Welp. It happened. The racists, sexists and self-deluding idiots won. The worst people in America are going to be running the federal government for at least the next 4 years. The worst white man on Earth is now president of the United States, disgracing and ruining everything he touches.
Does it seem like the world is ending? It’s probably not ending, right? But who really knows? All bets are off. All of the smart, thoughtful, NPR-voice-having media commentators with their expensive educations and their studied air of objectivity who said this would never happen (including me! Sorry) have proven to be totally wrong in their predictions. The only people who got this election right were Michael Moore and Nazis.
So who knows how much worse everything’s going to get? There’s really no limit anymore; we’ve entered a bizarro realm where every horror is now imaginable. Even in the “best case scenario” (no nuclear strikes, no death camps, etc.), Trump’s presidency is going to be such an unprecedented shit show that the thought of it is making people feel physically ill.
What do we do? Sure, some people say they’ll leave the country, but most people don’t have the means or the connections or the willpower to uproot themselves and their families. And besides, do you really want to move to Canada? A frigid land full of poutine-noshing, pond-hockey-playing, wide-eyed earnest happy snowman-sweater-wearing people, where everyone has health insurance, where no one has any actual problems, where the hockey teams are incapable of winning the Stanley Cup? That’s no way to live!
Instead of leaving the country, let’s stay here and make Trump’s life a living hell. Here are a few tips on how to survive and thrive in the Trump Era:
1. Ignore as much of the bullshit as you can.
Trump and his allies are a bunch of trolls, and trolls thrive on attention. So don’t feed the trolls. Stop paying attention to Trump’s Twitter rants. Don’t watch Trump’s TV appearances or farcical “press conferences.” Don’t listen to a single word that comes out of his mouth. He craves big TV ratings, so let’s deny him what he wants: if we ignore him, he loses.
Hell, stop watching TV news altogether; stop torturing yourself. None of these overpaid TV news pundits got this election right and they’re mostly just useless mouthpieces for the powers that be. We don’t need to pay pretty people to read the news to us on TV anymore; we have the Internet. Go be your own TV newsreader.
Of course, we can’t totally ignore Donald Trump; as citizens in a democracy, we’re supposed to stay vigilant in monitoring the activities of the government, but the government is now in the hands of disgusting pig-people who don’t deserve to run a racist subreddit. So ignore as much as you can to preserve your sanity, but also…
2. Donate to groups that are on the front lines of resisting Trump.
Instead of wasting your time every day worrying about the latest horrible bullshit that Trump said, give some money (as a recurring automatic donation) to groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, ProPublica, and more. You can’t let Trump sap your productivity and undermine your will to enjoy life; so instead, outsource the job of worrying about Trump to professionals at public advocacy organizations. Instead of worrying about Trump, focus on making more money to donate to groups that fight against everything he stands for.
3. Remember the limits of presidential power.
Trump’s going to do a lot of damage and ruin a lot of things, but even he can’t ruin everything. America is a big, complex, high-tech, diverse country. We have a robust federal system that reserves a lot of power for the states and local city governments; big progressive states and big cities like California and NYC often create public policies that become a model for the nation, long before Washington catches up. The Governors of New York and California have already announced their defiance of Trump, and their belief that regardless of this one narrow election result, progressive values and policies are still in the ascendant. In December, California Governor Jerry Brown gave a speech to the American Geophysical Union, an organization of climate scientists, where he said, regardless of what Trump tries to do to turn back the clock on climate research, “We’ll set the stage. We’ll set the example. And whatever Washington thinks they’re doing, California is the future!”
4. Get involved at the local level.
Make your community stronger in ways that Trump cannot touch. Reach out to organizations that you care about and make a difference where it matters most—where you live. If you didn’t read the news, just by looking around at your immediate neighborhood and community, would you even know about the latest horrible thing that Trump said or did? Is it constructive to stay locked in your house reading obsessively about the latest news from Washington? Or would it be better for you to get off of social media and go talk to real people in your community?
5. Re-evaluate your media diet.
Do you ever feel like your attention span has been ground into dust? Do you ever feel like your brain is filling up with ominous news and despair and bullshit and other people’s problems that are beyond your ability to help? In the age of Trump, it’s more important than ever to stay focused on what we can control, maintain positive energy, and avoid getting sucked into the never-ending maelstrom of Internet outrage. As described in this article, social media apps and online news sites have become more sophisticated than ever at manipulating and controlling our attention and lulling us into a constant state of stupefied, media-addicted hyper-vigilance: “we’ve lost control of our relationship with technology because technology has become better at controlling us.”
So set limits. If possible, stay off of the Internet after 9 p.m. or before noon. Pay attention to which sites you’re getting your news from: are they reputable sources, or are they just repackaging mainstream news but with a more exaggerated, alarmist bias? Is your smartphone serving you, or is it becoming an unpaid part-time job? Every time you’re reading some blog article from a gloomy, doom-saying liberal, ask yourself: “Is this constructive? Is this helping me make my life better or is it just making me feel worse?” (But you should definitely keep reading Paste Magazine! Follow us on Facebook! Make Paste Magazine a major part of your media diet!)
6. Stay sustainably angry.
Lots of progressives are understandably furious right now, but we need to harness this anger in a productive manner. We can’t spend the next 4 years in a white-hot state of rage, spitting hot fire at the federal government and holding half of American voters in contempt, right? (OK, fine—if that works for you, go right ahead. But most people can’t live that way.) Instead of heated, blind fits of rage, we need to channel our anger into cold, focused long-term rage that is better for productive action. Don’t get an ulcer over this; instead, call your Congressional representatives every week. Go to a protest. Lead a protest. Join activist organizations in your community and meet great people.
7. Live out loud.
Fuck it, let’s just live with reckless abandon! Malevolent idiots are running the government and half the country cannot be reached by reason or basic human decency; so let’s have some fun! Speak your truth! Shoot your shot! Let your light shine! Take a chance! Ask that cute person at the coffee shop out on a date! Share your feelings with your longtime secret crush! Nothing matters anymore, and the world may literally be ending! So in the meantime, let’s run amok!
Don’t get me wrong; nothing about Trump’s election is a “good” thing. There are no silver linings here. But even though progressives lost the White House in stunning fashion to the worst man on Earth, we can use this as an occasion to mobilize in a way that never would have happened if Hillary had been elected. The government’s in the hands of the bad guys, but the country, the culture and the future can still belong to us. These 70+ year old white pricks in Washington are going to do some damage, but they can’t steal our joy or destroy our communities or deny the future that’s heading their way. Let’s stay angry, but let’s do it in a concentrated, focused, constructive way. Trump’s not going to like this job: he’s not our boss, he’s our EMPLOYEE. So let’s give him a really hostile work environment.