November 16, 2016
Portland Mercury: Wondering What You Can Do? A Lot.
By Megan Burbank
Amid all of the messages of sadness and anger and disbelief I’ve received in the wake of last Tuesday’s presidential election, there’s one more refrain I’m hearing, and it’s an important one: “What can I do?”
You may feel powerless right now, but if you’re where I am—crossing the threshold from grief into anger—and you’re ready to ask that question, you’ll find there are an almost infinite number of answers. There’s a lot you can do. Start here:
Get involved with politics at local and state levels, and VOTE IN THE FUCKING MIDTERMS.
When shit hits the fan nationally, local and state governments become the one route to getting progressive policy passed and enacted. We can’t and shouldn’t expect anything good from the incoming president, but luckily, we live in a state that’s head and shoulders above the nation in terms of progressive policies. Get excited about that, and get invested in it. Make sure you vote in the midterms.
Special announcement for fellow white people:
Trump’s election is our fault. People of color traditionally show up for Democrats, and they showed up for Hillary. Way too many of us showed up for a national embarrassment. We need to look at that and take responsibility for it. If you’re interested in doing a better job of showing up for racial justice, good news: There are tons of organizations out there working on racial justice. Showing Up for Racial Justice PDX (SURJ PDX) and the NAACP are good places to start. Now would also be a good time to start supporting organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, and the ACLU, which advocates for civil liberties and has already vowed to take Trump and his unconstitutional policies to court.
Donate to your friendly neighborhood abortion fund.
Trump has said he wants to appoint “pro-life” Supreme Court Justices. “Pro-life” is, as we all know, a euphemism for “people who hate women and want them to die from illegal abortions because babies or whatever the fuck.” Abortion access is already embattled throughout the US, and it’s about to get much, much worse. Now is the time to support local abortion funds, which connect women seeking abortions with funding sources so that they can afford their procedures. Start with the Network for Reproductive Options and the CAIR Project. You can give money, but you can also volunteer to be trained as a hotline advocate, or offer housing and support to women traveling across state lines for their procedures, a phenomenon that’s sure to become more common under the incoming Douchebag in Chief. You can and should also give to organizations that provide abortion care, like Planned Parenthood, and those that work on abortion rights at the legislative level, like NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon. Put your donation in Mike Pence’s name if you’re feeling frisky.
If you have a uterus, consider putting an IUD in it.
Just under half of American voters elected a clown who wants to take away our health care and a Grinch who thinks women should be punished for having miscarriages. I’m not panicking about abortion access in Portland, because we live in a strongly pro-choice state. But one of the great things about Obamacare is it mandated that birth control be covered as preventative care, which means you can get an IUD installed right now without even having to pay a copay. IUDs are extremely effective, and keep you baby-free for 3-12 years depending on what kind you get. They also cost a fuck-ton of money—$500-900—without insurance. The Sexual Assault ’n’ Lady-Disparaging Club wants to repeal Obamacare, and if that happens, the no-copay birth control benefit will go away. The entire process will likely take at least a year if not much longer, so don’t get an IUD out of fear if it doesn’t feel right—at least not yet. But if you’ve been thinking about getting an IUD, now would be a good time to get one. Plus, Mike Pence hates birth control, so getting yours now—in the strongest, longest-acting form—will feel especially righteous. (Pro-tip: Unless you have amazing pain tolerance, plan to take the day off work if you’re going the IUD route. And don’t be shy about asking for Valium.)
If you love Hillary Clinton and cried through her concession speech, write her a thank-you letter. Then join EMILY’s List.
HRC may have lost the Electoral College, but she’s the first woman in American history to win the popular vote for the presidency. That may not count for inauguration day, but it sure as fuck counts for the history books. It also means that Trump came in second, which means, lol, he’s a loser. SAD! But enough about him. This is about Hillary, and what her candidacy meant and still means to women and girls across the country. For a lot of us, she was the Brienne to our Sansa, she was our champion, and we wanted to see her on the Iron Throne. Thank her for getting us one step closer to putting a woman in the Oval Office. Then keep supporting women candidates by joining EMILY’s List, the organization that recruits pro-choice Democratic women to run for public office, supports their campaigns, and helps get out the vote.
Support journalists and journalism.
Trump hates the free press, so it follows that supporting quality investigative journalism will be especially important during his presidency. Subscribe to an actual newspaper and read it. Consider supporting groups that advocate for journalist protections, like the Committee to Protect Journalists. That shouldn’t be necessary in a free country like ours, but it may well be under the sexist hobgoblin regime.
And hey, third party voters:
If you actually care about cultivating and growing a viable third party, guess what? Oregon has one. Maybe you could get involved with the Working Families Party and work for change in a sustainable way instead of just feeling righteous while fucking things up for the rest of us every four years.