After the Election - Now What?

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Navigating slippery slopes. (PC: D. Herscovitch)
My most recent post here hinted at some discontent, fear, and general concern for the protection of public lands in light of this year's election results. Initially, I was okay leaving it that.

It didn't seem worth adding another post to the fray. There are so many real news outlets with real post-election information. There are so many people who know so much more about politics and government than I do. How could what I feel and what I know, what I'm learning, possibly matter?

But I'm concerned on a number of fronts about a number of things, and I want to do something that matters about it. Even if I don't quite know what that something is yet, the more I thought about not adding my own voice to the conversation, the more obvious my paradoxical thinking became.

If I don't think my voice matters on a website I founded and run, it minimizes the difference my voice can make, period. 

So, here goes.

I watched the results on election night with friends, some of whom have a passion for playing outside, some who don't, and all with the issues that matter to us hanging in the balance. The later it got, the more obvious it became that the candidate none of us could imagine being a valid choice for our head of state had a real chance of winning. I fell asleep around midnight, woke up around 3:00am from a dream, checked my phone, and my heart dropped.

In the days following November 8th, I realized I was in some sort of state of mourning, and that shocked me. Mourning because I care about things like fighting climate change, protecting public lands, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, basic human rights, and so much more. I didn't expect to feel as strongly as I felt about the outcome of the election, likely because the result wasn't something I saw as a remote possibility. I was, and still am, deeply scared, disappointed, confused, and embarrassed.

Here I am, two weeks later, still trying to figure out what to do. I've read articles about the psychology of some parts of the population of voters trying to understand the priorities of people who didn't vote the way I did, and why their priorities may have resulted in their being willing to accept things I deem unacceptable. (What I really need to do is talk to some of them, and I'm working on that one.)

I've read articles about phony "news" sites to ignore, and vowed to pay more attention to reputable sources of journalism like the New York Times, the Al Jazeera, and BBC News. (Guys, it's a lot harder to tell the truth from the non-truth than it might seem.)

I set up monthly donations to Planned Parenthood, donated to Protect Our Winters, joined the Sierra Club, and learned more about other organizations that support causes that matter to me. I wrote emails to senators and representatives, and am working on calling some of them. But in between the donations, the emails, and the articles I found, I felt, and still occasionally feel, helpless. What's a donation, email, or phone call really going to do? I'm just one person.

But I have to do something. I can't do nothing, because to me, doing nothing means I'm accepting the outcome, and accepting everything that goes with it.

I'm continuing to explore different ways I can affect change because the real enemy is complacency. If you feel strongly about a cause or issue that's in danger, do something.  Find something you can do, or learn, or share, or help with, no matter how small. History's shown that if enough of those "one persons" get together, real positive change is possible.