I’m giving you the opportunity, right now, to stop reading this. If you, like me, have been feeling overwhelmed and possibly bitter with the recent presidential election, and you would prefer not to think about it right now, now is your chance to stop reading.
Let me start by saying that at its bare political philosophy, America is a great country, with the possibility of equal opportunity for all, even if this country is in no way perfect. I’d also like to say that the United States has been spoiled. We have gone through recent generations of folks (nonimmigrant) who have no idea what it is like to live under a dictator, an especially oppressive regime, to witness coups and hostile takeovers and military states, to recently see its greatest cities and countrysides completely ravaged by the destruction of war.
So it is understandable for some to immediately panic when the highest office in this country is won by a lackluster business mogul/reality T.V. star/bigot who openly jokes about sexual assault. What that reaction is, and what it should be, are now the most important points moving forward in this country. Reactions post-election have varied from shock and displeasure to jubilation from Americans and White Nationalists alike. Discussions of leaving the country and motions for vote recounts have been considered and materialized.
Rather than Google cost of living in Toronto, take this moment to think about the situation we are in. We are here; think about how we got here, what ‘here’ means, not only for this country but for the world at large, especially for virtually every non-white, non-male citizen. Terrifying possibilities and historical parallels seem to loom like black clouds over Western culture. Yeah, it’s scary. It’s serious. You’re scared, I’m scared, and if you’re not odds are you share physical traits with the President-Elect or you’re just not paying attention.
Here’s how we move forward: reach out to local and national institutions. Contribute time and/or money to organizations that fight for progress, organizations like the ACLU, NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, EarthJustice, the list goes on, and a link for a more comprehensive one appears at the end of this post. This can seem like a scary situation but the moment also affords people the opportunity to come together and show that there are those that are willing to fight for civil liberties and against hate-fueled entrenched American ideals. Ideals that once loomed more abstractly but with the 2016 election have been once again brought to the forefront of American politics and philosophy.
I’m optimistic about the future of this country though, because of the citizens living in it. I came into this election thinking that someone who alienated so many people in this country could not win the general election. I was wrong. Yet this is the moment, in the face of adversity, when true courage emerges, and every citizen of this country has the tools to make their voice heard.
If grainy black and white WWII propaganda footage was playing in your eyelids early Wednesday morning when the call came in, I get it. However, if it’s still there when you shut your eyes, stop. Open them. Look around. Look at the people fighting to preserve the liberty and justice this country and any respectable democracy should stand for. Don’t just help these people, be one of these people. Look around and you’ll find plenty of reason for hope.
Here’s a list of groups in need of help.