Saturday, November 12, 2016

What Do We Do Now?

I still can't really believe Tuesday happened. While results were coming in, my phone wouldn't stop buzzing. Most of the messages I'd received were from three very close friends of mine, all of whom are minorities. I got texts from a friend of mine in Indiana who just couldn't believe what was going on. He had been afraid he would get "the gay zapped out of him" if his family found out he wasn't straight, since, as governor, Mike Pence supported conversion therapy, and now he's the VP. My friend in Philadelphia, the daughter of a eastern European immigrant, was horrified to see her state turn red and cried when she realized what the stock market crashing was going to do to her college fund. Another friend of mine, who lives just a block away from me and is a member of the LGBT community, showed up at my house while votes were being tallied in Michigan and just layed across my couch, trying not to freak out.

When I came to school on Wednesday it didn't seem like anybody else could believe what had happened either. I know people that didn't show up to school because they didn't feel emotionally equipped to get through the day. I know a lot of people who broke down crying in the halls because they were afraid of a Trump presidency. I felt like I might cry too for a good portion of the day. This election meant so much. We could have elected our first female president and continued the work of the Obama administration, but so many people just weren't excited by that. Now we have Trump and Pence. They could make the US an enemy of NATO, Roe v Wade could potentially get repealed, and they could start a war that we are now the perfect age to get drafted for. I'm scared. I'm scared for my friends and I'm scared for our future as a country. But I feel a little better now than I did Tuesday night.

I walked into my 5th period class on Wednesday feeling, like all my classmates, kinda lifeless. The teacher who taught this particular class had told us back in September that she'd already booked her flight to go see Hillary Clinton's inauguration. She'd made a deal with a friend of hers from college that if a female president ever got elected in their lifetimes, they'd go and see her get sworn in, together. I'd been wanting to go to her class all day, I just wanted to know what she would say to us about the election. She ended up telling us that she was devastated, but things are never bad forever. As young people, we are going to be responsible for turning things around and making progress in the right direction. Our job right now is to figure out how to make that difference, work at it, and "don't let the bastards get you down".

There's been a lot of talk online about leaving the country or protesting, but there's nothing to protest and moving to Canada won't change anything. Donald Trump will be our 45th president, there's nothing to be done about that now. What we can do is channel all the anger and frustration people are feeling into something more productive. Organizing and having our voices heard isn't going to be an issue, just look at the protests that have taken place in every major city this past week. I urge you not to wallow in defeat for too long. A little while is okay, by all means, cry if you feel like crying. But by January 20th, if Trump's policies still make your stomach churn and you're not doing something about it, that's on you. I'll even make it easier for you to figure out what it is you can do, I've attached links to a number of organizations that will need support through the next four years at the bottom of this post. Donate, volunteer, protest every law you feel is unjust, and don't forget to vote in the midterms and in 2020, but more than anything, be safe and don't let the bastards get you down.

Planned Parenthood
Black Lives Matter (Chicago Chapter)
Anti Defamation League (Chicago Chapter)
American Civil Liberties Union
Council On American-Islamic Relations
Local LGBT Volunteer Opportunities 

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