“There were protests on an unprecedented scale during the Electoral College meetings on Monday. All across America, people were fighting to protect their version of democracy. Now that the Electoral College has selected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America, we asked people around the country how they are preparing for his presidency.
Mutual fear of regression and mutual love of democracy has brought Americans of all ages and backgrounds together.
While many of us from New York to California may be on a “news diet,” membership is growing in organizations that help preserve our civil liberties, like the ACLU. People are donating money to Planned Parenthood and other soon-to-be defunded organizations. In the south, people are standing up to oppression and taking extra measures to stop hate groups, such as the Klu Klux Klan, from bringing violence into their communities. In the Midwest, an educator questions how xenophobic rhetoric will affect his classroom. On the east coast, a father fears his children will be racially profiled. People on the west coast are vowing resistance. With government backing, they know that they “are in for a bumpy ride,” but will not take the wrongful actions of this “new administration lying down.”
The West Coast
I’m not going to speak to Trump’s policy, which I think is extremely scary. What is more important is our humanity and basic principles. Living in Los Angeles means that, of course, we are a little more progressive than most, so I’m seeing a rise in protests for minorities, especially immigrants, and the LGTBQ community. Also, LA has already declared itself a sanctuary city, and both Mayor Garcetti and Police Chief Beck have said they will not enforce or aid any anti-immigration or anti-gay policy.
“I am seeing an uptick in the organizations that support women’s rights, as well as the rights of minorities.”
I am seeing an uptick in lawyers signing up for pro bono work to help, including many who are reactivating their memberships in the ACLU. But perhaps what I am most proud of is that people are not afraid to speak their minds and are openly challenging him… even if just in response to Trump’s tweets. We are in for a bumpy ride, but I don’t think any of us are taking this lying down.
– Lisa DeSouza, Management Consultant
I’m 82. I worked until I was 80. I’m a widow, but my husband and I always paid our own way. Neither of us had retirement funds, so we’re lucky that social security was there as a safety net. I’m worried for my family. Someday, there may not be any social security. Not everyone has a 401K.
I’ve always paid my own health care my whole life, so Obamacare didn’t change anything for me. I also pay for supplemental Medicare. I don’t think my situation will change, but I’m worried that a Trump presidency will cut benefits, both social security and Medicare, and I will become destitute.
– Lorraine Carr, Retiree
I’m preparing by really digging in and understanding the issues of value to me, such as inclusion, researching the organizations that do this kind of work, and trying to find the ones that share my values about how to tackle these issues. Now is the time for action. If you believe in something, it must be something you commit to daily. You can’t phone it in or simply Facebook post about it anymore.
We, as a nation, as a world, are woefully ill-prepared and ill-equipped to deal with a Trump presidency. There is no time in modern history, with the exception of World War II, where attempting to maintain the status quo, centrism and compromise have done more damage than this moment we are in right now, and for what is about to happen in the immediate future.
There will be no effective legal or institutional paths to stop or reform his administration’s agenda or policies. The most vulnerable among us will certainly suffer and die from institutional class warfare by the repealing of the Affordable Care Act, the gutting of Medicare, Medicaid and SNAP, the denial of climate change, endless wars, as well as the implementation of an imperialist agenda, white supremacy and nationalism.
“The silenced voices of refugees and women abused in the system, and by the system, cannot and will not be heard. This list goes on and on, ad nauseam.”
We, as a world, need to be focused not just on self-defense and survival but real revolution. Trump and his cronies are just exploiting what has always been just below the surface. We need to give up on this impending moral tale that not only allows but relies on oppression and exploitation to exist. Now is the time to start building the world we want, with no compromise or forgiveness for the current system and its masters.
– Donny Greene, Academic
We plan to organize, galvanize, mobilize and resist. The Muslim community will not live in fear. If he thinks he can intimidate us, he has another thing coming at him.
– Reena Saleem Paracha, Activist
In our state, we are preparing to stand up against the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who have been energized by the ascension of Donald J. Trump. Just slightly more than sixty miles from my front door, and less than twenty miles from where my mother lived as a child, now resides a very dangerous hate group. Its young leader was one of the Trump supporters who assaulted peaceful Trump protesters at a Trump rally in our city in March. We are keeping tabs on these groups and their recruitment efforts in our area. In the event that they demonstrate, we counter-demonstrate. We also collect information on the ancillary groups.
“The goal is to be able to anonymously provide information to law enforcement agencies in the event that any of these groups stage an attack.”
I am also donating an extra ten dollars a month to the ACLU and have made first-time donations to Planned Parenthood. I continue to educate myself further on the history of fascism and white supremacy.
For months I heard pundits on news programs say that Trump’s supporters “take him seriously, but not literally.” I don’t remember hearing anyone define what that means, so I came to my own conclusion.
Trump’s supporters don’t care that he may never ban Muslims from entering the US or actually put Muslims on a list. What’s important to a faction of his supporters is that he considers Islam to be a problem. Perhaps, he only led them to believe those are his views but it was the message his people wanted to hear.
Trumpies don’t think he’ll wall off Mexico but it was important for them to hear a presidential candidate say Mexicans are a problem.
Many beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act voted for Trump. They’re gambling he will probably replace their Obamacare with something else.
I’m a white, male, middle age and middle class. Trump’s presidency will probably only marginally impact my life. But those of his fans with a penchant for misery and hate have found a fresh voice.
“Meanness is the new black. And that meanness is a threat to us all. So I will live colorfully.”
I will continue to endeavor to be welcoming, accepting and generous to all. But I’m going to be goddamn loud about it.
– Muggs McGinnis, Louisville, KY
Trump has reversed the trend towards tolerance, progressivism, and intellectualism. Instead the country seems to be reverting to a McCarthy era sense of xenophobia and fear of the ‘other.’ As an educator, I am caught. On one hand, we are supposed to remain largely politically neutral. My job is to educate students about how to think independently, and at the same time encourage tolerance, kindness and patience.
However, now that anti-intellectualism as well as the ‘alt-right’ have become legitimate political beliefs, I run into some dicey territory as to what I can say to my students to ensure their safety in the school community, while at the same time valuing their opinions and political beliefs. So when a pro-Trump student spouts anti-Muslim or anti-Mexican sentiments, for example, do I: a) immediately and harshly put a stop to this form of hate (as in the days pre-Trump? or b) calmly ask them to refrain from political speech during school while trying to recognize the ‘legitimacy’ of their political beliefs?
“But… truly, there is no preparation for this. Everything that will happen in the near future is so nebulous, and incomprehensible. I truly have no clue in what ways the country, or its people might change.”
It’s with fear, trepidation and uncertainty that I am preparing to stand up for my students who will become marginalized under this new regime of ignorance, ugliness and hate. I am preparing to have to defend my beliefs as a non-Christian. I am preparing to have to pray for peace, pray that President Trump doesn’t act in a way that lands the United States in a difficult place both within our borders and internationally.
– Dan Eigenberg, Educator
I am the Vice President of Legal at a national insurance company, and as a woman, I believe in equal pay and the breaking of the glass ceiling. Politically, I’ve always leaned a little left. I’m prefacing with all this because my story and opinions about this election are very different from the way I normally think.
I am happy Trump won. I know on the east coast, this is very unpopular thinking. I immigrated legally to this country when I was young. I was born in China but spent many years in Indonesia. My family is Christian, and Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. Asian families and Christians had many restrictions. We were discriminated against by Muslims. Trump’s strong immigration policies, and anti-Muslim thinking align with my philosophies, and I look forward to his immigration policies being passed into legislation.
I intend to avoid reading or listening to anything about the inauguration, especially on January 20th. I will be supporting women’s rights more, and am incredibly concerned about the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and the denial of reproductive and preventative care to millions of women. Finally, I’ll be devoting charitable efforts toward refugees, including Syrian refugee families here in Kansas City.
– Alex Sachs, Progressive Democrat, LGBT Activist and Feminist
I’m very worried that this country is going backwards. Trump is mainly appointing white men to his cabinet. It’s like the country has time-traveled to 1776.
With all the shootings of innocent black people, and the retaliation against cops, I’m worried that with a President Trump, it will only get worse. I’m scared that I won’t be able to walk down the street without a policeman stopping and frisking me, thinking that I’m a criminal.
“I’m afraid my son and daughter will be falsely accused of crimes they didn’t commit, just like back in the days of Jim Crow.”
People marched across a bridge in Selma, Alabama, and Rosa Parks sat in the front of the bus. Segregation was over a long time ago. The world was finally going in the right direction. I just don’t want to go back. I don’t think anybody does.
– Terrence Jones, Marketing Manager
We’re trying to decide whether to pull our money out of the stock market. It’s no surprise the markets are going up right now. They always do at the end of the year. We don’t know what will happen as soon as Trump is inaugurated. Everything could change.
We’re not going to be able to retire anytime soon though, particularly if the laws about Medicare and Medicaid change. We are lucky. We have always lived well. Since the United Way stopped giving money to Planned Parenthood, we stopped donating to them, and give directly to Planned Parenthood instead.
We have been saving for retirement since we got married, almost 40 years now. There are so many people who will have to work their whole lives. With any luck, my wife and I will be able to retire when we’re 69.
– Aaron Steinberg, Vice President, Sales