I had a totally terrific discussion with my students today about next steps-- next steps if you are happy about the election results and if you, um, aren't.
If you're happy about the results, it's pretty simple: Don't be a bigot, and don't commit any hate crimes. And don't support policies that will kill the planet or its inhabitants.
If you're not? SO MUCH, guys!
1. Get off of Facebook. Especially the secret groups. If liberals learn nothing else from this election, we need to know that a bunch of elitist self-talk into the vacuum of people who think EXACTLY LIKE US is not helping ANYTHING. And might have just destroyed our damn country. And it's most definitely poised to ruin the shit out of some contentious Thanksgiving dinners.
2. Think beyond the safety pin. And the online petition. And the memes, no matter how clever they are. Look for practical ways you can act in your own community. Causes you can support with your money and your time. Community festivals you can attend that are put on by worthy organizations to raise money for their causes.
3. MARCH. Not because it will change the outcome of the election or because you simply want to shake your fists at the result. No, no, no. March because our collective bodies are creating space for our elected representatives to maneuver beyond crippling, conciliatory compromise.
4. Speaking of elected representatives, CALL THEM. Tell them Steve Bannon is not a good choice, and you demand that they speak publicly about him. Tell them you don't support hate or weakening of the free press or crackdowns on our rights to peaceably assemble. Tell them the American dream is big enough for everyone. Tell them that you care about reproductive rights and the environment and transparency of government. Don't write letters. Don't email. CALL.
5. Get back ON Facebook long enough to use it as an organizing tool. Call out to your friends. Make a plan to meet in your living rooms and make lists of your strengths and your resources and your connections and then use them to engage in your community and meet again to talk about your engagement and plot ways to engage some more and then go back out and come back together and repeat this cycle-- with cinnamon rolls and coffee because this is America-- until suddenly you are the change you want to see.
6. Run for office. Remember that all politics are local, and find out where you can serve. Your city clerk's office website is a great place to start.
7. Keep telling your children that love trumps hate, and show them how this happens. Build a Little Free Library and stock it with subversive books. Read bedtime stories about social justice. Fill a shoebox for a little kid who needs holiday cheer. Serve dinner at a homeless shelter. Ask for charitable donations in lieu of birthday gifts. Contact the school nurse or the social worker at your kids' school and ask what the need.
8. Donate to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence's name.
9. Read this and think about how you can teach new media literacy to the people in your life.
10. Start this amazing reading list and talk about it with your friends in #5.
What else can we do? I really want to know.