I’m angry. Just like you, I’m angry.
I’m angry that Hillary Rodham Clinton won the popular vote in the U.S. presidential election, yet due to an outdated electoral college system, Donald Trump is now president-elect of the United States.
I never believed that someone like Trump would be elected. I always thought he was a joke. I didn’t believe a man who lives in a gilded penthouse and hosted a reality show TV star really would be taken seriously.
I never believed that a man with poor impulse control, prone to use of exclamation marks in his tweets, would become a world leader. I didn’t think that someone who received the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke would be supported by over 57 million American voters.
Trump barked and harangued his way into public office, showing us you can spew hate, disparage minorities and tell lies, doing whatever it takes to get elected. This is the example he has set.
How could a man who openly disparaged women, threatened to take away reproductive rights and ran a crude, mean-spirited campaign impregnated with racist rhetoric win the election?
Now what? What are we going to do about it?
I have a three part plan.
- We start with two questions. What could each of us have done to get Hillary Clinton elected? What didn’t we do? I didn’t do enough myself. We then make an inventory of what skills we need to share with others.
- We try to understand why Trump won. Who voted for Trump and why? Why didn’t we see this coming?
- We fight for our ideals and we pledge to work year round to protect human rights, not just during election season.
What does fighting back look like?
We are going to get out of our homes and act. No more talk. Now is the time for action.
Some of us are going to fight back by volunteering with organizations doing valuable work on behalf of people whose rights are being violated. I’ve included a list of organizations doing excellent human rights work. They’re listed at the end of my piece.
Some of us are going to start mentoring young women to enter public office. Mentorships would start in low income areas.
Some of us are going to mentor artists find their voice and write about a world that we don’t hear about in the New York Times or The New Yorker.
Some of us are going to fight to see college tuition reduced or made free of charge.
Some of us are going to work to see the electoral college system abolished.
Some of us will help young men and women fill in college application forms and apply for scholarships.
Some of us are going to work with the Democratic Party to help select a strong leader.
Some of us are going to work with new immigrants to help them settle into their new homes and make them feel welcome.
Some of us are going to donate or fund raise on behalf of organizations fighting for the ideals that we believe in. Ideals that Trump threatens.
Some of us will go into Trump county and work to create more economic opportunities.
Great art and political change come from despair and marginalization. We have an opportunity to create change. We have an opportunity to be part of a movement whose centre is not in New York, Los Angeles or Washington, but rather in parts of the country whose voices were overlooked in this election. Take Flint, Michigan, for example, where tainted water pipes have yet to be replaced.
As of this moment, 59,739,748 Americans voted for Hillary Clinton. Clearly, there are a lot of people out there who don’t want to live in a nation ruled by fear, hate and inequality.
Each of us has a voice. Let’s all use it. Let’s use this setback to create a better country and a stronger Democratic Party.
Mia Kirshner is a dual Canadian-American citizen.