It’s no secret at all that my candidate did not win the US Presidency. The election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency makes me sad, angry, and terrified for the impact his policy choices will have on my fellow Americans, on me, and on the world at large.
But he did win, he is being inaugurated on January 20, and I have a choice to make regarding how I respond.
I am inspired by One20: A Day for Doing Good, a call to do good in our communities on January 20, 2017 (Inauguration Day).
Although One20 is focusing on January 20 to begin with, I anticipate that start will create ripple effects long into the future. One20 has inspired the structure of this post: 20 things I, as ONE single person, can do and say in response to the establishment of the Trump Administration.
1. I am not using the #NotMyPresident hashtag.
The day after the election, my daughter and I were discussing the election’s outcome and the reactions of people around us. “Is it that bad?” was her question. While I do believe it is, indeed, that bad, I am choosing not to use the #NotMyPresident hashtag.
I am choosing not to use the #NotMyPresident hashtag because, like it or not, he is what I am getting. However, in the same way that I went to the Grads Made Good breakfast at Florida State year after year and refused to clap for Dr. Stephen Winters (RIP) who groped me in Dodd Hall when I was a freshman, the professor a higher-up administrator basically looked the other way about when I shared the information, I will not be applauding our new President.
2. An Addition to My White House Selfies
Every time I go to DC, I take the obligatory “here I am in front of the White House picture,” like this one from last September.
When I go to the Shot at Life Champions Summit next month, though, the picture may still have a green pen in it (I mean, that’s the norm now, right?) BUT I will also feature a safety pin prominently in the picture. I have seen so many individuals and groups deeply hurt by the reinvigorated spirit of hatred and divisiveness in our country, it is imperative to me that people know I, like @IBexWeBex, am a safe place.
3. I will participate in the Tallahassee Women’s March on January 21.
Organized by the Florida Planned Parenthood Alliance, the event is “a 100% inclusive event and all genders, races, ages, religions, sexual orientations – everyone! – is invited to participate.”
4. Involvement in local, state, and federal politics.
I will redouble my efforts to be personally familiar with the choices my local, state, and federal leaders are making, and to make my positions clear with them.
5. My Profile Picture on January 20
I am not changing my profile picture to one of President Obama on January 20, as many people I know are planning. This relates to the fact that I am not using the #notmypresident hashtag. I am beyond grateful to President Obama and his family. He has been a singularly outstanding President, and I am so excited about how he can apply his intellect and passions once he no longer has the constraints of the Presidency.
I really can’t explain why this choice doesn’t sit right for me. When Beyonce did an impromptu (and very well performed) rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to prove that she could, indeed, sing the song without a lip syncing, I hated the song being used as some sort of “revenge” song. Somehow using President Obama’s image feels the same way to me. (But I support everyone making that choice.)
6. Helping Homeless Women With Personal Hygiene Needs
In keeping with the idea that we can collectively make big impacts when many people do small things, I am adding feminine products to the non perishables I purchase for local food drives. For more on this topic, visit Bustle.
7. Making an Impact in Person, not just Online
I read a great post on Facebook about how we should attend to seeing how we can positively impact the people within five feet of us. I can’t find the initial post, but the concept is true. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our virtual communities that we forget what we can do for the people right next to us. Let’s do it.
8. Read, Dialogue, Read and Dialogue Some More
I am continuing to read books like Debby Irvings’s Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race and Susan Kuklin’s Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out in order to be better informed then finding a way to act on what I’ve learned and be a part of respectful dialogue in order to bring people closer to one another.
9. I am refusing to stay silent in the face of racist, anti-semitic, or other hate jokes.
When a national rental car company picked me up to take me to pick up a car right after the election, the driver, commenting on how safe my neighborhood appeared, went on to remark, “be glad you’re not in California where those Muslims are lying down in the streets.” When I responded that they had something to say, he went on to explain how we can never get along with “them,” and how I would “figure that out someday.”
I doubt my attempt to defend Muslims registered with him AT ALL, but maybe, just maybe, he will think in the future before spouting his hatred. It mattered to try.
10. I am not moving to Costa Rica, Canada, or anywhere off of US soil.*
I am not going to let this President and his administration run me off. I love my country, think it is great already, and plan to stay put.
11. Voting Matters Now More Than Ever*
I will support efforts to get out the vote, to encourage people to register to vote, and to make it easy for my fellow citizens to vote.
12. Supporting Equity and Safety for Black Students
I am grateful to have met Kelly Wickham-Hurst, creator of Being Black at School. I have made a donation and will continue to support her work advocating for equity and safety for Black students.*
13. Kindness > Sarcasm
Inspired by Caitie Whelan’s Lightning Notes about The Kindness Impulse, I will strengthen my kindness impulse so it is stronger than my sarcasm impulse. For the record, it would probably be easier to move to Canada!
14. You’re Never Too Young to Learn to Make a Difference
I will believe in the capacity of the youngest among us to embrace diversity, to make a difference, and to positively influence their peers. A great place to start is by sharing one of the books featured in this #MomsReading blog from Moms Rising.
15. None of Us Can Afford to Be Single Issue Voters
I will continue to educate myself about issues that affect my fellow women and Americans, even if they don’t directly affect me. It started with We Won’t Wait 2016 and will only grow in the face of closed-mindedness and hatred from our newly elected leaders.
16. I will support the LGBTQIA+ Community
I joined Equality Florida in order to stay informed about issues important to Florida’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community (as well as Floridians at large) including Discrimination, Adoption, Family Recognition, Safe and Healthy Schools, Hate Crimes, Voter Mobilization, Marriage, Transaction, and Gun Violence Prevention.
17. I Will Advocate Tirelessly for Banned Books
I will continue to advocate passionately against censorship and other types of limitations to the freedom to read. Learn more about Banned Books Week.
18. Climate Change Is Bigger To Me Now
Although it has not been one of my “top” issues, I will redouble my efforts to track climate change issues and make a personal impact (ten good ideas in this article).
19. The World Beyond Our National Borders Deserves My Support
I will continue to be involved in international issues and in the lives of individuals in other countries for whom my access to freedom, resources, and security can be a help, such as the three children we sponsor in Guatemala and El Salvador through Unbound.
20. I Will Respect The Lessons of History
At the wise recommendation of Steve Schale, I read Rep. John Lewis’s letter of forgiveness to Governor George Wallace today. In one passage, he said, “Much of the bloodshed in Alabama occurred on Governor Wallace’s watch. Although he never pulled a trigger or threw a bomb, he created the climate of fear and intimidation in which those acts were deemed acceptable.” In the letter, Rep. Lewis forgave Governor Wallace, who in his view “grew to see that we as human beings are joined by a common bond.”
President Elect Trump will probably never pull a trigger or throw a bomb himself, but until he is proven otherwise, I stand ready to be one of the many Americans doing my part to mitigate the climate of fear and intimidation I see infiltrating the 2017 version of America which should know so much better by now.
As my friend Mary Schaefer quoted in a recent blog post:
We tell people who we are with every breath we breathe. (Source Unknown)
Mary’s unknown source is so right.
I can’t change who is going to be sworn in on January 20, but I can be a part of keeping America great …. for all Americans … until I run out of breath.
*Items with asterisks were inspired by “my commitments to protecting our democracy,” a reflection on President Obama’s farewell address by Leah Jones. Thank you, Leah, for helping me fill out my list of 20 actions/observations in such a substantive way.
More Ideas For How To Continue Advocacy Beyond 1/20/17
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
Elaine Grace says
Great response and rules to follow! Thanks and peace to you.
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
Thank you. Peace back to you in return.
Rebecca Olkowski (@baby_boomster) says
I love all your ideas and agree with them completely. Although, I’m still tempted to use the #notmypresident hashtag. I just can’t stand the guy. I’ll be marching in Los Angeles.
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
Thanks (and I understand on the #NotMyPresident hashtag). In all honesty he doesn’t feel like my President any more than I feel like he cares about my role as a constituent. I can assure I won’t be a QUIET constituent for what that’s worth. 🙂
I honor all of your choices–they are great ones. Thanks for your belief in our country and your sharing and giving. That, Paula, is what creates the backbone of this country. Some of my choices will parallel yours, others might be more in your face. Each one of us has to decide how to cope. I applaud your post–every word of it.
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
That’s exactly the point — we are each individual in how we choose to act, but acting is a must in this environment (IMO). Thank you for your comment and you have my support as well.
Jon Mertz says
You are never too young (or old) to make a difference. So important to remember, and thank you for your list of how we can (and need to) make a difference. Thank you, Paula!
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
Thank YOU, Jon, for bringing the One20 vision to life!
While I don’t agree with a lot of your political views, I respect and value your views. I appreciate that this post wasn’t a smear fest of President Trump, but rather a way to voice the ways that you are going to make a difference for the views/causes you find important. This was very refreshing to read and gives me hope that even though folks may never agree, we can still be respectful and kind in sharing our differences.
Paula Kiger says
Thanks, Madalyn – respect, kindness, and the ability to share differences while continuing to love our nation are definitely the way to go. Thank you so much for your comment.