Where do we go from here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Those of you who are fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and in particular of the sixth season musical episode “Once More With Feeling”, are very likely finding yourselves songvirused by the same song that’s been in my head since the events of Tuesday night: “Where Do We Go From Here?”

For me, that’s certainly been the ongoing theme of what I’ve seen coming over my social media feeds. As I wrote in my last post, I’m seeing a lot of despair from people–especially from people who are relaying word of a sickening rise in overt, violent bigotry, as documented on ithasbegun2016.tumblr.com. People are already being attacked. People are already dying, and others, as reported by USA Today, are being trolled by white supremacists who are getting their jollies on by trying to provoke them into suicide.

I have seen some hope that the electoral college vote might pull us out of this, if enough of the electors bailed on handing Trump his electoral votes. It’s a nice thought. It’s even worth a shot. But I am not counting on this happening, if nothing else because we do not actually live in that kind of feel-good-surprise-ending fictional storyline. If you want to hope for that, absolutely, take whatever hope you can right now. But plan for it not to happen. It’s the only way to be rational and practical about how the hell to get through the next few years.

So where do we go from here?

Dara’s got a post up over here, and in that post she’s outlining exactly why Trump’s transition team and inner circle put the immediate lie to the idea that he will be a “President for All Americans”–because his inner circle people are on documented record as being virulently anti-queer. They are people who think that Dara and I are an abomination. They not only want our marriage illegal, they want us illegal, too.

So right there, there’s a thing you can do. If you’re not already, start supporting charities whose mission is to provide outreach and safe haven for queers–especially young people, especially queers of color, especially transgendered persons who are going to be scrambling to get official documentation of their genders before 2017 gets here. With an incoming actively queer-hostile administration, queers will need you.

Look also for charities that provide support and outreach to populations of color. Find out how you can support Black Lives Matter or similar groups. Look for organizations that will provide legal assistance to any Muslims who have been targeted just for being brown or for wearing a hijab in public. Look for organizations providing support to immigrants and refugees. These populations of color will need you.

Look for charities that provide support to the disabled, who are at huge risk from the imminent gutting of the Affordable Care Act. Remember also that some disabilities are not obvious, and that anyone fighting mental illness or depression will also be medically vulnerable. These people will need you. Even with the Affordable Care Act, we live in a country where it’s somehow acceptable for Americans to have to friggin’ crowdfund their own medical care, and pray that the Internet will save them from having to choose between health and having a roof over their heads and food on their tables. Expect that to keep happening. If you have an opportunity to support a friend or a loved one who will need your help with medical expenses, do it. They will need you.

Support Planned Parenthood and other organizations that fight for women’s reproductive freedom.

Support the ACLU. Because holy Jesus jumping Christ on a pogo stick, we will need them looking out for our civil liberties. They have already posted their open letter to Trump, announcing their coming vigilance. Help them.

If you are religious but also progressive, especially if you are Christian, then get your church to step up to the plate and be public in support of these marginalized populations. And have them be public in their decrying of bigotry and religious hatred. Because right now, the alt-right fundies are about to own both the White House and Congress. If they don’t speak for you and your brand of Christianity, now is the time to demonstrate that.

Support organizations that encourage actual science. Because Trump’s looking at appointing a Creationist to be Secretary of Education, and that right there is enough to make me very concerned for the state of American schools.

Support organizations that are working to counter the effects of climate change. Because Trump’s administration is also likely to be hostile to climate change, and at least from where the NY Times is sitting, the EPA sure looks like it’s going to be in trouble. Pro tip: all those aforementioned marginalized populations are going to be in even more trouble once climate change starts making us a lot more miserable. Second pro tip: putting your hands over your ears and going LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU is not going to make climate change not happen.

Relatedly: if you’re not already doing so, start looking for ways you can live in a more environmentally-friendly way on the local and personal level, if the national level is going to fail us on this. It may not seem like much, but every tiny little bit you can do will help. Consult your local power companies to see what advice they have about more eco-friendly power consumption. And for all the bitching I’ve done about Puget Sound Energy, they do at least have a Green Power program. If you’re a PSE subscriber, info on this program is here. If you’re on Seattle City Light, go to their home page and look for the “Renewable Energy” header towards the bottom. They have data there.

Dara’s post that I linked to above links off in turn to this document on Google Docs, with some ongoing concrete suggestions for planning. Check that out too.

Most of all: look out for yourselves and each other. If you are in a marginalized population, do whatever is necessary to protect yourself. Your safety and your well-being are also important. You cannot help others without making sure you’re strong enough to do so first.

If you are a creative artist of any kind–writer, painter, photographer, singer, songwriter, podcaster, anything–try to hold fast to your art. We will need your art. If you are motivated to work your worry and frustration and fear into your art, do that. If you feel all you can do is colored pencil sketches of cute little puppies and kittens and bunnies, do that. Somebody out there is going to see your picture of a cute little bunny, and have their heart’s burdened eased just a bit. That is what art is for.

And at the same time, fellow creatives–remember as well that if you can’t produce your art, that is okay too. Sometimes extreme stress will short out your muse. Remember your self-care too. Do whatever you need to to maintain yourself. If that means you have to take a break from your art, do that and come back when you’re ready.

Hang in there, everyone. Love one another. Look out for one another. We’re all going to need it.

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