being elected does not make me feel safe in this country, or in my classroom. And I do not feel safe around my students who support him. I do not know how to express my horror that they voted for a man who feels the way he feels about women, and people of color, and immigrants, and muslims, the list is literally too long to go on. I’ve tried to stay quiet about the election because I simply do not have words in response to these students besides “how could you? How?” It’s a failure of open-mindedness on my part, my rational brains says. But my lizard brain is just screaming in panic about safety and I can’t yet seem to align them.

      All I’ve been able to offer genuinely is to tell them, save money. A lot is at stake: health care, social security, medicare, welfare including unemployment. Imagine you had no support from the government–might not happen. Could happen. Everything costs money: graduate, get a job, work hard to keep it, save money like you expect the ground to fall out from under your feet. I’m doing it too. I can’t reconcile how I feel, or what I want to say, but I can love my people, and I can save money.

      • Mary Jo TC

        In response to your feelings about your students: do you think it might help to think of them as ignorant and misguided, rather than morally deficient? I wouldn’t necessarily say this about people who are older than they are, but people in the 18-22 age range still have sooo little experience and are still mostly just parroting their parents’ political opinions. I know that describes me at that age, and I regretted the first vote I cast in a presidential election, which was during my college years, because I listened more to my dad than to my awesome Young Democrat roommate. Yes, it is a failure of empathy, but sometimes empathy requires exposure–it’s hard to feel empathy for groups of people who don’t feel real to you because you’ve never met one of them. I don’t want to excuse them, but maybe thinking of them this way might make it easier for you to get through the day.

      • JC

        Thanks for all that you do. I used to be a teacher, and it wasn’t the right life for me. I have a whole new respect for those who take on that responsibility, who stand in front of the class like that and promote vulnerability and the openness it takes to learn. You are the lifeblood of democracy.

        But also, you must be safe. You must take care of yourself first and foremost, before you can take care of anyone else. I hope you’re able to find some support outside of school and some strategies inside the classroom that mitigate the fear. Take care.

      • Poppy

        This may or may not help, but I was feeling a lot like this during the election and the WaPo article about Derek Black re-inspired me to try to reach my Trump-supporting or apathetic college students. It’s here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/the-white-flight-of-derek-black/2016/10/15/ed5f906a-8f3b-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html

        The Tldr; version: young white supremacist from a prominent white nationalist family goes to liberal arts college and slowly but surely encounters important information about the world that changes his thinking. I don’t think it’s about feeling compassion for them, or being open-minded, and I also can’t muster that right now. For me, it’s about trying to keep a steady exterior while I work resources into each lesson that will help my students dismantle their own biases, that will force them to interrogate their own assumptions about the world and our country if I can get them to engage with the material. And it’s about joining the fight outside of work as often as I can.

  • KK

    Last week the day after the election, we were packing up our house into a trailer to move across the country. Yesterday we closed on selling our house and today we close on buying a new one. On Friday we drive with our 2 cats across the country to our new home. For the past couple weeks, we have been dealing with all kinds of moving stuff – address changes, utility companies, insurance changes, etc. So life is marching on and our planned life changes are continuing just as planned… despite the complete upheaval of Trump’s election.

    But I am so distracted by and emotional about the election results that I’m having trouble processing and feeling much about our move – which I know is disappointing to my husband. He understands, but we are doing this big thing! This thing we’ve been planning for over 5 years! We sold a house! We bought a house! We are moving across the country to live near mountains! But I’m just feeling really BLAH and like these big personal things just aren’t a big deal in the grand scheme of a TRUMP PRESIDENCY.
    I’m making an effort to show and feel more excitement, both for myself and my husband’s sake. Yesterday we had cocktails in the middle of the day to celebrate closing. That’s a start right?

    • Nell

      Right there with ya – wife and I just purchased our first home. So many feelings — excitement, fear, relief, and frustration.

  • Jess

    I don’t know that I can go back to normal.

    Normal was when my coworkers weren’t *laughing* about the school kids chanting “Build that wall” video. Normal was when my dad wasn’t sharing memes about those “whiny protesters” and R’s mom wasn’t liking them. Normal was when my friends weren’t talking about how they needed to “vote on Christian Values” and then talking about how “God has a plan” and how what we need to focus on is coming together.

    Normal was before this election cycle made people feel comfortable saying this shit. Normal was before I knew they felt it.

    When things were normal, I could say, “This isn’t funny.” or “I don’t agree with this” and make them feel awkward for being inappropriate. Now, they feel empowered to tell me how sensitive I’m being or how I’m just ill informed or how being Politically Correct is a blight upon the nation. And all I have to say back is, “No. This is reality for millions of Americans, and you’re not listening to them” which has not been persuasive enough.

    The last few weeks have been isolating in a way I have never known. I don’t know how to change the minds of people I know, because they see me and people protesting as a joke. There is no amount of firm language or walking away from conversations that are cycling nowhere that is going to change them.

    I don’t know how to look at people I called friends and pretend things are “Normal”. I don’t think I want to.

    • lamarsh

      I am so so sorry. Sending you lots of strength.

      • Jess

        Thanks. It’s amazing how much this election cycle has really brought to light some of the worst in people.

    • Katherine

      Right here with you, Jess. Sending love in solidarity.

      • Jess

        And love to you!

    • AmandaBee

      Good for you addressing the issues! But I will say that while we should all addrrss inappropriate or hurtful things people say, in the immediate aftermath of the election it’s understandable to need space from some folks.

      If they’re feeling smug and victorious, they’re unlikely to be persuaded right now. If you’re feeling hurt, it’s going to be hard to communicate effectively.

      I’ve been taking myself that there are some family members I’ll eventually talk to about the election, and why I feel their vote was wrong, right now I need some distance from them. It’s ok to need that for now.

      • Jess

        I am definitely trying to gain space. Given my geographic area, that space means putting on headphones at work and not interacting with a large portion of my friend group (granted, over the last few months, I’ve been doing more of that anyway, because these conversations have been getting less and less effective).

        This isn’t new this past week, it’s been growing over the last few years and, unlike in a mainly blue urban environment, I am very much surrounded. I am clinging to my friends who are outraged, and trying very hard to keep speaking against the rest in person.

        Maybe in a few months some conversation can be had. Maybe the worst of the hate speech from the President Elect is over (although, given his current cabinet appointments, I doubt it), and this vocal racism and xenophobia and sexism and so on will feel less justifiable to them. But that hope feels too tenuous.

  • Katherine

    I’ve signed up to give monthly donations to outdoor conservation and protection organizations, as well as gotten on the news alerts for both state and local progressive organizations. Otherwise, I’m trying to work on sleeping, going outside without fear, and reminding myself that yes, I do need this much self-care right now.

    Others have mentioned the feeling of isolation, and I am very much in that headspace. However, this thread has pushed me to reach out to another local couple we know who share our views to try to start building our own community. Thanks APW.

  • Sarah E

    Thanks for writing this, Stephanie. I’ll come back and read through the comments when I’m not at work (oops), but for me, the strategies are thus:

    1. Make money, divert income
    So, work hard, work smart, earn and ask for a raise, send that extra $$ to the people and causes that need them. Can’t donate without first earning. Need to stay financially secure in turbulent times,

    2. Connect more.
    Get out of my “I work too much/weird hours/have a dog” hermitage, and connect with a friend in person every single week. Show up to PP volunteer meetings. Show up to town hall discussions. Show up to council meetings. Meet local politicians. Build connections with my core people so we can raise each other up, and use that to buoy myself to connecting outside my core people.

    • LadyMe

      My city council meets in the middle of the day, so the weird hours thing might actually be helpful for you.

  • macrain

    Who is going to the Women’s March in DC?

    • Ashlah

      I so badly want to, but I’ll probably have to settle for a more local one. Are you going?

      • macrain

        Yup!
        I live in NYC and have a friend in Arlington I can stay with, so I’m lucky!

    • Alynae

      I’m going. From Oregon!

    • emmers

      I may be!

    • E.

      I think I’m going for my bachelorette party!

      • Lexipedia

        You are a rock star.

    • Lexipedia

      I am! I live here, and I’d be happy to help organize some sort of APW pre-march meet-up in the city for those who are visiting.

      I love you guys so much.

  • Annie

    I’m having a hard time focusing my anger into action – there is so much to do, so much to fight… where does one start? I know the answer is “just start somewhere,” but I’m having a hard time getting past the overwhelm.

    • AmandaBee

      I feel you. It’s hard to want to do ALL the things and then feel so overwhelmed that you feel like you can’t do any of the things.

      Do you have a cause that you can lend some expertise to? Is there an issue that is particularly local? For ex, if you live in a city with a high refugee population then that’s one place to start. If you’re a teacher, photographer, etc. then consider if there’s a cause that can use that skill. There’s also nothing wrong with just picking a handful of things that are doable for you right now and knowing you can scale it up later if you want to.

  • LadyMe

    Does anyone know of an organization that sets up pen pals? I’d like to do a coastal urban liberal to heartland rural conservative penpal just to have a snail mail pace communication with someone from a different background. Less likely to hair trigger responses like internet posts/emails. I have no idea how I’d make that happen though.

  • Laura C

    Given that my job is writing about politics, I bang my head against this all day long. On the one hand, I feel lucky that my job feels like I’m doing something, however minimal, and I definitely don’t worry about letting go of this not being normal. But on the other hand, it is such an unbelievable challenge to manage my energy and emotions — at the end of every day I just struggle not to collapse from the weight of what’s going on.

    This was my take and I guess it still is, as far as it goes:

    When someone you love dies, you don’t take it in all at once. You don’t know immediately “this is how my life will be going forward.” You feel your way a step at a time, in one moment forgetting and reaching for the phone to tell the person something that just happened and being struck again by the loss, but in another moment laughing and feeling that it’s possible to go on.

    It’s an imperfect analogy, because this isn’t one loss from which we now have time to heal. Donald Trump and the Republican Party are in a position to do continuing damage to this country, to tear us apart in ways we don’t yet know. They can inflict loss after loss upon us. But as with a death, we can’t take it in all at once. We can only keep putting one foot in front of the other, feeling our way through an altered landscape and trying to find—or create—a path to something better.

    We must not look at Trump’s election and declare that the only possible explanation for how it could happen just happens to fit perfectly with what we thought all along. We should neither dwell too much on how it was someone else’s fault nor evade our own responsibility—if we win as a coalition, we have to lose as one, too. (That said, dammit, white people.) We should not try to empathize with racism, but we should understand Trump voters well enough to know where and how there are those who can be won over without compromising our values.

    We can seek the bright spots. We can fight. We can revamp and rebuild. We will have to keep grieving, because terrible things will keep being done. But we also have to go on. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time, seeking a path and fighting our way through to something better.

    • lady brett

      beautiful.

      • Laura C

        Thanks.

  • EF

    I think it’s okay to celebrate life and a way to remind ourselves what we are fighting for (ultimately, life).

    But that doesn’t mean get complacent, right. So like, trump has re-added the idea of a muslim registry to his website. he has a hired a man who has plans for it. when the registry comes, that’s not the time to say i’ve got this other thing to do. when it comes, we all sign up. when there are questions, we answer like actors and writers and artists used to when interviewed by congress: ‘i can neither confirm nor deny I am a [x]’.

    celebrate life. but don’t take your eye off the fight.

  • lady brett

    i have been completely unengaged. i don’t know if it is just my go-to mechanism to avoid having feelings, or my jaded ass feeling like while everything has changed…this is where we were before too, or just that my personal life has been so *much* recently that i can barely function through it. i suspect all of the above. i think my personal stuff is settling down into something sustainable, and it is important that, given the opportunity to completely rewrite what “normal” is for us, it include fierce activism and attention. also, fuck this noise. fuck this noise and lots of good punk music is as far as i’ve made it in my analysis so far.

  • stephanie

    Dear everyone: you can still buy these stickers & they only cost $1 & I just bought a whole bunch to put up all over my Trump loving town: https://shop.hillaryclinton.com/products/no-thanks-bumper-sticker-combo

  • AmandaBee

    So I’m working on my action plan, but what has been challenging for me is that my (white, straight, relatively privileged) husband has a really different reaction to stress and also doesn’t seem to fully recognize just how bad things could get for marginized people. So while I swing one way (obsessing over all the bad news, talking about it a lot, and wanting to get super involved) he swings the other (disconnecting, denial, assuming it’ll all be ok) and it’s been causing fights.

    Has anyone dealt with this in their relationship? To some extent, we can just do things in separate ways but when it comes to some things (like, I want to talk about it and he doesn’t) we have friction.

    FWIW he did agree we should do something and we set up a reoccurring donation to the ACLU. So there’s that!

    • Amy March

      I’m somewhat less of a talker about these sorts of things in my personal relationships- I just don’t honestly see how sitting around talking and obsessing over all the bad news helps anyone at all. It upsets me and does nothing constructive. For me, what would work are actually doing things, and it’s great you are on the same page with donations! That’s such a positive step! You want to get super involved? Awesome- I don’t really need you to be telling me about that all the time but you want to invite me to an event? Great I’ll be there. I think you have to start out changing the pattern by really accepting that both ways of dealing with this have their pros and cons, and it isn’t necessarily because he doesn’t care because of his privilege that he doesn’t want to be constantly obsessing over the news.

      • AmandaBee

        We’ve talked about different coping styles and that’s all well and good. But in this situation, the ability to cope with scary news via denial IS because of his (really, our) privilege. Lots of people have to pay attention, and to be upset, because it’s actually their rights at stake.

        I’m Hispanic and I work in education research, so much of what’s going impacts my family AND my job prospects (heyyy fed gov funding). To not talk about it would mean to basically not say what’s on my mind for the next…4 years+. I think he gets that it’s important to me, but doesn’t fully get how much or why. So that’s largely where we hit a wall, and I’m hoping someone who is currently dealing with this in their relationship could chime in on how they’ve navigated it.

    • Just Me

      I had to double check that I didn’t write this (down to the recurring ACLU donation that we just set up after finally talking more over the weekend)! My husband isn’t actually in denial that it could get really bad for marginalized people, but he’s also pretty sure that we can’t do that much to change things. I’m trying to figure out what I can do on the local level to actually help those people and am hoping that he’ll be willing to come along for the ride when there’s an actually a “thing” to do or not do.

      • AmandaBee

        This is a really good point – I do think my husband might be more responsive if there’s a local way to get involved and it’s more of thing to do vs. A Big Issue.

        Also, solidarity!

        • MDBethann

          My husband (white straight male) is quiet and introverted, but the election really upset him – as a father, he feels that elevating the T/P ticket to the White House has made it so much harder to raise our daughter because we want to teach our daughter that bullying, name calling, meanness, etc. are unacceptable but it’s harder now because those things won T/P the White House.

          He’s decided that economics and how he spends his dollars is a way to speak out. He’s decided to drop businesses that are HQed or warehoused in Pennsylvania (where we were born & raised, he’s really, really mad at PA) and instead patronize businesses that pay livable wages, treat employees well, and, where possible, are minority or woman-owned, especially when we are in the red parts of PA where our families live and we have to go on occasion (fortunately for us, our immediate families are blue in seas of red).

    • Ashlah

      Maybe this is too structured, but could you agree to a set amount of time each day/every other day to talk about it? I know emotions, and therefore your need to talk it out, don’t exactly function on a schedule, but maybe it’s a starting point in figuring out how to negotiate this with each other?

      My husband and I don’t typically differ on this, but there have definitely times throughout our relationship when he’s been more upset about something or wants to talk more about something when I’m desperately ready to move on (and I’m sure the opposite is true sometimes as well), so I can understand why this is a tough problem! Neither one of you is necessarily wrong in how you deal with your emotions, but I do agree that his privilege makes it easier for him to disconnect in this specific situation, and can definitely understand why it’s upsetting to you. People assuming it’s going to be okay are frustrating the hell out of me right now. At least he does agree with you on the larger picture and has been open to action!

      • AmandaBee

        I appreciate your understanding, and this seems like a good suggestion to bring up with him. We could probably work out some sort of reasonable limit to the amount of time or contexts in which we talk about it. As it is, we have certain times/contexts (date night, right before bed) that are off-limits for contentious issues. Usually stuff like our budget, but this could probably fall within there.

        This is probably all exacerbated by the fact that I have little/no real free time right now, so even if we talk about it for 30 minutes that might be half of our quality time that day. So hopefully it’ll get better as my time gets freed up, and things also feel less…raw.

      • Lisa

        This sounds a lot like what my doctor friend suggested to me over the weekend. When she was rotating through the PICU, she was worried and stressed out all of the time so she created something called “Worry Time.” It’s a structured time in the future of about 15-30 minutes before she has another activity (like going to the movies or working out), and that is the only time she allows herself to worry. That way, when she starts to get upset and her brain is buzzing, she can say to herself, “I can’t think about this right now, but I can explore it more during Worry Time tomorrow morning.”

        She said half the time she forgets what she was worried about, and the things that were important stick around. It helps to manage her stress levels and allows her to go about her day relatively normally. It’s something I’ve been trying to implement, too.

  • Elisa Becker-Herby

    I can’t even explain how badly I needed this article today. I feel exactly the same— unwilling to accept or normalize this situation, but also eager find my “new normal”, whatever that may look like. I need an existence that isn’t so paralyzing and angry every minute of the day (or depressed, anxious, sad, etc). One that is also balanced by action and standing up for what I believe in. I’m still trying to figure that out, but but I am very thankful to be part of a community that I can count on for support, ideas and solidarity. I have been donating to causes that I feel are threatened (HRC, Planned Parenthood), but it doesn’t quite feel big enough.

  • ART

    I was going to post in reply to someone but it got a little long sooo…I live in the “bluest of blue” SF Bay Area (well, except like, Peter Thiel, and plenty of others) – we have so much we can improve on locally! Just last night I heard something on the radio about Santa Clara County separating the ME’s office from the Sheriff’s Department to reduce the Sheriff’s influence on the ME’s investigations (now I can’t find anything recent about it online so I don’t know if they made that decision or just continued to think about it…I was driving and it was just a few sentences on our local public radio station). That seems like a huge step to me. I think going local is one of the most important things we can do right now. Look for a need in your city and look for people/groups working to fill it – planting trees in places with no green space, investing in public schools, supporting local arts, talking to the police about your support for deescalation practices and opposition to revenue generation models of policing.

  • AGCourtney

    bipolar + aftermath of this election = buckets of fun. I’m pulling myself together now, though, limiting my Facebook and setting up action plans.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    To my mind, if we let the bad ideas change our lifestyles, the bad ideas have already won. I’m holding on tighter now to just the everyday good things, like Starbucks. The United States can’t grow a lot of coffee, so my latte represents a commitment to international trade. I also have this theory that you can tell a whole lot about a society by how it waits in line. In the US, our lines aren’t super-straight, and they could be more efficient, but we really do have a turn-waiting culture, and I celebrate that.

    Tocqueville describes how democratic governments tend to just get bigger until no single citizen really understands what’s going on or can influence it – and therefore can’t protect themselves from government. To counter this, strong democracies develop “mediating institutions” – formal and informal smaller communities where ideas are shared and communities are bettered without direct government involvement. So for now I’m re-committing myself to the mediating institutions I’m already involved in (church, book club, private library, private school board), even though, or maybe especially because, they’re not directly partisan-political.

  • Kelly

    You must live near me!!!! I’m in Asheville.
    I called a local elected official’s office for the first time in my life this week. (Our shitshow of a NC governor.) And I’m ready to do a lot more of that. A lot of speaking out. A lot of acting out. A lot of donating.

  • Useful link for people planning on attending marches: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/11/digital-security-tips-for-protesters
    Make sure your media devices are fully encrypted; if possible, set them up to take photos and video without unlocking them; walk or cycle to the event so your license plate isn’t recorded.

    • Lexipedia

      Thank you! I work in tech advocacy/policy, and this week more than any time in my life (even just post Snowden) I’ve had people asking me about how to keep themselves safe. EFF has great resources – thanks for sharing them!

  • Eh

    Even in Canada people are using Trump’s election to defend their actions and bigoted views. Our conservative party is currently having a leadership campaign. Over the last year (since our last election when they lost and our former Prime Minister stepped down as their leader) people have been expressing interest in being their leader. The candidates are more or less set now and they are starting to have debates and events leading up to the party convention next year. One of the candidates is a Member of Parliament from the very conservative rural area I grew up in. She is actually one of the reasons they lost the last election. She announced that they were going to have a hotline to report “Barbaric Cultural Practices” which did not go over well with the voters. During the summer she claimed to be offended by people comparing her to Trump. Then when he was elected she congratulated him and said she wanted to bring some of his ideas to Canada (she has for sure brought his divisive style). Terrorism and immigration is a hot topic so her platform includes screening immigrants, refugees and visitors to Canada for “Canadian Values”. She hasn’t explained how that is going to protect us from terrorists (unlike security screening that currently takes place), and she hasn’t explained how the “Canadian Values” will be picked or how people will be screened, but she gave examples like being tolerant of different religions, cultures and sexual orientations. When asked if someone who is Catholic who does not believe in same sex marriage (something our laws have allowed for over a decade) would be allowed to immigrate to Canada she refused to answer it because she felt talking about specifics was trivializing the issue. It very much seems like this is dog whistle messaging and code word for “anti-Muslim”.

    • Ashlah

      “she felt talking about specifics was trivializing the issue”

      It is infuriating that anyone takes these people seriously.

      • Eh

        The person interviewing her challenged her on it and said that issues at the border is about specifics but she still refused to provide an answer.

        When asked (in a different interview) if she was concerned that racists might support her because of her platform she said that she was not racist and that she wouldn’t speak about other individuals.

        She wants to stand out and be constantly in the media so people know her name. She saw that it worked well for Trump.

  • Amy Sigmon

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Every time someone asks me how I am, I’m like- “fine? ok? Not great! Trump is still the President-elect! Are YOU ok? How? Why? DID YOU VOTE FOR HIM?” So yeah. I’m looking for ways to be an activist, I’m going to push beyond my circle of comfort to get to know more people who don’t look like me (white, hetero-presenting woman). And I’m getting ready for the holidays (and for Christmas with the REPUBLICANS, SWEET BABY JESUS), and cheering on my baby daughter as she learns to roll over, and dealing with potty training issues and writing grad school papers. Because that’s my life. But my life is also, very much now, taking on new responsibilities to oppose injustice and oppression in our country.

  • Amy Sigmon

    Oh hey- could I request a pre-holiday post for scripts for dealing with Trump supporters at the Holiday dinner table? Like, ways to deescalate a situation, OR, links to the SPLC for stats on the surging number of hate crimes, or I don’t know. Just help us not-natural debaters stand against racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc while also not burning down every bridge with our spouse’s uncle, perhaps?

    • Eh

      Thanks for starting this thread (I am not looking forward to seeing my husband’s uncle or some other inlaws this Christmas). The thing I am having a hard time with is what to do when someone says that they are sick of being called a racist, bigot, etc for not agreeing with progressives (when they say racist, bigoted things), or that Trump’s election shows that people are tired of being politically correct and using that to justify saying bigoted things.

      • Jess

        Over the last year, I have really tried to perfect the “I don’t agree with that statement” approach rather than the “That comment was racist!” approach.

        However, for the people that get all riled up about being PC and how we’re all just such so sensitive, I’m not really sure what *can* be done right now. I tend to say something like, “I don’t find that funny/I don’t believe that to be true/I find that comment to be inappropriate” and then either change the subject – sometimes I’ll even say, “I’m not really interested in continuing this conversation with you, but let’s talk about puppies (or whatever)” – or just turn to a different person next to me and start talking to them about something else.

        The attacks back (the “PC has really turned America into babies” or the “You’re just so sensitive” response) I either *ignore* blatently or respond with something like, “You’re right, I am sensitive to the way people talk about other human beings.” depending on how I think they’ll respond.

        • Alli

          Someone pointed out to me that many of the “I’m tired of everyone being so PC and sensitive” people are the same people that freak out over Starbucks cups not having enough Christmas imagery on them. I don’t know what to do with that info yet besides internally laugh/cry about it.

          • Eh

            And the ‘Keeping Christ in Christmas’ people. No one is telling you to say ‘happy holidays’ when you are a private citizen. At work, your employer might but generally the people posting this aren’t actually being told this.

          • Jess

            It is so very true.

            Right now, the only thing I can do about it is just laugh on the outside and cry on the inside.

        • Eh

          Thanks for the suggestions!

          I agree that calling people names is not a good way to go. My husband’s uncle believes that if you disagree with his bigoted comment then you are calling him a bigot. He also rants about how being PC is letting the terrorists win. I am not looking forward to seeing him at Christmas (but luckily I don’t have to see his FB rants anymore).

          • Jess

            I know those people.

            I can’t sit and say nothing, and there’s no arguing with stupid*, so all I can do is make my opinion known to them and try really hard to ignore them after that. If that makes me a wet blanket I’m pretty ok with it.

            *I acknowledge that many people do not see themselves as stupid, but truly, they are choosing to not understand the experience of humans in this world in a way that can only be characterized as ignorant.

          • Eh

            I’m having a much harder time siting by and saying nothing. My daughter is learning to speak (she’s 15 months) and understands even more than what she can say. She doesn’t understand this stuff yet but she will be for we realize it. My inlaws live in a small, white, Christian town. We live in a multicultural neighbourhood in the suburbs of a city. The stuff my inlaws say will not go over well where we live. I know that we have greater influence on her than they do since she is with us more, but we also need to set an example by showing her that what they say is wrong.

          • Jess

            Exactly, I can’t say nothing. I don’t have anyone small around that would be influenced by this talk, and I don’t expect that my statement will make a dent, but I can’t hear it and say nothing.

            So I say my short thing and then I have to walk away.

    • Jess

      I think it depends on what situations you’re expecting. Are you looking at distasteful jokes? Political rants/lectures? Real conversation where stats and numbers could be shared and believed?

      I’ve gone through all of them in the last year.

      Jokes I usually just look at them sideways or say, “Wow, that was pretty distasteful.” or “I don’t find that joke funny.” depending on how well I think somebody would take the remark. (If it’s someone who is usually pretty volatile, the sideways look and lack of laughter is a safer way to go)

      Conversations based in numbers and stats are good, if you’re up for them. If you’re not a natural debater (very much like me), you may not be most of the time. I’m sure more people can help with links and things. I tend to read a lot of articles and bookmark ones that have lots of numbers that pass the gut-check-for-truth. I had a couple of these with my mom wherein we really dug into some of the “black on black crime” vs distrust of police & how both related to police shootings, and they went fairly well because it was one on one and we came from a place of reason.

      Rants/Lectures are really tough because not only are you unable to stop them you usually can’t argue with them either. In these cases, if I’m not down for a fight in that moment, I usually just start up a different conversation with a group of people nearer to me, until the ranter loses their audience.

      If you have a couple allies in the family, that helps. I know I can always turn to R or I can always start up a conversation with my cousins to break up a lecture from my uncle. I can count on R to look at someone disapprovingly, or break up a situation with a lot more tact than I would.

    • Jess
    • Alli

      I’ve seen this https://www.splcenter.org/20150126/speak-responding-everyday-bigotry posted as a good starting point, though some of the phrases would definitely not work in my family dynamic. One tidbit in my back pocket right now is “Yeah I heard the KKK is excited, they’re having a parade in a few weeks.” Which may or may not result in me getting yelled at.

      At work my coworker told me about a conversation she had with our boss, where he made a joke about Trump deporting Obama, and she replied very calmly pointing out that she’s heard minorities have been getting yelled at and attacked since the election and even in schools kids are going up to other kids and asking why they haven’t left the country yet. His response was “I don’t think that’s true.” Like WHAT THE HECK DO YOU SAY TO THAT.

      • Jess

        “Yeah I heard the KKK is excited” I love this so much.

      • Eh

        I like the response to in-laws. I relate a lot to the woman who wrote it. It’s not my family of origin and I want my husband to maintain those relationships. But now that we have a daughter, I can’t have my daughter exposed to that. I think my FIL will react similarly to it (e.g., it might take a few times of us leaving but he’ll start to be careful with what he says).

      • Ashlah

        “Your level of belief in something has no bearing on whether it’s true. I can send you the stats.”

        But yeah, it’s really one of those signal moments that the argument with them might not be worth the energy or time. It reminds me of recently getting into a debate about abortion on Facebook (whoops). When I told him I couldn’t respond to a non-sequitur, he responded, “if i even knew what that ment,” as if I had screwed up and made a a poor argument by using a word he didn’t know. It was clear I’d made a mistake in engaging him and that he had no interest in listening, and I excused myself from the thread. I know I didn’t change his mind, but I hope other, more moderate people might have seen our discussion and thought more deeply about the issue because of it.

        • Lisa

          Ha, I had a discussion like that on someone’s status surrounding the word “creative” being used as a noun. (It was in an apology from a bank regarding a marketing campaign where they denigrated artistic professions.) I made some comment about the usage being more widely known now, particularly with the popularity of Mad Men, and someone said, “Well, I have no interest in watching that shitty show so of course I wouldn’t know that definition. The bank should only use works people actually know.”

    • Sarah E
      • Alli

        This is so helpful!

      • Ashlah

        This is great, thank you for sharing! Sending it off to my husband now too.

  • MrsRalphWaldo

    I’ve been struggling with this too. How do I go on living while still fighting for what I believe in. I reached out to several local organizations to volunteer my time, but have heard back from very few. If I’m not spending every minute being an activist, am I part of the problem?

    • Steph

      Yes to all of this. I’ve found calling elected officials to express concerns about Bannon as chief strategist have been helpful. It’s something small yet concrete that lets me know I am taking action and not just going back to sleep at the wheels

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        I’ve also downloaded the Countable app, which helps make me feel connected to my reps, but unfortunately I’m in a super red state, so every time I voice an opinion, the response from my reps is always essentially that they believe the exact opposite of me.

  • Offbalance

    I’m trying to remind myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. The days after the election were super-dark for me (even with a few suicidal thoughts flitting by that I had to tamp down with help). As absolutely dumb as it sounds, I have to remind myself of the things that give me joy in the world, no matter how small (we’re talking as small as clementines) that make me want to get up and fight for the world. And so far that’s working – limiting my access to the 24-hour news cycle and Facebook and just carving out time in the day to allow myself to be sad AND to be happy in order to be strong enough to fight and fight hard for every second of the next four years is important. I don’t intend for one second to allow for any of this to be peaceful for the other side, but I have to put my own mask on first.

  • Elisabeth N

    After the election I felt like I woke up from sleeping at the wheel, and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I was feeling really overwhelmed by all of the ideas and posts on FB, feeling like I could either do everything or nothing.

    A friend had the idea of doing our own 100 day plan, making sure to do little or big things every day to stay engaged. I’m the type of person who likes structure, so the idea really appealed to me. She’s starting on January 21, but I started yesterday in a dedicated notebook. I’m going to write in it each day about what I’ve done that day, things like (“called representative”), information that I found out and need (like said representative’s phone #), an event I attended, things I did (setting up monthly donations), an article I read and my response, etc. etc.

    My hope is it’ll help me feel engaged in a structured way that means I won’t get overwhelmed, but that will also keep me accountable. I’m hopeful.

    • Steph

      That is awesome! I’m loving my local pantsuit nation FB group for help with action steps and accountability