PHOTOGRAPH BY AL DRAGO / CQ ROLL CALL VIA GETTY
I can hardly believe it’s a hop skip away to February. It was literally just the New Year. By now, we’ve crossed out enough accidental 2016s, developed new habits, and welcomed the 45th President of the United States. Well. Let me rephrase. By welcome I mean accept, resign ourselves to, and protest. The number gathered to celebrate Donald J. Trump on Inauguration Day may be up for argument,* but simultaneous protests around the world counteracted the celebrations with deafening messages.
*Trump (l) inauguration versus Obama(r). Obama’s inauguration head count was estimated at 1.6 million. The Trump administration continues to debate which crowd was larger.
One of the largest protests was the Women’s March on Washington (WMW) and Women’s March Global (WMG). It consisted of 616 marches in the United States and overseas, from Atlanta to Antarctica. On January 20, an article reported participation from 60 countries on seven continents. Social media was buzzing as well. Provoking commentary from both supporters and anti-Trumps had my timelines in a tizzy.
In spite of the protests, a mere seven days into the presidency have brought a number of overwhelming changes. Here are a few coping mechanisms I’ve gathered in my own acceptance of the new presidency. Whatever your stance, there’s a valuable takeaway:
- Get in the know. This here has been the brunt of my civilian participation since the inauguration. I’ve been taking in as much news–until I’m tired of it—as possible. There’s no fear of #alternativefacts when you’re keenly paying attention to what’s going on. Beyond social media. If we want to affect change, we need to know what an executive order is. He pretty immediately signed three in regards to the ACA (Obama Care), a Federal Program for First Time Homeowners, and the TPP. Let’s read what these are about and find out how it potentially affects us citizens at large.
- Start fights on the Internet. Ha. I literally think people wake up and get into it just for fun. Let’s try this instead: keep the complaining and people-bashing to your WhatsApp and text messages with your homies. Or better yet, don’t do it (clears throat). I admit that it’s not an easy adjustment, for many, from Obama to DJT but it doesn’t serve us any good to become what we say we hate. Doesn’t love trump hate? Some of the articles that I saw online were sickening.
- Engage in conversations with people who have different views. AKA let’s grow up. Similar flow to the previous point. I mean, I’ve heard that family members are disowning each other over the election. REALLY?! Let’s take a moment of silence for that. [……………………………….] Healthy respectful debate is a GOOD thing. The world is bigger than us, and we live in a democracy. We should stand up for what’s right, but we can disagree without being malicious. A democracy also means that sometimes the option chosen will be the one we didn’t choose. And even the people on “our side” will make decisions based on those results (case in point: Chrisette Michele. Ya’ll, publicly tearing our own down is music to the hateful ear). We can’t expect a democracy to mean we’ll get everything we want. Everyone has the right to think for themselves and act for themselves, and it doesn’t mean you’re not (black, a woman, Democratic, loving, or a Christian). Self-righteousness isn’t helpful for anyone. Let’s be and think bigger, and I think we’ll be surprised at how much MORE we have in common.
- Pray. I believe in prayer which means that I believe God is control. The Bible warns us of times like these–of wars and rumors of wars, of men being lovers of themselves, of questionable leaders taking the helm. It also states that God can change any situation in our favor. So I’m not completely surprised by what’s going on or of what can suddenly change. But I also now realize that Christians are called to do work as the world shifts. Someone said to me that she’s tired of Christians saying cliché statements like “All we have to do is pray” or “Get over it, he’s the president.” In healthy conversation, we spoke about why faith in action is best…which brings me to my last point.
- We can do something. We concluded that when Christians turn their eyes and glaze over the magnitude of the changing world with only traditional mantras, it’s the same as when social-media-obsessed fight-picker Sallies wake up at 5:20am ready to rant. We have so much more power than we’ve been taught to believe. Although we use these sayings as a source of comfort, it actually takes away our power to act. There are better phrases to use: God is with us! We have to unlearn our patterns of helplessness and get on the move. Complaining is also powerless, and a passive-aggressive way of trying to gain control and have your voice be heard. Instead, pray and call your representatives. March peacefully. If you want, join Obama’s organization. Search out other organizations (do a google search, ask your social media outlets, look for articles) that have been active for decades.
The future is uncertain, for sure, but with our knees to the ground, our hands ready to work, our hearts in unity as fellow citizens–albeit different interests–, we will be able to conquer the next 4 years.
Let’s talk: What action will you be taking during President Trump’s tenure?