Thursday, November 10, 2016
Rioting is stupid
Thing is, you're probably contributing to that hate, whether you realize it or not.
Most of my social media feeds are filled with hate for Trump supporters, for people who didn't vote, for people who voted for third parties, for people who didn't write-in Bernie Sanders, for people who won't stop complaining, for anything related to the election. I get it, I hate things, I totally know what those people are feeling. I work in a hotel. I instantly hate anyone who calls me to request a wake-up call instead of setting it up themselves. I silently wish leprosy on anyone who borrows a luggage cart and then shoves it out into the hallway and leaves it, rather than returning it to where others can use it. I hope malaria consumes every person who yells, "HELLO! IS ANYONE THERE???" over the "I've stepped away from the desk" sign because those people are stupid and shouldn't exist.
I totally get hating everything and I'm absolutely with you. Hating things is fun and cathartic.
That being said, shut the hell up and do something else. Something else that's productive. Don't put up a facebook event dedicated to "rioting" or "protesting the election results" and try to gather thousands of people into a frothy-mouthed mob that's likely to do some damage. Do something helpful.
I usually think of myself as a pessimist. I've been working nights in hotels for most of the last fifteen years. There have been a few day shifts here and there, but they've been just enough to let me know days are worse than nights. Nights, however, really let you see the worst in people. People at night are tired and tired jerks let their jerkish nature reveal itself. They become assholes rather than just jerks. Even polite people during the day mostly turn into jackasses at night. I know that humanity as a whole is a pile of garbage.
But I don't believe that we have to be. I'm actually not pessimistic about the next four years. I can see possible upsides to having this flip-flopping blowhard in charge of the country. (I can see a lot of possible problems too, don't worry.) I just don't hate that he got elected.
Yeah, okay, so you hate Trump, Pence, the GOP congress, everyone who voted for Trump, everyone who didn't vote, everyone who doesn't return luggage carts, and shower drains full of hair. Do something about it.
Organize, create, donate, help, offer support, clean out your damn shower drain.
When I heard that Trump was actually elected, I had a totally split reaction to it. I was shocked and not at all shocked. The morning of the election, I had a guest come up to my dest with a bloody tissue on his hand. He asked for some bandaids, so I got some, handed them over, and waited for him to apply them, knowing he'd ask where a trash can is because every human is too stupid to see the one they walked by to get to the front desk. I watched him bleed on the desk and figured, when he was finished bandaging himself, he'd ask for something to clean the biohazard he'd accidentally created.
Instead, he smeared lazily at the blood with his bloody tissue, shrugged, and then turned to walk away.
So yeah, dealing with that sort of human so often in customer service means a Trump presidency makes perfect sense to me. Trump's a reality show windbag buffoon, but America loves reality TV and every person who works in sales is a windbag, so it makes perfect sense that we'd elect this guy over someone who has decades of experience.
I know, it seemed ridiculous to consider that people would overlook his rude comments, his baseless viewpoints, his constant self-contradiction, and the fact that he doesn't seem to care about anyone but himself, but the inherent nature of humanity is to not care about anyone else. So why wouldn't we elect someone who exemplifies that?
I'm sure everyone wants to argue with me and say they care, they aren't selfish, they would never leave their garbage in a pile in a public place when there's a bin within fifteen feet of where they were sitting, they would never take away rights from someone just because they're "different."
But shhh. Don't argue with me, don't waste your time arguing with anyone who doesn't agree with you (unless you really get a kick out of it and don't actually think you're going to change their minds, because statistics show you aren't. Use your goodness to go out and make the world better.
Many of the pin makers I follow on Instagram have donated part of their profits to Planned Parenthood or the Trevor Project. This is GREAT! I love to see this! This is how you SHOULD react to getting news you don't like about your society.
Crying and proclaiming that you're scared, that you know the people you love are going to be victimized, condemning those who voted differently than you doesn't do anything. Don't make yourself a victim. Don't assume that just because you're black/brown/queer/female/whatever that you've instantly lost all power. You're the same person you were Nov 7, and you'll be the same person Jan 21st. If you have the power today to make crafts, you'll have that power tomorrow. Make something, put it up for sale, and donate the profits to a charity that means a lot to you.
Worried about LGBTQ youth? Find a hotline to volunteer at! If that doesn't feel like enough, organize a group of people who have cars or bus passes or who just know krav maga and make sure all your local LGBTQ organizations know that people who feel alone or who have scary commutes can call on that group for help or company or an escort. Find someone who knows how to make apps and kickstart an app that will let LGBTQ people who are in bad situations call for that same help.
Scared Trump is going to use his climate-change-skepticism to shut down all earth-friendly advancements and programs? Go vegan, and encourage everyone you know to do the same! (Animal products are the most destructive thing on the planet, just so you know.)
Think the electoral college is bullshit? Organize, learn how to get items on ballots, have petitions signed, get people to call their congress person, and educate yourself on what it would take to get it abolished.
Pissed that people didn't vote? Start early (the next congress election is in two years, I hear!) and volunteer now with organizations that help register people to vote, or START an organization that will volunteer to bring people to their polling place if they worry they'll have transportation issues.
Love to sew/knit/crochet, but have no more relatives who need handmade clothes? Donate handmade clothes to homeless shelters (or to homeless people in person on the street)! Knit chicken sweaters for rescued hens who lost their feathers in traumatic situations! Sew cute and fun hospital gowns for kids with terminal illnesses! Create stuffed animals and donate them to local toy programs that give to needy children.
Do you know martial arts or yoga or pilates? Start FREE meetups specifically aimed at minorities or LGBTQ groups and teach them your skills. Think of how minority groups feel about always being considered LESS than the majority, and think about how nice it feels to take control of your body by learning a physical skill. That can help someone who looks in the mirror and hates what they see! Having a safe space to learn yoga when you feel your body is wrong or different can be INCREDIBLY beneficial. Even if you're just really good any meditation, teach that! Othered groups can often feel anxiety and stress and if you can offer any relief there, it will help!
Do you just not have the energy or time or money for all that? Understandable, not everyone can. You can do SOMETHING, though. Even if it's just to find online communities of disenfranchised people and be an ally and to listen to what they have to say, you will be helping. Even if you only have time to donate $5 here and there to some organization that does what you believe in, it counts.
So what if you only have the time and energy to start a Pinterest board promoting goodness, you can still do SOMETHING, and that's how you stop the world from going to shit. Sitting back and doing nothing is how evil wins. Be the change you want to see, and all that.
Yeah, you'll still need to complain, I get that too. You feel a lot of feelings and it's not healthy to bottle that up. But even complaining can be an opportunity to help. Next time you post a blog post about how you're feeling include a link to Greater Good and encourage people to click. Do you write/complain a lot about movies or tv or other media? Get ads on your page and donate all the proceeds to charity. Get affiliate links set up, use them when you link the media you're reviewing, and donate those proceeds.
The point is to make sure you're always working toward a world you want to see, even if you're feeling scared. People are always working against what you want, so you have to be the person working against what they want if you expect to get anywhere.