I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent the last two days crying my eyes out. I didn’t anticipate Donald Trump to actually win the election; none of us did.
The polling was off and indicated that Hillary Clinton would, frankly, kick Trump’s ass. But on another level, many of us also believed that such a bombastic character/reality show star like Donald Trump couldn’t actually become president. A man who used racism, xenophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, and ableism to court voters? A man who has been accused of sexual assault time after time? A man who mocked veterans? A man who got into Twitter beef on the regular? A man who doesn’t seem to know a thing about how the government or military actually works? A man who doesn’t realize that he looks like an angry Cheeto?
Well, that man won. It’s despicable, but it’s the despicable truth.
Of course, Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote in this election, and likely would have won more if so many states didn’t inact voter suppression laws that made it harder for economically and racially marginalized people to vote. But the electoral college is what decides our election results, and Trump won on that front.
There’s a lot of talk now, including from many people who didn’t support Trump, that it’s time to move on and deal with the results of this election. They believe it’s time that we put differences aside and wish Trump well. You’ve probably heard it too; people saying not to worry, things won’t be as bad as we fear, and there’s no point in staying angry about it.
I disagree, and I encourage you to reject this advice too. This is the perfect time to be angry and to stay angry.
We’re often told to put out anger aside for the greater good, but in this scenario, that’s only relevant if your idea of the greater good doesn’t include the rights of people of color, immigrants, Muslims, women, the LGBTQ community, the disabled, the people who depend on Obamacare when they’re sick, or the environment.
Why should you stay angry? Well, firstly, because all of the aformentioned things are at stake under a Trump presidency:
Donald Trump, with the help of a Republican majority in the senate, will fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court with a conservative. The future of Roe v. Wade could very well be on the chopping block if a mostly conservative Supreme Court decides it shouldn’t be legal, which would either make abortion outlawed or up to the states (both are bad scenarios). Repealing Obamacare would mean that 20 million people would be left without insurance that they need to survive. Marriage equality could be threatened. The Voting Rights Act won’t be restored. Donald Trump’s denial of climate change will mean that policies will be put in place to dismantle any hopes of slowing down man made damage to our environment will be thrown out the window. Undocumented people will live in terror like they’ve never seen before. Muslims might have register with a national database like Jewish people had to do in Nazi Germany.
These are all things worth being angry about, not just a day after finding out the election results, but for the next four years.
Need another good reason to be angry? I’ll give it to you: Trump’s rhetoric has emboldened racists in this country. I’m not saying that racism wasn’t a problem until Trump started calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers, but his hatred for political correctness has been a clarion call for the dregs of society to really come out of the woodwork to make it clear that non-white people aren’t welcome in “Real America.” Think I’m overexaggerating? Check out what has happened just within the past 24 hours of Trump becoming the president elect:
As I’m stopped at a gas station this morning, a group of guys yell over: “Time to get out of this country, Apu!”
— Manik R (@ManikRathee) November 9, 2016
Whoever did this I’m throwin’ hands pic.twitter.com/9Xn1YaCFmK
— Chris Weatherd ™ (@Chris_Weatherd) November 9, 2016
— The Buffalo News (@TheBuffaloNews) November 9, 2016
I have a scarf on. Passed by someone on the platform today and he says, “Your time’s up, girlie.”
— Mehreen Kasana (@mehreenkasana) November 9, 2016
2/2 and this attitude and hate is sanctioned by the government in this country pic.twitter.com/aX6oufk0xD
— Ashley Wagamonster (@wagamonster) November 9, 2016
ONE day later… and Asians are dealing with confident racism & violence from Trump supporters across the US pic.twitter.com/A8Wo0S17A4
— Nerdy Asians (@NerdyAsians) November 10, 2016
My mom literally just texted me “don’t wear the Hijab please” and she’s the most religious person in our family….
— ㅤjannatin (@harryonmen) November 9, 2016
Principal in Pennsylvania admits white students were chanting:
Cotton Picker, You’re a Nigger, Heil Hitler. https://t.co/Z9v2PgmTca
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 10, 2016
This just happened. Trump supporter tossed water in her face after threatening to rape her and build the wall. Day 1 of Trump. pic.twitter.com/8JJAM2ugJf
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 10, 2016
— veryhardworkinggirl (@dorota98765) November 10, 2016
3 of my muslims friends, whom i’ve never seen without a hijab before, came to school without them today, because they were afraid.
— claude (@claudiafavelaa) November 9, 2016
I walked into my room and my heart aches with pain. pic.twitter.com/GFD5gBmPmD
— María Sanchez (@TRmariasanchez) November 10, 2016
— Laura Keeney (@LauraKeeney) November 10, 2016
This is worth being angry about, right? Do you want this to continue to be the norm in this country, or do you want to do what you can to prevent this from becoming more mainstream? This cannot be a legacy that our generation–our beautiful, diverse generation–upholds.
Lastly, you need to stay angry because change won’t happen in this country if you’re complacent. Nothing progresses when people aren’t active about making that change and making their voices loud and clear.
You can do this in a lot of different ways. You can participate in protests; if you’re feeling really upset right now and want to let off some steam, go on facebook and see if there’s any protests planned for your area. I went to one last night and it felt cathartic. Protests are useful because they capture media attention and let the world know that there’s a discontented population that is mad enough to get out in the streets and let everyone know. Protest was crucial during the Civil Rights Movement, and while those acts of free-speech were often interrupted by police violence, the fact that those scenes were captured on camera for the world to physically see the unlawful, racist conditions people were living under. More recently, protests in the spirit of Black Lives Matter have become such an important element of our political dialogue right now that whether a politician says “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter” will get headlines. Don’t assume that protest doesn’t do anything.
There are other ways to stay active in this fight as well, like by supporting groups that provide services for marginalized people. Organizations like Planned Parenthood–which provides vital, affordable health services for women–might lose federal funding in a Trump administration. Donating to them is more important now than ever (and if you don’t have money, convince your family to do it in your honor).
Another underrated act of resistance is simply using your voice. Please, call out your mom or your brother or even your friend if they say something racist. Defend people who are being bullied or taunted with scary, Trump-like chants. Be an ally that doesn’t passively let injustice occur around you. Your influence has the power to change someone’s mind, or at least second guess themselves. The difference that can make is innumberable.
Take this anger, this sadness, this confusion that you have right now and use it to fight for what’s right. This doesn’t make you delusional or bratty, it makes you passionate, and if there’s one thing this disaster of a country needs right now, it’s passionate people who are willing to take a stand against oppression and bigotry.
Now let’s get out there and do our part–big or small–to clean up the mess that a Trump presidency will surely leave behind.
How have you been feeling after this election? What are you looking foward to doing as an act of protest, if anything? Tell us in the comments!