The phrase, Day 1, Trump’s America, has become popular. It is usually associated with some ugly behavior by some of our fellow Caucasian Americans often of the male persuasion but sometimes of the female variety, too. People of color, women, Muslims, in fact everyone but Caucasian American men have reported being targeted by aggressive prejudicial biased behavior that either threatens violence or follows through, like the woman who was grabbed by the pussy on a subway. Luckily, several passengers forced the offending Caucasian American men off the subway car at the next stop. You can read about all this and more on the HuffPo article, People Share Frightening Images of the Aftermath of Trump’s Victory.
Rachel Maddow interviewed Senator Elizabeth Warren and asked her How can we fight back? Senator Warren responded by standing up to bigotry. But, what does that mean? How can we as ordinary people stand up to bigotry when we see it, especially without feeling like we are risking life and limb? Well, I gotta a couple o’ ideas:
There is a simple technique to use. I reblogged an infographic by Marie-Shirine Yener on a 22 Words blog post about responding to public displays of Islamophobia, but it is a useful technique to use in the face of any and all bullying. Now, most of us think that when watching someone bully another, we should confront the bully, but that is wrong. Confronting the bully will only make you a target and likely escalate the situation, and in this world of armed assholes roaming the streets feeling threatened by every little kitten that hisses and puppy that lifts his leg to their ankle, you could easily find yourself on the business end of a stand your ground moment. We don’t need that shit. Instead, you talk to the person being bullied! SURPRISE! You don’t look at or mention the bully. You ignore the bully. But, you talk to the target. It will interrupt the situation. It will help sooth and calm the person being assaulted. And, it will help that person feel normal and accepted in a very abnormal and rejecting situation.
I hate to say it, but if the situation does escalate or you are afraid it will escalate, you should call the police immediately. Even if it is nothing, the worst that can happen is that you’d be embarrassed for calling the police for nothing or very little. Don’t worry about the asshole who is doing the harassing. Call the cops on the mo’fo’. Better to call and be wrong than to not call and be dead, amirite? Also, too, when I volunteered at the rape crisis center, we would advise women to do what helped them feel safe regardless of what it might make the man feel. Your safety comes first.
Get involved politically.
- Vote in EVERY election. It begins with dog catcher.
- Work on campaigns.
- Volunteer for your political party.
- Call or write to your Congress Critter to let them know how you feel on a specific issue.
- Stay educated on the issues. Like Thomas Jefferson said, a successful democracy requires and educated populace. Be that educated populace.
- Run for office. Yes, you!
- Do not engage trolls.
- Be respectful of everyone, including your political opponents. Don’t insult and degrade your political opponents — except in forums that are appropriate, i.e. frequented by people of equal stripe because we’re blowing off steam.
Senator Elizabeth Warren told Rachel Maddow the other night that people should volunteer for organizations that work on issues they’re concerned about. Look, many people are rightly worried about DACA kids who came out to the Feds under Obama when that was cool, but now are vulnerable to Trump’s immigration deportation force. Many people are rightly worried about a woman’s right to choose. Volunteer with Planned Parenthood or other pro-choice organization. Contribute to your culture and society. Acts of kindness and generosity are not only good for your soul, they are demonstrably good for your health since it cuts your cortisol levels, and god knows my cortisol levels have been through the roof this week.
And last, don’t tell racist, misogynistic, or xenophobic jokes. People who overhear them are more likely to behave in racist, misogynistic, or xenophobic ways at their next opportunity. People who are racist, misogynistic, or xenophobic think you are approving of their secret thoughts and not-so-secret behaviors. If you overhear someone telling such a joke, interrupt it. Tell them it is not nice and will only encourage people to behave that way — studies show, bone fide science fact — whether the teller is a believer or not. And, it hurts people’s feelings. Back in the ’90’s before LGBTQ rights were all the rage, I’d tell people that 1 in 10 are gay, so if there are ten people hearing the joke or remark, they are likely talking to a gay person or the parent of a gay person. It humanizes the target of the remark and makes it more difficult to repeat these jokes even when you’re not around. Oh, and it encourages others to do the same.
There is going to be a fight in this country. When Senator Warren and others talks about fighting back and standing up for your rights, they are not talking about physical fighting or worse. They are talking about organizing to bring pressure to bear on government officials and electing government officials. They are talking about leading by example. Don’t give in to the forces of hate, but stand up for yourself and interrupt the assholes that would abuse and hurt people. Take care of each other and yourselves.
And, by all means, if you have an ugly incident indicative of Day 1, Day 2, or Day X in Trump’s America, share it in the comments!