13 November 2016

So, what now? Part 1: Quick, easy stuff

So, the nightmare scenario which the polls said couldn’t happen, has happened. Not only that, Hillary Clinton left voters disinterested in even turning up to vote, so Republicans now control the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as the Presidency.

I’m not going to go into any further analysis of how this happened. Plenty of other people will be attempting that. Instead, I’m going to be posting a series of articles about positive things you can do if you’re unhappy about the result.

This is part 1: quick easy stuff.

1. Join the ACLU

Trump has proposed many actions which are blatant violations of the Constitution. If he tries to take action on any of them, our first line of defense is likely to be the American Civil Liberties Union. I joined when I moved to the US in 1997, and I recommend that you join now if you haven’t already.

2. Join Amnesty International

Trump has promised to bring back torture. He’s considering one of the architects of the Bush torture program to head the CIA. It’s a safe bet that Guantánamo Bay will be reopened for new residents. Join Amnesty International and get ready to write some letters.

3. Donate to Planned Parenthood

When Republicans demolish the Affordable Care Act, women will lose the corresponding birth control benefits, or lose their insurance entirely. Since Republicans control the House and Senate as well as the Presidency, they’ll probably be successful at totally de-funding Planned Parenthood, further reducing access to contraception. So, expect the downward trend on abortions to flatten out, or even reverse.

A change like that will give Republicans the excuse for further restrictions on abortion, or to overturn Roe vs Wade and make it entirely illegal. That, in turn, will mean a return to the days of women in poverty getting backstreet abortions because they can’t get proper medical care. So, maybe donate to Planned Parenthood now.

4. Join the EFF

While the ACLU focuses on the entire Bill of Rights, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is specifically focused on digital rights. Trump has said he wants to increase surveillance and metadata collection, particularly if you’re a Muslim.

So, consider joining the EFF. Even if you don’t join, check out their Surveillance Self Defense project.

5. Pay for some journalism

The media may have helped create Trump, but if we’d been relying on him releasing his tax returns for information we’d never have learned what we did actually find out. One he gets into power, it’s going to be even more important to have media outlets that challenge him and pay for investigative journalism. So, consider a subscription to one or more reputable media outlets.

Personally I find all US TV news to be garbage, whether it’s Fox, CNN or MSNBC, so I have no suggestions there.

For print and online journalism, I’d suggest maybe subscribing to Mother Jones, Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic or The Guardian, all of which I’ve found worth paying for at various times.

For radio or audio, you could donate to This American Life, ProPublica, Planet Money, or your local PBS station.

6. Donate to your local food bank

One reason why people get angry enough to vote for Trump is that there are people short of cash for food; food insecurity rates and poverty rates still haven’t recovered from the great recession. So, consider donating to your local food bank.

7. Other places to donate

There’s an upcoming runoff election in Louisiana. If Democrat Foster Campbell can win, he will help check Republican power in the Senate. You could consider donating to his campaign.

There are many other places you could usefully donate money; here’s one list, or read on for some organizations defending specific constituencies feeling threatened by Trump.

The National Resources Defense Council started as a kind of citizen-led EPA, but have now expanded to global reach. (If you do a quick Google search for the NRDC you’ll probably see an ad from a Canadian logging company that really hates them. Said company seems to be guilty of backing out on environmental agreements, carrying out SLAPP lawsuits, and raiding their employees’ pension funds. Sounds like an endorsement to me.)

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund will be busy if Trump starts carrying out his post-election promise to deport 2-3 million people.

The International Refugee Assistance Project is fairly new, and not yet rated by the various charity rating sites. It focuses specifically on providing assistance and preserving rights for refugees in the USA. For more general assistance to refugees, there’s the American Refugee Committee.

Muslim Legal Fund of America (based in Texas!) are also not rated yet, but their job is to fight for the legal rights of Muslims in the USA.

Lambda Legal support the legal rights of LGBT people. Remember, the new Vice President has quite a history in that area; while Trump may think gay marriage is here to stay, it remains to be seen whether Republicans think Trump is here to stay.

© mathew 2017