As part of my preparations for Trump’s likely electoral victory in a few weeks, I am making some promises to myself about how I will ride through the shock, doing my best to survive it. I share these should you want to adapt them for your own benefit.
(This follows plans laid out in an earlier post, but I wrote that before I decided to start assuming the worst in this regard. A revisit seemed in order.)
I promise to stay calm. I have started this already by dialing down my caffeine intake; I last week swore off my usual breakfast espressos after realizing that, as of recently, they make me feel paralyzed with hopelessness for hours. (Drip coffee is okay.)
As the weeks go on, I will do whatever else I need to do in order to stay calm enough to adhere to the rest of these promises.
I will accept my feeling sad and scared. Corollary: I will accept my friends and family feeling sad and scared, too.
I felt a raised baseline level of anger throughout the George W. Bush years, and many of my friends and colleagues did too. We lived with it. I expect that the tone of a Donald J. Trump presidency to primarily engender anxious fear rather than frustrated anger. We will have to live with it.
Internal resistance: I will not give in to despair or nihilism. Giving up represents by far the easiest path to take, a constant temptation. Not giving up will take work. Some days it will take more work than other days. I promise to put in the effort.
Corollary: If my friends and family start teetering towards the edge, I will help pull them back. I need them.
External resistance: I will seek out movements keeping American good alive. America under Trump will be a kleptocracy at best, and at worst a super-villain committing atrocities on a scale unique to human history. I expect something in between: years of inept, purely reactionary leadership, whose neglect of law and policy at every level causes suffering and injustice at home and abroad.
I know that many, many Americans will not simply accept this state of affairs. I will look not only to my friends, but also to American political leaders, journalists, and other public figures who will openly take a stand against their country embracing evil. I accept that life might become very dangerous for the most visible of these leaders, and I will support them and add my voice to theirs as much as I can.
I will keep doing what I love. I realize this might become difficult, especially if various government services that I and people close to me depend upon start to diminish or fail under the Trump administration’s abuses. I suppose I’ll do my best to adapt, if I need to. But I take definition from what I love doing, and I cannot let myself lose that.