Where We Go From Here

One week ago, I awoke to a nightmare: Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America. That this time-machine-that-only-goes-50-years-backwards of a man could be elected to our nation’s highest office is deeply, profoundly upsetting. How could this insufferable individual have been elected president? How could so many millions of people ignore his breathtaking ignorance, his smug and undeserved self-confidence, his disdain for women, minorities, and anyone who is “other” than he is? How could the ideals our country was founded upon, particularly the belief that all are created equal, be so grossly ignored by half the electorate? In short, how could someone so uniquely undeserving have won?

I’ve yet to hit upon any satisfying answers to these questions, and I don’t believe there are any easy ones. There’s no single factor we can point to as an explanation for Trump’s victory. It’s important that we work to understand how this horrible thing happened, so that we might prevent its recurrence. However, seeking a place to lay blame is of little use.

Back to last Wednesday. After the election was called in Trump’s favor, I posted a distress flag on this site, and I damn well meant it. Without hyperbole America, and by extension the world, are now in incredible danger. Donald Trump is a man without a moral compass, without any guiding principle beyond looking out for himself. He’ll be the oldest first-term president in our history when he takes office, and he’s never been subjected to a serious medical evaluation. We require that of pilots, but not of presidents, and that’s something that simply must be corrected. Trump’s own father suffered from Alzheimer’s, and the president-elect’s erratic behavior suggests an addled brain. That such a person will now be in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal ought to terrify you. It terrifies me.

Through my vote, as well as my writing, offline actions, and donations, I worked to prevent this awful outcome. Nevertheless, we must now come to grips with the reality of a Trump-led America. There’s precious little that’s funny about that. I certainly don’t feel entertaining right now. I also don’t want to be the twenty-first century equivalent of the orchestra on the Titanic, writing a humor site while my country capsizes. At best, dark humor will be all I have to offer for some time.

Still, short of the aforementioned nuclear war, it’s likely I’ll make it through Trump’s presidency in one piece. After all, I’m a gainfully employed white male in America. There are tens of millions of other people in this country, however, who will have it much worse. The people who were already downtrodden, and who will now be discriminated against openly, have more to fear than I do. Things are going to get worse for women, and immigrants, and Muslims, and countless other groups. It’s frightening to realize that we’re living through what will undoubtedly be looked back upon as a very dark time in history.

More than ever before, it seems imperative that I do what I can for other people. Since the election results came in, I’ve felt an urgent need to help. Donating to worthy causes seems unquestionably good, so each day since the election, I’ve chosen a new charity to support. These are small gestures, but at least they feel like something. Furthermore, each time I give to others, I find the despair subsides just a tiny bit.

Despite what has happened, and what I fear will happen, I am not powerless. You are not powerless. Whether you volunteer your time, give blood, or donate money, you can help make the world a better place.

The very first donation I made following Trump’s victory was to one of my favorite organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is dedicated to defending and preserving the rights and liberties enshrined in the Constitution, and guaranteed to every person in America. Their work has always been important, but the need for it will surely be greater in the next four years. After donating, I received a message which included the following:

Thanks for adding your name to fight for civil rights and liberties for everyone in this country. The ACLU can’t succeed in the work we do without you.

We hear you. And we’re here for you. Now take the next step to bring more people into this fight.

I’ll be in touch soon about more ways to get involved and stand up for civil rights and liberties. Let’s work together to keep all of us safe and free.

“Let’s work together to keep all of us safe and free.” That sounds pretty good to me. How about you?