President-elect Donald Trump.
Holy. Shit. It happened.
It really happened.
It’s okay to be angry or frustrated. I’m right there with you. Yesterday, we elected someone who is openly racist, openly misogynist, openly xenophobic, and openly does not have a plan for anything he’s campaigned for. I’m not afraid for my own safety as a straight white male. I’ll probably be okay throughout all this. I’m concerned for my friends who aren’t straight, aren’t white, aren’t cisgender, and aren’t males. Their freedoms are legitimately at risk.
This is a time unlike any other before. Republicans control both the House and Senate. Trump will appoint one, likely two Supreme Court Justices. So, congratulations Republicans. You have the keys to the car now. It’s all yours. You have complete control of our government. I don’t want you to fail, but you literally will only have yourselves to blame when you screw it up.
But don’t be angry at those who voted for Trump, or even Trump himself. Besides, you should really be afraid of the guy that will most likely be calling the shots – Mike Pence. Trump is a demagogue who knows how to use fear and pander to his audience. Pence actually is [a religious extremist](a religious extremist).
(Okay, you can be angry at Trump, too.)
It’s easy to get distracted by our emotional reaction to the election. Instead, we should try to focus our anger on something positive.
The real problem is a lack of logic, critical thinking, and rational thought in our country. Like him or not, Trump isn’t stupid, and was able to capitalize on this. Trump used fear to convince people to vote for him. Looking back on his debates, he rarely used actual facts, and when he did use facts, he was [often wrong](often wrong).
I mean, he’s already announced that [he’s going to have a climate change denier lead the EPA transition team](he’s going to have a climate change denier lead the EPA transition team).
The voice of reason is often the softest. Now is the time to change that. We need to be loud.
The reason a Trump presidency is terrifying to so many is not because of what Trump has said or did. It’s because of the things he might do. Our anxiety is not irrational – there are so many unanswered questions about what he is capable of.
Trump doesn’t even know what he will do. I guess he’ll just [keep us in suspense](keep us in suspense).
It’s no secret that people are sometimes unhappy with political leaders. But even then, there is some idea of how they’re going to act when they’re in office. We often heard irrational rhetoric around Obama taking guns away, or other ridiculous unsubstantiated claims. That’s not the case with Trump.
Trump is [wildly inconsistent](wildly inconsistent) with himself. We don’t know what he’s going to do. Is he going to go off on a Twitter rant at 3 am against another world leader (or publicly harass someone over their sex tape)? Probably not I guess, since his own staff doesn’t even trust him to have access to Twitter.
We can’t change the outcome of the election (which I thought [Trump said was rigged?](Trump said was rigged?)). But what we can do is use our anger and frustration for good.
It’s important that we don’t forget that we are on the right side of history. The Atheist and Skeptic communities are the most accepting and understanding groups of people in existence. We don’t discriminate based on race, we stand for marriage equality, we stand for equal rights for the LGBTQ community, we support body autonomy for women, we know that vaccines work (and they don’t fucking cause Autism), we know that climate change is real, and we want everyone to be able to practice whatever religion they believe in – even Muslims. These basic freedoms will likely be under attack over the coming years.
Millions of those in the US will be without healthcare if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. A woman’s right to choose her own medical coverage, and what happens to her body, is going to be at risk. Progress made towards minimizing the effects of climate change will undoubtedly be halted, if not reversed.
I’m not saying the sky is falling, but the ceiling certainly seems lower today.
What can you do? Be vocal about your opinions. Speak up when you see injustice – don’t look the other way. Let people know that racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination are not acceptable in the society we want to live in. Focus on supporting the victim of these incidents, not bashing the attacker. Discrimination often starts from a place of irrational fear, based on misunderstandings about one another. We will do better by treating all people with respect.
Stay informed of legislation. [Contact your local, state, and federal representatives](Contact your local, state, and federal representatives). While it’s true they may belong to a different political party than you, they’re elected to represent their city or state, not just those who have the same belief system as them.
Support groups that are fighting for our Constitutional freedom, and to keep religion out of government. The next four years will see us facing an attack on our basic human rights that are unparalleled.
Donate to groups like the [Freedom From Religion Foundation](Freedom From Religion Foundation), ACLU, [Americans United for Separation of Church and State](Americans United for Separation of Church and State), or the [Human Rights Campaign](Human Rights Campaign).
The sky is not falling unless we allow it to.