Are you scared?
I am. And I don’t care who knows it.
I’m not scared of the fact that our President is a Republican. Hell, I’m not even entirely sure that is what he is.
I’m scared that our President is mentally unstable. I am scared that he is already taking steps to silence his internal critics. I am scared that the next step will be to do something to silence those of us that are external of the government.
Like a lot of you, I spent the first week after the election in a bit of an emotional cocoon. Cue the email responses calling me a “liberal snowflake.” Well you know what? Bring it on, God damn it! Snowflakes are beautiful!
Life moved on, of course, because let’s be honest. In times like this, it’s good to be white. I didn’t really have to face my fears again until last week, Trump’s first as not the President-Elect, but as the actual President. I even made a Spotify playlist to indulge my rage. You can find it here.
I had been doing little things to process the fear and channel it into more worthwhile ventures. One night in a fit of insomnia I decided I was going to find the ideal Democrat to run in 2020. I settled on Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. She’s young. She’s a veteran. She stepped away from her leadership role in the DNC when the email scandal broke, so it would be hard to hit her with “crooked” or “corrupt” or any other two-syllable word the President knows.
Probably the more useful and important thing I did was have a conversation with my wife. Thanks to her job, we have disposable income – more of it than we need. Although, to be fair, I guess that is the definition of “disposable.”
She wanted me to remain calm. She even reminded me that we are in a tax bracket that will actually probably benefit from a Trump Presidency.
“I would rather get taxed at 50% and not have to worry about someone on Twitter hurting the President’s feelings and him starting World War III,” I said.
So, we started talking about what we could do. What could be our little contribution to the resistance?
I refuse to give money to political parties. Yes, I am a liberal, but I don’t trust authority. I never really have liked the idea of a person that says “You know what? These people need me as their leader.” That’s mostly because I thought that way in high school and got involved with the SGA.
I’ll be honest. High school Demetri suuuuuuucked! As my sister pointed out a few weeks ago, I owned both a cowboy hat and a fedora. Unforgivable.
Instead, my wife and I decided our money would best be spent supporting causes and groups that Candidate Trump promised to make life hard on when he became President Trump. So that’s what we are doing. Every day at noon, the alarm on my phone goes off. It has a one word message all in capital letters: DONATE.
My wife and I have decided that everyday during the Trump presidency we are going to give $20 to a group that needs our support. We started on Monday, January 23. The first week was kind of themed.
Monday, scared for what was to come, we donated to the ACLU. It seemed like a good “catch-all.”
Tuesday, after a weekend of watching jokes about the Women’s March and shaming of anyone that even mentioned the word abortion without following it with the phrase “is murder” fly around online, we donated to Planned Parenthood.
Wednesday Donald Trump signed an executive order to, as my father no doubt chanted many times last year, “build that wall”, we donated to the National Immigration Law Center.
Thursday, word leaked that the White House may be planning to get rid of the National Endowment for the Arts. So, we donated to UNC-TV. Now, to be fair, to this point eliminating the NEA has remained nothing more than a rumor. Still though, money well spent as far as I’m concerned.
Friday, after rewatching the ABC interview in which Donald Trump insisted waterboarding works and then reading that spineless former human John McCain is the only Republican loudly saying torture is never okay, we donated to Human Rights First, because it’s only a matter of time before McCain backs off his principles…you know? Like always.
Because we started this plan 23 days into the year, we are on pace to give $6,840 to a variety of worthy causes by New Year’s Eve. If Trump makes it four years as president, we will have given a total of $28,760.
Now, I am no fool. We are in a better financial position than most. I’m not going to tell you that we are “blessed” with my wife’s paycheck. I am not going to tell you that we are “lucky” to have my wife make the kind of money she does. We earned that money.
Laugh if you want, but I say “we” because you try being married to a resident, someone you may not see for literally months at a time. Try raising kids with someone that works 14 hour days. If you can do that and not truly feel like a team, then you have self-esteem issues I can’t help you with.
When I ask you to join us in this campaign, I don’t mean come up with $7000 to give. I mean give what you can to the organizations that need it the most. If you can give money, do it. If all you have to give is time, give a little time. Ideally, you can do both!
I promise, that feeling of powerlessness will start to fade. That doesn’t mean you won’t get mad or feel confused by what people you thought you knew well are suddenly willing to go along with. It means that you’ll see that as long as “We The People” will always be stronger than any demagogue.
I wrote a little piece on Facebook last week that urged everyone to stay American and to remember that no matter how important or powerful a politician believes he is, he is still our employee.
I encourage everyone to approach the next four years, if that long, like we’re the shift manager at a diner. The owner’s son has just been promoted over us. It sucks, but part of our job now is to do the jobs he won’t and make him look like an impotent jackass at every turn.
Being scared and complaining feels good. It requires literally no effort. But that will consume you.
Open your wallet. Find a hole in your schedule. Do some good, because I promise it feels better than staring at a TV screen and wondering how it came to this.