On November, 28th 2016 I posted the message below on Facebook in response to the presidential election results. Now, as we approach the year in which Donald Trump will be sworn in as our president, I’ve annotated this message with new thoughts and feelings. Shout out to Facebook for being my mini time capsule.
I was in Melbourne when our new president was elected. I remember watching the polls come in and feeling devastated when the votes flipped in his favor. I cried. I didn’t want to come back. I hadn’t considered an election with this outcome because it was too horrible to accept. And now we’re here.
I honestly didn’t believe Donald Trump would be elected. Maybe that’s due in part to the fact that I live in a liberal bubble in San Francisco. Most people here were (and still are) hard-core Bernie supporters. As far as I know, none of my friends voted for Trump. Over the past year though, I certainly met people who did. When I think about them, I think about how we had things in common. We talked about those safe topics (work, television shows, sports) but could we have a productive conversation about politics? I don’t know. I was too afraid to broach the topic, mostly for fear of losing my own temper. I still want to understand why people voted for this person who has no political experience and is racist, sexist, and a bigot.
Tonight I attended a meeting with other women to brainstorm how we can take action going forward. Not just while we’re fired up, but, sustainable, positive action. We talked about using our strengths and passions to make a positive impact. I love writing, so I just submitted my application to volunteer with a local nonprofit, 826 Valencia.
I didn’t know what to expect when I attended this meeting. Part of me thought I was going to walk into a big room full of women looking pissed off but ready to take on the world. Like a room full of Rosie the Riveters. It turned out to be just five women, including myself, and one man. We each introduced ourselves and shared what had brought us together that night, and what we wanted to leave with. There was a big emphasis and discussion on this idea of sustainable, positive action. A curious thing was that everyone’s action steps involved their local community – through inclusive events, volunteering with a local nonprofit – only one suggestion (flippable.org) was truly political. While it may seem right now that politics are ruling the world – and I do believe it is important to understand and be part of the political process – it is also important to remember that our local communities are supported by more than politics. They’re the parents, kids, childless adults, shop owners, students – all kinds of people that need us to vote with our time and money for what we believe in.
(I’m also volunteering at a dog shelter, because animals are amazing and it’s basically self care).
Hells yeah. Dogs don’t discriminate and they need our help all across the country (and world, but it helps me to start by thinking local.)
I also made a list of other actions to take before the end of the year:
- Set up a monthly donation for Planned Parenthood and donate to the ACLU on Giving Tuesday (they’re matching donations on this day – tomorrow!)
- Follow the SF League of Pissed Off Voters to keep up on local politics. Attending my first meeting in a few weeks.
- Sign up for flippable.org to get daily actions to win back the house and senate
- Add a taking action for animals section to my blog, SF Vegan
I did donate to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. I also am now following the SF League of Pissed Off Voters, but haven’t made it to a meeting yet. I get the emails from flippable and need to be better about taking action on them. This one falls outside of my sustainable positive action category – it’s part of a newsletter, and I truly hate getting email. I see a full inbox and get overwhelmed, so it’s a goal of mine to figure out how I can really build this process into my daily life. I’m stretching my goal for the taking action for animals section to the end of this year.
It has been hard for me to find a balance between staying informed and wanting to hide under a blanket recently. I’m posting this here to give myself some accountability. I also want to acknowledge that I may not singlehandedly change the world, but I never want to stop trying to make it a better place. Thank you to everyone who is doing the same. You RULE.
I just want to high-five past me when I read this paragraph. There is honesty, optimism, and realism here. I think the worst thing we can do is nothing, but sometimes it is the easier path. It feels as though if we cannot fix the whole issue – then why bother? Or, if we aim to do every task sent to us in a flippable email and we miss one, we label ourselves as a failure. However, there is always a choice, there is always a way to move forward, to progress.
I want to let President Obama bring that note home. Here is an excerpt from his Farewell Address earlier this month:
“So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional — not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change and make life better for those who follow. Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard. It’s always been contentious. Sometimes it’s been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all and not just some.”
Let’s move onward together,
Feature photo credit: San Francisco Sky / Alexis Croswell
About the Author: Alexis Croswell (AC) has a passion for story telling and an innate desire to learn. She enjoys deep thoughts and emotionally stimulating conversation. She will also be the first to laugh at herself and doesn’t take life too seriously. In her day job she works in content marketing at a people analytics company.
Discover more about Alexis here.