And now we slow our tears and lock arms.

I almost titled this, “And now we stop crying and FIGHT!” – but that felt off.

Partly because the hurt runs deep and I’ll be honest…I’m still crying. But also because I’m not the run-through-the-fields-screaming-into-battle type. Today I do feel different…and ready to act. But maybe I’m just not the type to run into battle with a weapon drawn. Instead, I guess I’m here to protect the people I’m fighting for. That’s more my jam. I’m going to hug you and shield your eyes from the war around you. I’ll stand strong with my weapon drawn in case they come for you. I’ll lock arms with capable people around you – people like me with little to lose – and I’ll build my own wall to protect you.

But I’ll probably still be crying while I do it, if that’s okay. I told myself I could cry for 24 hours and then I had to stop. But who am I kidding? I still think about that OnStar commercial from many years ago when the girl’s Mom was having a seizure and I cry. I’m not going to stop crying about this election over night.

BUT I HAVE MANY THINGS I NEED TO DO AND SAY! So I’ll wipe away the tears as they fall and try build my plan.

First and foremost: I was hurt by people celebrating yesterday…but I expected that. I mean, I have people in my family who openly hated Hillary and supported Trump and openly hated Obama and are so thrilled to see him gone…so OF COURSE they’re going to celebrate. And that hurt, for sure. But I think what hurts most is the “middle” people. The ones who I think might have the same ideals I do, but don’t voice them, and are just annoyed at the political talk. They’re like, “Time to work together!” or “I thought the political talk was going to stop!” Things like that. And I’ll be honest…it’s always people like me: Cisgender, White, Middle Class, Heterosexual relationships.

We have nothing to lose. So of course we’re all, “NBD. Let’s just work together!”

But here’s the thing…if Trump follows through on his campaign promises and we all have a reason to fight. And we don’t really know right now, but there are a ton of easy things he could do early on. For the environment alone he could pull funding from climate protection programs with the UN (supposedly to “pay for infrastructure” which sounds great but we are further behind efforts to protect our climate, than we are to improver our roadways, it should not be a one-or-the-other game) and he push forward on the Keystone Pipeline that Obama blocked in acknowledgement of the protests. That’s just the environment. He could also remove the executive order protecting LGBTQ workers and he’s DEFINITELY NOT going to continue to support the directive regarding Transgender students that Obama pushed in the wake of the North Caroline bathroom controversy.

So…I would really like my privileged friends to quit asking me to stop talking politics and to work with Trump supporters. If there are big issues we can team up on? I’m not against it. But right now I need to figure out how to protect the people that Trump’s campaign ran on hurting. Wesley said there was a Mexican girl crying about Trump at school yesterday. Maybe she’s a citizen but her parents are not and she was hoping Obama’s executive action would have helped her parents become citizens. Which, of course was already thwarted when SCOTUS deadlocked over the Texas lawsuit against it…but imagine a child citizen with illegal parents. You’ve been holding out hope and now Trump won. Maybe it’s okay for those kids to be upset. And maybe those of us wanting to fight for them will continue to talk politics awhile.

Some of us are not willing to just “let this one go” – which I did fine for the Bush elections. Well, not FINE, but I sucked it up and went about my business. But this is different. It’s different because I’ve been spoiled by 8 years of moving in the right direction, and the President Elect is not Bush. He’s Trump. Bush I could fall back on as having experience and education and I felt like he was a good person at heart. I still stand by his Housing First initiatives as being revolutionary in tackling homelessness.

With Trump it’s a whole other story. I don’t want to hear, “I sucked it up with Obama, you can suck it up with Trump.” Obama didn’t get elected into office by saying he was going to take away rights that people were already enjoying. Maybe he supported gun control but he was NOT going to remove the 2nd amendment. AND – because of the GOP control of Congress, he couldn’t even push mild gun control legislation. So the fear Obama Haters had can not equate the fear Clinton Supporters have of losing their rights to their own bodies, or their rights to not be fired from jobs because they’re gay, or their rights to medical coverage even with pre-existing conditions. Trump won based on promises to remove those things…so there’s a lot more to fear than I ever felt with Bush and that anyone (who had factual news sources) should have felt with Obama. Also? Obama didn’t have a Democratic Senate/House and a Liberal SCOTUS. My conservative family could at least hope for the balance of power to help keep Obama “in check” – but we don’t have the luxury right now. The GOP essentially controls everything and now Trump will probably nominate the 9th judge on SCOTUS.

So please don’t minimize my fears or the fears of the marginalized. Thanks.

If you’re with me and need to know what to do now…here is my plan as it stands.

Amplify Important Voices

People click links on Facebook and Twitter. It’s actually one of the biggest ways people get information. I am determined to continuing amplifying messages delivered from people smarter than myself. I’ve always had a VERY well-curated Twitter feed. But I also curate a few Twitter lists, some are for local stuff, but I have one called “Important Voices” that I update/add to regularly. Now, it’s predominantly writers from the Black Lives Matter movement because that’s how the list got started. I needed voices I would not hear in my normal circle of influence. This means I find myself bristling a lot to hard to hear messages but I find they’re all very important. I try to amplify their voices in my community because they’re delivering messages my privileged circle of influence might not ever hear otherwise. I’ve learned there are always lessons to be learned when I am uncomfortable. I used to fight that discomfort, I would immediately get defensive. But not anymore. Now I bask in it and try to learn from it.

Share great messages all of your social media because I have been told time and time again that links I’ve shared have help shift people’s perspectives. If no one cares? No harm done. But if you can help ONE person see the plight of the marginalized differently? It’s worth it. Especially important messages like this that could honestly save lives:

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Do you have any voices you think I should have on my list?

Educate Myself so I can Educate Others

We have two months before Trump officially takes office and we need to be ready. We need to be educated and we need to educate others. I’m very educated already about LGBTQ issues as those issues directly affect my family. If you are not, I suggest you get on a mailing list for PLAG or The Human Rights campaign. Educate yourself on Transgender language issues. Learn about the horrible statistics relating to crime against members of the Transgender community. Learn the painful numbers about suicide in the LGBTQ teen community. And imagine yourself as a teenager as you read all of this.

On the other hand, as I’ve become more involved with the Black Lives Matter movement I’ve been amazed at how little I know about the systemic racism our friends of color have faced. My beautiful internet friend Leah wrote a good piece A White Lady’s Guide To Systemic Racism that is full of her own lessons. Follow the links and learn. One of the most SHOCKING things for me to learn was about A) how much our country desperately needed Fair Housing legislation due to ACTUAL LEGAL DECLARATIONS keeping black Americans (including vets) from getting home loans and then B) how poorly it was enforced when we finally got it. Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote a lot at ProPublica about it – here’s a good primer if you want to read. Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law. If you prefer to listen, she was also part of this podcast which is what prompted my journey into educating myself. You learn a lot about the roots of systemic racism when you educate yourself on struggles we didn’t know existed.

I also learned (painfully) a lot about how there was no open invitation or mutual support of Women of Color in the efforts to gain the right to vote. Here is a good piece here that makes me sad and makes it difficult for me to revere Susan B. Anthony anymore. Also? How did they not include this in the history books? That white women felt the ONLY way they could get the right to vote was if they kept black women who wanted to HELP THEM FIGHT, in the shadows. One of my favorite voices is Stacey Patton who wrote all of these suffragette quotes on Facebook and they broke my heart. Educate yourself, learn to be comfortable in the discomfort. We must know our history if we’re going to prevent it from happening again.

And then, educate yourself on our current criminal justice system. Watch “13” on Netflix and learn the tragic story of Kalief Browder. Watch John Oliver’s piece on the Municipal fines and how poor people are being screwed over by our system and getting stuck in a hell of fines that leads to jail time.

Those are just the ways this white woman found she was severely under-educated over the last year. So I’m going to re-up my own education so I can be prepared to fight for reform where we need it.

President Obama really tried to increase mental health services as part of our federal budget. He was thwarted in many ways. Why is this important? So middle class white ladies like me can go to their therapist and talk about their feelings? NO. Because it should not be the Law Enforcement community’s job to be the first line of defense in a mental health crisis situation. We should have resources in our communities where a police officer could send someone to a mental health facility instead of to jail. But so many communities lack that so mental health cases wind up booked in jail and we bog down our police and our system with non-criminal activity. We are having to focus too much on training our officers in mental health cases when we should instead build stronger systems in our communities so our police could deal with crime. Our country has been closing down mental health facilities left and right because it’s just not a pretty line item in our budget. If you really loved the Thin Blue Line, you would fight for funding for mental health facilities in your area.

Those are just a few areas I’ve been working on educating myself. There’s also the environment but there are SO MANY different ways to educate yourself about the environment. Unfortunately, the easiest and biggest way we could all help the environment is to Stop eating meat but I’ve learned that’s a touchy subject so maybe we just continue to fight against pipelines for now? I’d love some more environmental education sources so I don’t have to keep saying, “Just stop eating meat!” as my only opinion.

Do you have any resources for educating yourself you’d like to share?

Donate. Donate. Donate.

Maybe you don’t have time to educate yourself. Jezebel made a list of good resources of groups fighting for the people who might be affected the most from a Trump presidency. These are all organizations doing what we might not be qualified to do ourselves. Stand in court. Offer professional services. Rally lobbyists. Etc. They need our money.

I also am a big proponent for funding good news sources. I am a regular contributor to MotherJones as I want to continue to support non-Profit news sources. I also really like ProPublica and of course NPR. I find that news sources that profit are more likely to be skewed for media hype and clickable headlines. No news source is ever going to be unbiased. But if they’re not making money off their headlines or their news tickers, they’re going to be motivated by a little more pure intentions.

Where are you sending your money?

Finally…I’d like to include a link I just stumbled upon this morning. It’s a beautiful letter written by Aaron Sorkin to his daughter. My adult child was in shock about the election. He actually consoled ME at one point which made me more motivated to PULL MY SHIT TOGETHER. He did get a cat. He’s calling it his “therapy cat” which I think we all need right now.

I can not tell you how much I love you all. I had so comments and emails from people that were basically virtual hugs. Every one of them made me stronger. We are still very much open to moving, but we also know that our state doesn’t have a lot of voices here for the marginalized, so until we move, we’re going to do what we can to be part of the change because we are, as always, Stronger Together.

21 Comments

  • Mary

    Thanks for this! I am trying not to be one of the mean voices out there (A lot of people on FB who are Trump supporters are mistaking our sadness for meanness? Is that really a thing?), but I am so disappointed and sad and concerned about so many people. I am also a middle class white girl (and we deserve our therapy too, as you know), and I feel both like I don’t have a huge stake and like EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE (more often this, clearly). I can’t stand by and not fight for what I believe in. However, I also can’t fall down the rabbit hole of despair. I appreciate that you strike a nice balance.

  • Kathy

    Just want to say real quick that those supporting Trump did not “suck it up” ,as they like to say, during the Obama administration. They allowed Congress on many many occasions to not do their job. They allowed Congress to not hold hearings on a new Justice to the Supreme Court. They fanned the flames of the birther ridiculousness.

    Now, back to reading your post.

  • Colleen

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been feeling much like I did after 9/11, like a terrible disaster has occurred. I know that to get past this, I need a plan, so thanks for the suggestions to get me started thinking about it when I’m ready.

  • Monica

    Thank you for all these suggestions and ideas. I need all the help. I spent yesterday in despair. And shock. I just kept saying I can’t believe this and I don’t know what to do.

  • Amber

    I have a very close friend who posted on Facebook yesterday that the election of a president will NOT change your life and that non-Trump supporters need to stop being upset. I was disappointed when I read that. Here is a close friend, who I love dearly, saying that Trump will not change our lives. No, he probably won’t change her life, but the world is a lot bigger than your circle of friends. My daughter also came home from school telling me that her teacher cried just like I did. Her teacher sent out an email letting us know that some of her students were scared. Scared that they would lose their friends, lose her as a teacher, all because of the color of their skin. She wanted us to know that she had to tell them that no one was going anywhere. I know she was probably concerenced by how some parents would react. I had done so well all day, but at that moment I lost it. I have decided that I can no longer stand back in the crowd and let other people do the work for me. I have to be vocal, be out there, and show my daughters that together we can accomplish great things. I can understand why some people voted for Trump. Michael Moore has a great article he actually wrote weeks ago about how/why Trump was going to get elected. We have to hold Trump responsible and his voters responsible. Local elections, state elections, mid-term elections, they are all important. Change starts local.

  • Lisa Harris

    I am not an eloquent speaker/writer but I feel compelled to try to speak what is in my heart. While I don’t support Hillary I certainly don’t feel like statements like these represents me or my family ….that we are racist, sexist, homophobic, ok about sexual assault…..this hurt my feelings….without going into personal details about my family I will just say that we are none of those things.

    I don’t think we are so far apart in what we value and want to protect.

    • zoot

      Lisa – I would never say that about you. I’m basically the lone Hillary supporter in my family. I don’t think all Trump voters are racist etc. However, Trump supporters are just as guilty of using inflammatory language towards Hillary supporters. Unfortunately I know this from experience as well.

      I try my best to be respectful with how I discuss my views. I won’t be quiet about them (obviously) but I try to cite sources etc.

      I will say that my friends who are minorities, especially my Muslim friends who fear being put on some database, view Trump as very much a racist. And so it’s hard for them to look at voters for Trump as anything but “supporting a racist”. And while I would not use that language, I see the hurt in their heart and their words and hope that you know that when people say stuff like that, it means they have deep wounds somewhere.

      I hope I’ve never said anything like that to you. I don’t view trump as Homophobic. I think he’s Transphobic, which a lot of the country still is, but I don’t see him as Homophobic.

      Language is very important. I have family that constantly says, “Obama ruined our country!” and I always get my heart hurt because Obama did so many great things for my family and friends and it’s hard to not think of that when other people who love me say he ruined the country.

      I try my best to be careful with my words, but I hope I’ve never crossed the line.

      • Cheryl

        I’m certain many Trump supporters are not racist or sexist, Lisa, but you have to own EVERY part of the candidate you vote for. Most people I know who voted for Trump were “he’s not the establishment” or “jobs, jobs, jobs” and while that may be true, he is also “they’re rapists and drug addicts and some may be good people”. You can’t just vote for the one part of Trump. If that were true, I might have voted for that part too, but the “outlawing Muslims” part of Trump was too anti-founders for me. It specifically says in the Constitution that we are free to practice any religion without interference from government and asking everyone what religion they practice is way too close to Constitutional over reach for me.

        While I can’t stand how Hilary just does the stupidest stuff sometimes KNOWING that her opponents are just looking for this kind of stuff makes me insane, I still own that part of her as well as the diplomatic experience and the rest of the stuff I liked.

        I get why people like some of his message, but he is ALL of his message and while individuals may only support the “jobs jobs jobs” part, the rest of us get the WHOLE candidate so forgive me if that part of the candidate scares me.

      • Lisa Harris

        Thank you for responding. I believe that you work really hard to not offend and you are always gracious with your posts. I can always feel what you are trying to convey.

        What I was referring to is some generalized things being said about people who voted for Trump. My family is fairly diverse so I am sensitive to matters of race and Homophobia. I am not an overly religious person either especially when religion is not open and accepting.

        For the record I think people are ignorant (uninformed) when they say Obama ruined our country. What I will say is I think we need a break from the way our current parties operate. I am not sure how to put this but it is both a democratic and republican issue. The people that we elect are so beholden to their supporters who gave money to their campaigns that it is an endless loop that almost never gets anything accomplished. Not sure how to solve that but I can be a better person and extend my help where I can to support those who may not have a voice.

        Hugs….you are a kind person so please keep up your efforts.

  • Linda

    Thank you. I’m fortunate to be in a position to contribute financially. I made one donation yesterday, and another today thanks to the links you published. I will continue to do so monthly.

  • Beth

    I feel like you have become my teacher and I have just been given a months worth of homework. I will do it. I was trying to be accepting and wait and see yesterday- but thats not going to work for me or anyone else. So its time to educate myself and focus on where i can do the most good.

  • Vedjen

    Kim — I love this post. I’ve also been crying since Tuesday and not knowing what else to do have been self medicating my hurt and growing frustration with my fellow Americans. I’m horrified by my FB feed and I’m in a blue state. I’m struggling to wrap my head around how we can all be so different in terms of human respect. I’m horrified about what Trump is going to do. I’m not much of a fighter either but I can no longer be quiet. Thank you for the motivation and links to help me further educate myself and my family.

  • Crystal Moran

    I’m Mexican American, I have a son and a daughter who are Mexican American and I was one of the ones that cried the morning after elections. I cried in bed early in the morning when I first found out, I cried when I talked to my 15 year old son about it and I’m still so so sad. I cried not so much because Trump had won, but because I feel that most of the people who voted for him are racist and mysoginists and probably are now feeling more emboldened to show their true colors.

    I’m not naive enough to think that this is something that can get reversed, I’m not demanding a recount as he won fair and square, but I AM scared. Thank God all of my family are legal immigrants…except for my new sister in law and her high school age brothers and her mom…what’s going to happen to them? Her 7 year old son and my 8 year old daughter were both scared of Trump winning. I did not instill fear in my daughter, but she got scared listening to him in a debate. What is this wall that he’s talking about, Mom? Does this mean we can’t visit my grandparents and they can’t visit me anymore? Why is he talking about babies ripped out of woman’s bodies?

    While I do accept his win, I am now looking for opportunities so that this can’t happen again. Something that I can hold on to to make the next election better and to make the next 4 years more bearable. Thank you for the outlet and lots of hugs for you and your family.

  • AmandaL

    Thank you for saying this! One of the reasons I’ve loved your blog for so long is that it’s like a mirror… only a much more eloquent one. I truly appreciate the links to resources, as well – I will be checking out some new Twitter feeds this evening, and subscribing to some new Facebook pages.

  • Leah

    Thanks for this great roundup. Having something to DO can make all the difference when working through our grief. The most interesting thing I’m learning is that many of my family members who voted for Trump were as afraid of Hillary, like literally afraid of her policies, as I am about Trump. I really had no idea. They were afraid of losing their small businesses and tired that no one was listening to their complaints for years and years in Washington. I have a hard time listening because at the end of the day I feel like they were able to excuse his very real and terrible behavior and words toward women, minorities, the disabled and pretty much everyone who isn’t a white man, and everything they fear (I feel) about Hillary is hypothetical, but I’m really trying to listen. I don’t ever want to get blind-sided like this again. It’s imperative to understand all points of view and I haven’t been doing that.

    • zoot

      I’m embedded in a conservative state and family and have a lot of very terrified conservative family that were in tears they were so happy with the results yesterday. They were also convinced their lives would end with Obama’s administration and I heard that fear and often tried to help appease it (mainly by reminding them the second term that he had a GOP filled Congress) but they were still terrified. Seeing that fear definitely makes me have empathy because it’s so palpable.

      However, I also feel like they would be less fearful if they would diversify their media exposure. You know? And no matter how many times I point out that Fox News makes money of their fear, they don’t seem to care. Or worse, they turn to Alex Jones who REALLY makes money of their fear.

      But that has also helped motivate me to make sure my media sources are diversified. Because I’ve seen what having ONE type of source of news does to a person. They were TERRIFIED with Obama’s election. They hate everything he’s done in 8 years and are thrilled to see him gone. It’s very strange to see what limiting your media exposure to ultra-conservative sources does.

  • Lindsey

    Yes. I definitely felt the need to take action after having a day of grieving. I decided to finally take the step to volunteer for a Board for my city, with the ultimate goal of running for City Council and then seeing where that takes me. I’ve also committed to volunteering at our local kids clothing charity that distributes clothes and diapers to more than 8K kids in the region each year.

  • Heather

    Kim, I adore you. You have said this so well and you are remarkably gracious. You have been a big influence in my own understanding of gay and trans rights (and watching Eliah grow up has been a big part of that too. He is such a great “kid” and it’s been awesome seeing him develop his voice.)
    Right now, I live in Northern Alberta, which is a lot like Texas I think, or another southern state. People actually put Confederate flags on their trucks. In Canada. Really.
    A lot of the race issues we deal with up here are in regards to Aboriginal people and how we, as whites, have treated First Nations and the fallout from that. It’s enormously important for me to check my own privilege especially since I’m working for the government and part of “the system”.
    Anyway, I guess I just want to say – you make me think. Thank you.

  • junkie

    I’m just so incredibly proud to call you my friend. That’s about all I can manage to type out here through the tears.

    OH…one more thing, actually…if/when y’all are ready for it? WA is ready for you with open arms!!! ?