Friday, November 18, 2016

Anti-Trump People, How's Your Health?

My tension level was high during most of the presidential campaign. Even though I thought Trump wouldn't win, I couldn't believe someone like him could actually run for the office and be taken seriously. It was wildly frustrating to hear people (some of them friends of mine) talk about how he was going to make America great again, while I saw him in a completely different light--someone I wouldn't even want to have dinner with.

Now that he's the President-Elect, my blood pressure is almost as high as my tension level, and the fibromyalgia I've had for decades has kicked into high gear. I was awakened several times last night with hip and knee pain, and it was a tough job persuading myself to get out of bed this morning. It's time to get proactive about my health, even though it seems there isn't much I can do about the White House.

My blog post today comes to you from Dear Prudence, a.k.a. Mallory Ortberg, who writes the advice column for Slate. I hope it's okay to post an excerpt here, crediting both Ortberg (I mean Prudie!) and Slate. I have the feeling lots of us can use her advice right now.

Dear Prudence,
Do you have any advice for we who opposed a Trump presidency? Now that we fear seeing Roe v. Wade overturned, worsening climate change, hatred and bigotry stirred up? Discovering that our neighbors, colleagues, and acquaintances voted for this racist, xenophobic madman? How can we cope, and what can we do in our own small part to resist this? I for one feel gobsmacked. Do you have any suggestions for taking back our power? (Please don’t say, “Just give him a chance”—because we don’t want him to get a chance to implement all his vitriol.)
—How to Cope in the Post-Trump World
I do not think “give Donald Trump a chance” is a useful piece of advice, although plenty of people who ought to know better have suggested it over the last week. I think Donald Trump has had a more than adequate chance to demonstrate his values over the decades of his life as a public figure; we have all the information we need to make an informed assessment of his character. I think he did not initially disavow his endorsement by David Duke and other white nationalists because he did not wish to, because his very political existence depends upon their support, and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous. I think he chose a running mate who supports LGBT conversion therapy because he does not care about the safety or well-being of queer people, and I think he called for a national database of Muslim people because he doesn’t care about religious freedom and is happy to profit from Islamophobia. I think he mocked a disabled reporter because he doesn’t care about people with disabilities. I think he is exactly the person he has presented himself as. I think there is no reason to expect him to suddenly display restraint after being given presidential power.
As for what you can do as an individual right now, a few suggestions:
Donate whatever time or money you have available to organizations like the ACLU, the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Campaign Zero, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the Trevor Project, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Contact your local mosque or Muslim Community Center and offer your services as a volunteer and tell them you support them. Contact your congressperson/representative/state legislators and offer specific calls to action, whether that be that they vote for or against a proposed legislation, whether you want them to sponsor a bill, or make a public statement. (In many locations, representative’s offices are required to read all physical mail; consider calling or writing an old-fashioned letter before sending an email.) Offer support to the people in your life whose safety and well-being are particularly threatened by this white nationalist wave. Challenge racism and obfuscation of motives when you see it (“I’m so economically anxious I had no choice but to vote for a misogynist bigot”); do not use euphemisms and gentler language for the sake of comity to describe the ugly things you know to be true.