9 Real, Actionable Things We Can Do About Trump

Overwhelmed and sad about Trump being elected? Me, too. But we're not helpless and there are lots of things we can do. Here are 9 things we can do about Trump.
Friends, I self-medicate by making lists and plans.


Last night, as the election results rolled in, I took a shower and sat in bed with my laptop, listing out all the ways we could deal with this new world order.

Here’s what I came up with.

9 Real, Actionable Things We Can Do About Trump

Reach out to POC, LGBT, Muslim, immigrant, and refugee friends

Let them know you love them, support them, and do what you can to make them feel safe.
This can be as simple as a text that says “I have your back, dude.”

Or you can offer your time and efforts to help them navigate intimidating situations. Do they need moral support at the DMV? A legal proceeding? The doctor? Can you go with them to negotiate the price of a used car or a lease?

As crazy and depressing as it sounds, sometimes the presence of a white, cisgender, middle class person makes a big difference in the outcome of a given situation.

Set up small, monthly donations to organizations that support your causes

Here’s a comprehensive list of pro-woman, pro-immigrant, pro-earth, anti-bigotry organizations that need our support. If any of these organizations receive federal funding it’s entirely possible they’ll be defunded. We can keep them going with our own money, time, and energy.

Talk to people who have lived through horrible political climates

My parents lived through the Vietnam War and Watergate. There were atomic bomb drills in their schools. People literally built bunkers in their backyards. Maybe your grandparents lived through The Great Depression. If your family is new to America, maybe your parents have stories of living with an unstable, unsafe government.

Tens of millions of people in our country have lived through similar things. I know they can teach us something.

Shop at + support businesses owned by immigrants, people of color, and LGBT folks

For all my Googling, I couldn’t find state-by-state lists of minority-owned businesses. That being said, I imagine you know which neighborhoods in your city are home to minority-owned businesses.

If you live in the Twin Cities, we’re talking about Frogtown, North Minneapolis, and East St. Paul. Check out Lavendar’s Yellow Pages for listings of LGBT-friendly businesses or the Minnesota Black Business Directory.

Give these businesses your money, support, and business. When they do a great job, tell your friends and send more business their way.

Vote with your eyeballs

When we support minority-owned businesses, we’re voting with our dollars. We can also vote with our media habits. When we watch ‘Orange Is The New Black,’ we’re voting for a place in television for trans actors and when we watch ‘Jane The Virgin,’ we’re voting for jobs for Latino actors and tv shows that address issues like abortion and immigration.

Expand your bubble

Trump was elected on a platform of fear. For those of us who didn’t vote for him, America feels terrifying right now. How can we change that? How can we feel safe and connected?

As cheesy as it sounds, we can sit with someone different at lunch and ask them about their weekend. We can attend neighborhood festivals and celebrations we’re less familiar with – Somali Independence Day, Dia De Los Muertos. We can strike up friendly conversations at the bus stop. We can put ourselves in situations where we’re not surrounded by people who are exactly like us.

Focus on your community

Trump cannot change who heads your PTA group. He can’t stop your Neighborhood Watch group from meeting or prevent you from organizing a litter pick up day. He can’t change who we vote for in midterm elections.

There is still so much we can do, on a day-to-day, one-square-inch basis. It’s time to really, actually think globally and act locally.

Take care of yourself

But you knew this already, right? Turn off the news if you need to. Call someone you love and talk about the good things in your life. Do something that leads to endorphins. Make an appointment with somone who makes you feel better – your masseuse, your pastor or rabbi, your therapist, your life coach.

Find empathy and understanding for the people who voted for Trump

Here, pulled from an article by a teacher, is what I’m currently telling myself:

Not everyone who voted for Donald Trump did so because they believe the bigoted things that he has said this year. Many of them voted for him because they feel frustrated with the economy, they feel socially left behind, and they are exercising the one power they have. We need to challenge Trump and his supporters to differentiate between their fears and the bigotry catalyzed by those fears.”

This article about being white and poor is really insightful. So is this one. As a related sidenote: I was born and raised in the second-poorest county in Minnesota, one that voted for Trump. I know these people and their struggles intimately.

I don’t want to spend the next four years being heart broken that half of our country voted for a sexist, racist, xenophobe. I want to spend the next four years doing the work to make this right.

How are you doing, friends? If you’ve got a bullet-proof coping plan please share it in the comments.

P.S. For, like, the sixth time this year: How Stay Optimistic When Everything Is Horrible

photos by Daryan Shamkhali and Trent Yarnell // cc

34 Comments

Erin

I am taking the day off (mostly) to process and sit with these feelings. I am confused and heartbroken and afraid for myself and for everyone else. I’m grieving what the next four years could have looked like instead. I’m giving myself the day to be miserable, but I’m determined to go back to real life tomorrow and be good to other people and good to myself.

I wish there was some universal sign we could wear that would signal to marginalized people “If you need help or a friend you can ask me, I’m safe.”

Reply
Sarah Von Bargen

I know! Maybe we just need to keep wearing our ‘I’m with her!’ buttons?

Reply
Rachel

Several months ago my local grocery store chain (New Seasons) had employees wearing buttons that said something like, “Bathroom safety escort,” some months back, and when I asked about it, they explained that it was so if anyone, especially women or trans people, felt unsafe or harassed using the bathrooms, they could feel safe asking for backup.

I feel like we need a version of that for all the time now.

Reply
Dodi

There actually is!! There is a new move to wear a simply safety pin. Indicates you are safe with me.

Reply
Mel

Thanks for this, Sarah. I’m sitting in a high school classroom where half the kids are Hispanic and trying not to burst into tears about what the next 4 years could mean for them. As my friends and I process last night’s awfulness, we’ve started having conversations about how we can fight for ourselves and others. This is a good place to start.

Oh, and to find local minority-owned businesses, try the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (nmsdc.org) , Women’s Business Enterprise Council (wbenc.org), and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (nglcc.org), among others. These organizations also have local/regional chapters with more information about certified minority/women/LGBT-owned businesses in your area.

Reply
Tina B

It seems like people, all people, Americans from both sides of the aisle, would have (should have) been doing these things you suggested all along. How we conduct ourselves as humans, neighbors, friends and community members doesn’t change based on the President or any other leader, does it?

Reply
Sarah Von Bargen

Of course people should be doing these things regardless, Tina. The truth is, many aren’t.

Reply
Christina Kalel

We “should” do a lot of things. But maybe this will kick-start good habits. Judging people for not starting these things before does nothing useful – encouraging them, and giving them specific advice (because not everyone knows the options!) is much more helpful. I, for one, really appreciate this post because I have no idea what I’m doing.

Reply
Samantha Lee

Thank you for this. I literally felt sick to my stomach last night and woke up hoping with all hope that it was a nightmare. I have never felt a fear and sadness living in America until last night. Hoping this will encourage us all to get out and fight the good fight. Today I’ve been thinking how I just want to DO SOMETHING but haven’t known where to even begin, and this list is a great start. <3
http://www.wonderlandsam.com

Reply
Lisa

don’t forget our disabled friends, too. Many of them were unable to vote due to accessibility issues. We all need to look out for each other.

Reply
Alex

Something REAL you can do to help people in Minneapolis is to tutor at the Franklin Learning Center: http://www.hclib.org/about/locations/franklin-learning-center

The Franklin Learning Center serves adults who are studying English, math, science, social studies, technology and life skills, and preparing for the GED and U.S. citizenship exams. Volunteering can make a significant impact on someones life as well as yours.

I volunteered here during my two years of service with AmeriCorps and I learned a lot, met great people, and really saw my world (and Minneapolis) in a whole new way. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something VERY tangible to do.

Reply
Amber

Why don’t we start a state-by-state list of minority owned businesses? I saw the resources that Mel gave in another comment, and I’m sure there are more. I’m a bored librarian, so I would be glad to work on this. I can make a Google Doc and people can add to it as they come across businesses.

Reply
Cris

Check out local minority Chambers of Commerce like the Latin American CoC, Asian American, etc… This, of course, depends on where you live

Reply
K

Creating a list of minority-owned businesses is well-intentioned but you might want to check with the business owners whether they want to appear on such a list, or have that attribute of their business highlighted. What you intend to use for good may be misused by others.

Reply
Barbara

Some ideas from Canada, where we recently voted out a Trump-ish prime minister and his government :
1. Starve the attention and power hogs of their “oxygen” by not watching inauguration and other ceremonies and events. Audience numbers are everything to some folks.
2. Be informed, be a critical thinker; and stay on top of the news and issues.
3. related to # 2: Hold congresspersons and other legislators accountable. Speak out; and show up at meetings, rallies, etc. on contentious issues. If you are afraid, join a group of like-minded people.
4. “Adopt” a local organization or group that may be a target of the new regime and its supporters. Find out what’s needed to help , and donate money, meals, rides, etc. ; plus take time to learn their stories and concerns. Learning the background of women’s hijab headwear was helpful, in understanding Muslim women’s struggle with our former PMs nasty policy proposition to outlaw hijab wear.
4. Do all that you can to educate , support and protect young people that may be threatened, with safe houses (like the Block Parents program), hotlines, self-defence and anti-bullying strategies, etc.

Last, please remember that you are not alone. Concerned people the world around have you in their hearts and minds. Love, from a northern neighbor!

Reply
Kelly

I’ll add a thing I did today: subscribe to an independent newspaper or other news source, one that has real reporters and does their own investigations, not one that relies on wire stories or freelance writers. We’re going to need to ensure we keep an independent media going forward.

Also, if you’re someone who can get pregnant, consider getting an IUD or other long lasting form of birth control before the end of the year, especially if you rely on subsidized birth control via the Affordable Care Act. Repealing that Act is part of Trump’s first 100 days list, and his VP is anti-abortion. Don’t let their policies get you into a tough situation, if you can avoid it.

Reply
Laura

Yes yes yes to all of this, and all the amazing comments.

I will not be vacationing or spending money in any states that voted red, other than the one I live in. They are not getting my hard earned money and support.

MIDTERM ELECTIONS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT! we need better voter turnout for them, educate and participate! Hopefully in two years we can mitigate this horror SOMEWHAT by electing a Democratic led Congress.

Finding hope right now is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Thank you for this post. We need to have each other’s backs, this time and always.

Reply
Kathy

Your last point, Sarah, about attempting some empathy and understanding of those who voted for him is particularly important to me. Members of my family who I love very much and would entrust to make decisions on my behalf VOTED FOR TRUMP. On the other hand, I hate anyone who voted for that sexist, stupid, loud asshole. I can’t reconcile the feelings but I’ll need to soon, as Thanksgiving is coming up!!! Thanks for this post.

Reply
Manisha

For the first time ever I’m looking to my white female friends for a lead on what to do. Women of color have been struggling for years and I for one am just tired and now scared. I pulled out my passport yesterday for a regular old trip to Target. I felt a lot of fear but then later felt silly about it. I’ve already encountered hate crimes directed to me and know from that experience that having my passport would mean nothing. My daughter came home from school and asked if we will still be able to live in MN. If her friends and her mom would get banned. I remembered what my white friends said about staying put. I told her this and faked some courage. I have a certain amount of privilege from being married to a white guy but when I’m alone I feel powerless. The only (hate to say) positive thing is that bigotry and discrimination is out and open. The white side of my family and my white neighbors can no longer deny it and possibly might do some self reflection. What am I going to do? I’m going to continue to do my things including taking a Spanish course at Langugae Central where the cost of my tuition will subsidize the cost of English classes for recent immigrants. Thank you Sarah, you are one of the ones I look to lead the way and you are doing a great job! I do believe now is the time for POC to step slightly to the side and let our white allies fight. It will allow us to heal and get stronger.

Reply
Sarah Von Bargen

I so appreciate your comment, Manisha. I actually just received an email from a POC telling them that I was overstepping my bounds by offering to help or to lend my privilege, so it makes me feel better to hear that you found this helpful. <3

Reply
Manisha

Well that is sad to me. My white husband can do more good in just one conversation with another white person than I could ever do. None of us can afford to dismiss the work of white allies. We all have a role in the revolution. I hope you continue to embrace yours.

Reply
Samantha

Love this list! I woke up Wednesday morning with a pit in my stomach, and I still can’t believe it’s real. It’s a scary world we live in, and I have a feeling it’s about to get worse before it gets better. Thank you for providing actionable things we can do right now 🙂 We need it!

Reply
Heather

I am having trouble finding the official link (yay work computers!), but Travis McElroy, who does a bunch of really awesome podcasts (mcelroyshows.com) recorded a “fireside chat” that has turned into the hashtag #iamholdingyourhand, and they are selling buttons with that phrase/idea on Zazzle, with proceeds going to the ACLU.

I have felt a lot of anxiety over the past few days, and I think everyone could benefit from finding that link through Twitter or Facebook and giving it a listen. It helped me a lot, and is promoting unity and compassion.

Reply
Alice

On 11/9, I spoke to a woman wearing a t-shirt that said Terrible Things Happen and People Wake Up. I’m certainly awake now. I’ve had more conversations about democracy, social justice, and political activism in the past 48 hours than I’ve had in years. It was all too easy, as a white, middle-class mom with young children, to get caught up in the rush of life, to get blinded by my own privilege, and fail to act meaningfully on my values and convictions. I will not make that mistake again. It’s not enough to limit my activism to voting and educating my own. I can do better. I can do more. Your list has been extremely helpful. Thank you.

Reply
FMF

I’m old enough to remember when Reagan was elected and everyone was saying he was going to get us in a war (in which I’d have the chance of being drafted) or even start a nuclear war. There was panic and hysteria for some time after he was elected. In the end, it was all angst over nothing.

I’ve also seen numerous presidents get elected and what they’ve done after being elected and I’ve come to this conclusion:

“It’s never as good as the people voting for the new president think it’s going to be and it’s never as bad as the people who didn’t vote for him fear it’s going to be.”

ALL of them change once they get elected. They realize what they have to deal with and it moves them to the center (conservatives get less conservative and liberals get less liberal). I’ve seen it happen from Reagan to Obama and don’t expect anything less than the same from Trump.

So take heart as this too shall pass.

Reply
Sphinx

Reagan’s presidency was deeply damaging. Many lives were lost under him and his policies that could have been avoided by a better president.

Reply
Camila @ AdventitiousViolet

As a Canadian (with a father who lived under a dictatorship in South America for most of his youth) this is very hard to watch. I know that Americans are already so polarised but like that quote from that teacher said, I hope that people can get passed their racism and bigotry, that is too often fuelled by ignorance and fear. I wish to all Americans that one day you’ll find peace. In the meantime, I think what you are suggesting is an amazing way to start, especially if so many people have been ignoring the issues at hand. Best of luck to you USA!

Reply

Leave a comment