We survived Thanksgiving. We can put off thinking about Christmas until at least December (which is Thursday, but let’s ignore that right now).
We’ve been through disbelief, sadness, anger, wallowing, back to disbelief (Bannon), anger (Bannon), recount-driven denial (damn you Rust Belt), more wallowing (Bannon). I took my Texans for Hillary sign down a week after the election (taking a nod from my across-the-street neighbor, who did the same). But I smiled today when I saw someone in another neighborhood who still had one out. I indulged my Anderson Cooper craving for a full two hours tonight because the Trump Twitter story is crack. Like most of us, I broke bread — and thankfully nothing else — last Thursday with family on the other side. And now we’re looking Christmas and Inauguration Day in the face like a honey badger.
I am overwhelmed when I go too far down this road. Just the posts from Pantsuit Nation — and its wonderful regional and local peers on Facebook — are overwhelming. The stories. The racist incidents. The love. The despair. The little girls dressed up in pantsuits. Not all families survived Thanksgiving, I learned. That in and of itself is overwhelming.
But what I’m starting to see that does not feel overwhelming are the stories of action — especially on the Pantsuit Nation offshoots. Those “Not Bannon” postcards to Trump? Brilliance.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook today: “Can’t find that ‘How To Save The World’ instruction manual anywhere.” I feel ya.
I went through so many emotions on November 9 and, by November 10, had made many fleeting decisions: I should run for office. I should, on principle, never speak to my Trump-voting family again. I should go to work for some political entity. I should … wait … I should do what I’m good at. I should, as the quote says, do what makes me come alive.
This blog is where that thank-god-only-in-my-head discussion landed.
It’s so easy to get distracted by how awful this is. It’s easy to pause our passion, pinning it on the recount or Trump’s business entanglements or Russia, or whether we’ll soon release Secretary of State Guiliani on the world (forgive us, baby Jesus). I could spend hours talking and posting and lamenting about the avalanche of trickle-down indecency Trump has inspired. Hell, I could spend hours talking and posting and lamenting about just one of Trump’s tweets. These rabbit holes feel so good to my tormented I’m-with-her soul.
But what are we going to do about it? I know you had your own thank-god-only-in-my-head discussion in the days after the election. Where did you land?
One friend of mine is considering running for the school board. Another for Congress. One says she’s going to spend four years not saying Trump’s name. Honestly, I’d like to see a lot more of the first two than the latter. Sure, it may feel good to make some personal protest like that, but I can’t see how that brings progressive ideas — those we may lose and those we haven’t won yet — to the forefront. But hey, if it keeps you off the Zoloft, go for it.
Again I ask, where did you land? What will you do?
I have a few ideas for myself:
• I will write a blog post every Monday to continue my mission: To tap into the energy of HRC supporters (and others) who are gutted by the fact that Clinton/a woman was not elected and to focus that energy into more than hating Trump. We need to organize and have our own movement. And with that movement, line up progressives deeply for years to come — including women — so we can start making changes we think America needs.
• I will do everything I can to call out fake news. I am a journalist. And the fact that we are having a discussion on fake news makes the honey badger almost worth it. I want the hashtag #makeamericacareaboutfactsagain to be a thing (copyright dibs!). I’m calling out friends and family members on Facebook that share less-than-stellar news sources — on both sides of the political spectrum. I am not so popular on Facebook these days.
• While I want to read all the beautiful and painful stories on Pantsuit Nation, I am going to read fewer (although I very much look forward to seeing what Pantsuit Nation transitions into). I am going to dive deeply into the local offshoots, which are now gathering and planning real strategies to support policies and politicians I believe in. From there, I will learn about specific things I can do and specific people I can support.
• Keep doing what you were doing on November 7. I’ve been involved with Congo Restoration, a sewing school in Eastern Congo, for seven years. I will go see the next class graduate in January and will solicit #GivingTuesday funds this week (click here if you’d like to help with that). I suspect many of us were already saving the world before we started gawking at Trump’s Tweets. Keep going.
Three things and one pat on the back. That’s not so overwhelming, right?
Right now, make a list of what this election brings out in you.
What are you most worried about? What makes you come alive? Then, what are you good at?
This is your map to changing — maybe even saving — the world.