Surviving the Trumpocalypse: Part I

By: Donald Hutchins

As I’m sure you are all aware, President-elect Donald Trump has spent his first few weeks in office pressing forward, forcibly in some cases, towards achieving his campaign promises, following the lengthy process of assigning his evidently controversial cabinet members and agency appointees.

This resulted in a number of nation-wide protests and citizen efforts in coordination with their senators and members of the Democratic party to prevent what the Washington Post has called the “worst Cabinet in American History”. They noted that every nominee is either vastly unqualified for their given position, “devoted to subverting their agencies, or both”.

The likes of Rex Tillerson, Betsy DeVos, and Scott Pruit, to name a few, have clearly illustrated such an assertion. Tillerson(Secretary of State) has no experience in government or diplomacy, but is quite familiar with oil-rich countries from his 41-year career with Exxon Mobil(the last 10 he served as CEO). DeVos(Secretary of Education), having never attending a public school herself, and being an avid campaign contributor, businesswoman, and philanthropist, has actively fought in favor of private and religious schools rather than public.

Pruit, a climate change denialist with a history of lawsuits with the U.S. EPA, will officially head the agency under Trump, who’s interest in dismantling environmental regulations has been asserted by everyone from BusinessInsider to the New York Times. In the coming weeks, perhaps we’ll see The Joker tapped for the head of the FBI, following Bill Cosby’s nomination for the Bureau of Women’s Affair’s.

But you know all this and more already, and I’m sure it’s become increasingly exhaustive and anxiety-inducing. We’re officially living in a White Nationalist country, and it’s scary. The next four years are going to be an intense and Earth-changing, but it’s important to address self-care and preservation as you become more active and engaged in local, social, and national issues involving your country.

I’ve organized the following points as a basis for healthful, effective activism. I’ve been engaged in these issues since before my freshman year, and I can say from experience that you are the most important concern. Maintaining a level-head is the most important part, whether writing your Senators or picketing in the streets.

  1. Do not normalize the Trumpocalpyse– take frequent breaks, so as not to become “used to” it.

    While I’m guilty of blowing up my FB wall with periodic updates of the political frenzy going on in our capital, I too have to take a break and post something lighthearted after a while. If you find that’s not the case with your friends on social media, shut it down for a while. Unplug, take a break from the virtual chaos, walk away from it– it’s not going anywhere, so you won’t miss anything. If you don’t get time away, it will overwhelm you and you will not perform effectively for yourself, much less your community. You’re the MVP in your life.

 

  1. Be mindful of where you’re investing your energy

    Actually attacking issues and making changes requires focus, and while all the world’s issues are important, we all have an issue that motivates us and that can use our help. Try and find the biggest thing that resonates with you, and engage. Some can write to legislators while others can call and some can protest, and you all determine the issues you address. It’s important not to get spread too thin across multiple topics, for the same reason it’s important to unplug from the madness: it’s overwhelming.

 

  1. Activism is fun, or it can be

    While we all can do our individual part, there’s a community aspect that’s exhilarating to engage. Whether rousing with a unified group in the streets or grouped up writing, emailing, and calling our representatives, these are networking and social opportunities. I’ve met employers and great friends at protests, and I’m eager for similar future chances. By getting involved with groups and communities addressing the issue outside of social media and the news, you gain the real-world perspectives and experiences that can’t be obtained elsewhere. Whether having a pizza-party call-a-thon to the capital or rallying with folks in D.C., these are unprecedented chances to learn and grow.

    By far, the number one consideration for all of you moving forward should be taking care of yourselves. Eating right, sleeping well, getting personal time to do what you enjoy, seeing friends and family, exercising and getting fresh air. Take some time everyday, regardless of the existential chaos, and spend it on yourself. After all, they say you can’t pour from an empty cup. So before donning your bandana and joining the revolution, you owe it to yourself to check your cup.

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