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2016-11-09
Hillary Clinton campaigners last night

How to survive now that Donald Trump is president

The unthinkable has happened, and the world is in meltdown – here’s five ways to console yourself after last night’s shock result

Hey everyone! Guess what? Donald J. Trump – the Reality TV host / alleged rapist – has been elected to the most powerful position in the free world! Despite all the soul-shattering things he’s said and done over the last 12 months, the Republican nominee is now on his way to the White House, and will soon be known officially as the President of the United States. 

While most of you probably struggled to get to grips with the results this morning (I know I did), it’s important to remember the very real pain most of the world is feeling right now. There’s not that much to laugh about here. Trump has spoken openly about his disdain for much of the country he now governs; singling out LGBTQ+ people, African Americans, Muslims, and Mexican immigrants. He’s lied incessantly, and he’s boasted about sexually assaulting women. He’s even dismissed climate change – one of the most dangerous global issues of our time – as a Chinese conspiracy. He’s done all this openly, and yet he still managed to secure a “stunning victory” over Hillary Clinton. 

So what happens now? How do we carry on with our day-to-day lives? If it’s anything like June’s Brexit result (which saw hate crimes multiply by up to 500 per cent), Americans are probably feeling more conflicted than ever. Divisions between races, religions, genders, and age groups are going to be widening, and hope is going to start flickering. But while it all feels like doom and gloom, there’s still things you can do to take a stand. 

MOBILISE 

If there’s one good thing to come out of this election – and I'm admittedly stretching here – it’s a fresh sense of clarity. As Kylie Jenner poetically put it, 2016 is the year of “realising things”. At least now we can accept that white supremacy is a serious and prevalent problem, that minority groups are in a dangerous position, and that basic women’s rights will be slowly eroded over the next four years. Knowing these things is the first step to changing these things, and there’s still ways we can stop them – or at least slow them down. Write to congress. Start a campaign. Go to rallies. School yourself on local and national politics and understand the way the cogs turn. Be aware, and be angry.

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

It’s hard to know that people aren’t all like you, and don’t believe in the same social justice system you do. It’s also hard when spoilt, underqualified white men with narcissistic personality disorders get given things they don’t deserve. To make it all worse, being reminded of these things so blatantly will wreak havoc on your mental health. That’s why, when it all gets too much, you have to know when to switch it all off. Be kind to yourself and to everyone else. Step away from the screen, close the news tabs (close them) and take a quick break from politics. Just a little breather. 

CHOOSE YOUR CAUSE

Which of Trump’s shambolic policies has pissed you off the most? The defunding of Planned Parenthood? The tax cuts for the super rich? The threat to LGBT rights? The WALL? Identify the issues you care about and channel your anger and frustration into fighting them. 

KEEP LISTENING

People are afraid of the unknown. It’s why neo-nazi ideologies thrive in predominantly white areas, and why Brexit was so popular in areas with low immigration rates. Generally speaking, if you don’t communicate with people who have a different skin colour, upbringing, or sexual orientation to you, then you’re probably not going to understand where they’re coming from. Their issues won’t matter to you. So read up and make the effort to keep conscious. As reformed white supremacist Christian Picciolini puts it: “Hate is born of ignorance. Fear is its father, and isolation its mother.”

STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE WHO NEED YOU

We need to remember that many Americans – whether they’re women, LGBTQ+, black, Muslim or Mexican – will be feeling pretty unsafe right now. Given the freshly legitimised sense of white supremacy and nationalism that’s spreading around the country, it’s likely they have a right to be. Offer support, speak out, stand up for them, and keep vigilant on their behalf. A man with bigoted beliefs may have made it into the White House (without securing the popular vote), but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep calling him, or his supporters, out.