As I am writing this, we are, as a nation, now well entrenched in the national nightmare and international embarrassment otherwise known as the presidency of Donald Trump.
Soon after his election, I began writing down daily reminders of specific actions that I can do to help myself psychologically, spiritually and politically survive this most contentious of moments in American history. Out of these desperate scribblings, I have fashioned seven things that, I believe, will help me actively achieve these goals. I share them here with the reader with the hope that other like minded individuals will be encouraged and energized by practicing them as well.
In no particular order, here are the seven actions I came up with:
1. Take A Step Back And Breathe
First things first – everyone, everyone – take a moment, take a step back and breathe. It has been a dizzying, frenetic and at times disconcerting ride since this past November 8th and barring a seismic political event like Trump’s impeachment or resignation, which still very conceivably may happen, the maniacal roller coaster ride we are on as a country will continue for the foreseeable future. No matter what happens with any of the current investigations of the ties between Russia and the members of the Trump administration or with any of the potential military actions that Trump orders in an attempt to distract the American populace; the fight against the Donald and the politics of destruction he embodies is going to be at least a four-year ideological war with innumerable political battles and skirmishes along the way.
As freedom loving and Trump opposing Americans, in this moment and time, we are all in the opening stages of the fight of our lives. As our response to Trump and his minions being in the White House takes shape, the future health of our republic hangs in the balance.
In some instances, the damage that is going to be caused by the current administration, is going to take years to fix.
For some of us, the struggle to contain and fix the carnage wrought by Trump and his cohorts will consume the rest of our lives. Pause on the veracity of this, ruminate on it and what it means for you and your family, take the aforementioned step back and exhale, because this fight that we are now involved in is just beginning.
Feeling angry about having to live any part of your life with the orange menace holding the most powerful office in the world? Feeling powerless at the sight of his gargantuan incompetence? Feeling distraught about the potential lasting devastation to our common social fabric that his administration is going to do?
Do something about it this very minute, if you haven’t done so already, by making a personal resolution to push back against Trump and his policies.
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. MAKE THE DECISION TO RESIST.
There is no possibility of helping change the course of history until you do this one simple thing:
Channel your anger, fear, despair, depression, etc. into a commitment to fighting back, and you just may save your life, the lives of your family members and the life of America herself.
The time for whispering is over. Shout your disapproval at where we find ourselves at this moment, in the history of our country and make a vow to RESIST, RESIST and RESIST.
3. Arm Yourself With Knowledge
One of the essential principles of engaging in any political / social resistance is arming yourself with the knowledge of who and what you are resisting and how best to begin effectively engaging your identified adversaries.
When it comes to taking on the evil monstrosity that the Trump administration is, we have to recognize that we are actually up against a two headed beast with the dual heads being Trump himself and his Republican enablers in Congress. Donald Trump’s unlikely rise to the presidency was made possible, in large part, by his ability to tap into the GOP’s twofold antipathy towards Barack Obama and the progressive political accomplishments of the last 100 years.
Trump, to the GOP, represents one of the best opportunities they are ever going to have at eliminating, gutting and dismantling a large number of these progressive advances and thereby significantly moving the social and legal landscape of our country to the Right of the political spectrum.
As part of our resistance, we should not only track the machinations of Trump and his administration but those of members of Congress as well, with an eye on making them severely pay politically in the midterm elections of 2018 for even tacit support of Trump.
If we can do this (and possibly return control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats), we can undercut and potentially limit the power of both heads of the dual headed monster in the last two years of Trump’s tenure (assuming that he is still there) and help set the table for completely taking back Congress and the Presidency in 2020.
In that spirit, a great way to start taking the fight to the aforementioned Republican members of Congress is by reading and following the advice contained in the Indivisible Guide, a freely available how-to political action manual written by ex-Democratic congressional aides who modeled it after the tactics that helped the tea party block President Obama’s agenda.
Among other things, it calls for putting immense political pressure on representatives and senators in their home districts by flooding their town hall meetings, showing up at their local offices and calling them out if they refuse to meet.
It’s inspiring opening paragraph, which has become a mantra for the Trump resistance, reads like this:
Donald Trump is the biggest popular-vote loser in history to ever call himself President-Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the Members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.
As a supplement to this essential guide, another useful site / smartphone app which strictly concerns itself with calling members of Congress (another effective way of taking the fight to them) is 5calls.org. You just enter your zip code, pick your cause, read some background info on the issue. Call your senators and local representatives that it identifies for you tailor the suggested talking points for the issue and then record the result of your call (whether or not you got through, left a voicemail or skipped it), so it can go into the overall tally on the site.
It’s mission can be summed up on its home page which reads:
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
Turn your passive participation into active resistance. Facebook likes and Twitter retweets can’t create the change you want to see. Calling your Government on the phone can. Spend 5 minutes, make five calls.
Absorb the above concepts, and you will be well on your way to becoming one of the armed anti -Trump political warriors that this country and the world so desperately needs right now.
It is a truism in life and in any political/social movement that talk minus action equals zero.
There comes a time in every movement when individual rhetoric becomes increasingly useless without a matching and focused show of effort from individuals towards achievable goals. In other words, if you are truly passionate about your cause, you should be deciding, at some point, how best you are going to contribute to its success.
The two easiest ways to contribute to the resistance against Trump are by either giving your time by volunteering or by giving from your finances (or both) to organizations/sites that are already heavily involved and invested in the conflict.
Besides the two sites referred to in number 4 above, four of my other personal favorite organizations/sites to keep up to date on activism opportunities and to contribute financially to are:
ACLU.org, MoveOn.org, Daily Kos and Common Dreams.org.
While these are obviously not the only worthy ones, you will find that each one of them is particularly tireless in their determination to effect positive change for all of America’s citizens. Visit their websites and determine how best to start contributing today.
5. Communicate With Others
One of the best things about getting involved in any significant political/social movement is being able to communicate directly with other like-minded individuals and the refreshing realization that comes along with it that you are not alone in your beliefs or desire to bring about change.
In the struggle against the misogynist and racist-in-chief Trump, we need to be encouraged by the fact that we already outnumber him and his followers.Translation: there are droves of other resistors out there!
Make it a regular habit of interacting with other resistors however you feel most comfortable – be it in person at events and group meetings or via the internet (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) it will help you feel the confidence and spirit that this movement already possesses.
6. Take Care Of Yourself
In the midst of all of your resisting, there is one singular thing that you absolutely can’t forget to do, and that is to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF BY NOT FORGETTING TO LIVE. Don’t let the fact that Donald Trump is president rob you of the joy of living, of laughter or your desire to pursue your dreams. Life itself is still precious, and every breath is still to be celebrated.
Be aware that because of the vastness of the conflict and the emotions involved, exhaustion is a very real danger for any individual engaged in the struggle to stop the liar-in-chief who currently occupies the White House.
As important as this fight is, it is worth remembering that no one person can do it all – go to every rally, call every senator or representative, fight every battle, keep up on every issue, read every article, etc. A burned out warrior is no use to any political/social cause.
In light of this, I recommend taking a gratitude break from the fray from time to time. By that, I mean taking time on a periodic basis to personally list everything that you are grateful for (the people you love, the help you receive from others, that you are living in America, etc.). This will not only help you reduce stress levels and stay refreshed and renewed for future battles, but it will also help remind you of what you are fighting for in the potentially trying days ahead.
Remember, this fight against the single most unfit man to ever serve as president and his allies is a multi-faceted marathon, not a sprint. Remind yourself daily that we will be victorious in the end and the daily ups and downs of what is happening on any given day will tend to upset you less.
7. Recognize That You Are Redefining Patriotism
American Revolutionary and founding father Thomas Paine once wrote:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Written during the American Revolution, these words could very well have been written by Mr. Paine as he surveyed the current state of our great country today. Now is the time for all of us to recognize that in a very real sense, we, as the opposition to the current administration, have been tasked with redefining what being an American patriot means for this generation and for generations to come.
Donald Trump is an unscrupulous master of manipulation and misdirection, a political charlatan and a con man extraordinaire. His bigoted, sexist, nativist and amoral views are representative of the worst ideologies and periods of American history.
Simply by nature of deciding to resist Trump and his Republican lackeys and by backing our words with our actions, we are representing some of the best of what America is about:
Championing of individual freedoms.
Peaceful assembling and protesting by its citizens for a common cause.
The principle of equal protection under the law and the idea of equal opportunities for all of its citizens regardless of race, creed, religion, gender or sexual preference.
Our job as the new patriots is to stay motivated, hopeful and alert in the face of whatever is happening around us for our sake and our country’s sake. Our greatness as a country has never been based on one single man or woman or political leader, but on its citizens coming together to forge a common bond while holding onto a resilient belief in the promise that this country will always guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all of its people.
As we see this bond and promise threatened and tested like never before by Trump the destroyer, let us not shrink from the challenges but stand together as a model and shining example for future generations of how we can, in spite of our differences, come together to save our country.