Many of us spent the better part of this week reeling. The shock and pain have had their use. We can continue to grieve for the America we thought we lived in – more inclusive, tolerant and loving on Monday than two days later, or so it felt. But, each at our own paces, we need to start finding ways to turn the pain to action. Here are a few ideas:
- Sign the petition. The electoral college system is screwed in many ways, but it’s what we’ve got. Until we abolish it (see below), we can use it to our favor. Electors vote on December 19th, and there is a mechanism whereby they can become “faithless electors” – not vote the way the voters they represent voted. It was put in place precisely to prevent unqualified individuals from assuming the office. Even in states where this is technically not allowed, the punishment is a small fine. Sign the petition. It’s currently at 2,239,656 signatures, and rising faster than nearly any petition in Change.org’s history. Click here to sign.
- Get rid of the electoral college. The anachronistic system, set up to give outsized representation to slave states, currently benefits small and rural states disproportionately. That’s how Clinton won the popular vote but still lost the election. (Also, Gary Johnson, I’m looking at you). The problem is that getting rid of it by amendment requires the ratification of the very states it benefits. So… probably not going to happen. There’s another way, though. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPVIC, is a coalition of states that agree to award their electoral votes to whomever wins the popular vote, regardless of who wins their state. The states that have signed on currently add up to 165, and 270 are needed. It’s a longer game, but it’s our best bet. Get informed on how this could happen: click here.
- Fix gerrymandering. Republicans put together a devastatingly effective plan to redraw districts after the 2010 Census. The result has been catastrophic at the state legislative level, the level where voter suppression and other key issues gets decided. The next battle comes in 2020, and Democrats are gearing up. Learn more: click here.
- Get an IUD. If you’re a woman of reproductive age, know that your right to choose and quite possibly your health care coverage are now in grave danger. It may become harder, and certainly more expensive, to access birth control. Getting an IUD now, before January 20th, will cover you for about 6 years… or long enough to survive this administration. You can always have it removed if you decide you do want to have a child after all. If you’re not a woman of childbearing age, tell the ones you know and love. It’s a tough conversation to have, but we’ll be having a lot of those in the next four years.
- Become a member of the ACLU. Our civil liberties, enshrined in our founding documents, are the hallmark of what has kept this democracy vibrant through countless challenges. We face a challenge, yes. But the ACLU has already taken a firm stance that it will vigorously oppose Trump if he attempts to enact any of his racist, xenophobic and dangerous campaign promises. They need you to stand with them today. Click here.
- Wear your safety. After Brexit, Britons started wearing safety pins to signify that they stood as a haven against hate. Who knew we would need that here? It’s a small gesture, but it lets people know that you are prepared to stand with them if they get accosted, harassed or threatened. And they’re $2.39 for 50, so give one to all your friends. (But only the safe ones, of course). Click here.
- Become an abortion clinic escort. Choice is in dire jeopardy. Abortion is a difficult and emotional choice. It’s made infinitely more painful by having to run a gauntlet of protesters on your way there. Click here to volunteer as an abortion clinic escort.
- Find a progressive organization to support. There are many, and they need you right now. Click here for a great list.
- Run for local office. Encourage a progressive you admire. A lot of the work will need to be done on a local level. School boards are important. Town councils are important.
- Identify three friends who didn’t vote and help them register for the midterm elections. Of 231,556,622 eligible voters, 46.9% didn’t vote, 25.6% voted for Clinton, 25.5% voted for Trump and 1.7% voted for Johnson. That means this was done to us by a small and dwindling minority who run the gamut from vicious racists to people who “wanted change” and were willing to overlook the abhorrent misogyny and xenophobia of the candidate. Part of the reason that voter turnout was so low is that this was the first election after the Supreme Court overturned the Voting Rights Act, leading to the closing of over 800 polling places and to race-based voter suppression and voter ID laws. It’s a blow, but it’s surmountable, and it begins with helping people to register to vote and driving them to the polls on election days. And midterm elections matter more now than ever before. They’re in two years. Time to get cracking today.
I’ll add to this list as more ideas become available, so feel free to email me at maria (at) mariaeandreu (dot) com with more suggestions. And spread the word. There’s a lot we can do and the work begins right now.
Teens: What you can do: Click here
Surviving in a post-fact Trumpian world: Click here.