I’m exhausted today from watching the US 2016 election unfold all night, and the cat-arse-mouthed orange-tinged fear clown Donald Trump become elected as the 45th US president. I’ve had one tearful outburst, self-medicated with cake and hot chocolate and run through the whole gamut of the Kubler-Ross model of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
What I quickly cam back to after running through this list of five handy emotional responses was the anger. Because the anger is what I think you need to harness if you’re a right-thinking kind of person who wants to raise better people and make a better world.
I want to maintain this rage, and I want other people to too. Be angry and do something, don’t cower in fear and bewilderment after this US election and the recent Brexit referendum.
It’s time to stop being complacent, and to stop thinking everything will be ok. If you and I don’t do anything about making things right, then things will not be right. It’s no longer enough to assume that those in charge have your best interests at heart.
So how can you get creative, sit up, stop crying, and do something?
- Explain this result and Brexit to your kids for what it is – such as that people were upset, were very angry, didn’t listen and made a bad decision.
- Let your children know that news sources matter and educate them to be thinkers who understand facts, because we are in a post-fact opinion-based world now.
- Activate and join a political party.
- VOTE. People died so you could vote. Not just suffragettes for the women’s vote, but ordinary non-land-holding men died for the right of the everyman to vote.
- Get involved in things that matter – our local refugee support group needs board members, but ordinary acts of kindness matter too.
At the very least, cheer yourself up. Today I’m having my front door painted bright yellow – Farrow and Ball yellow cake natch – because it makes me happy and hopefully, when I walk through it each day, I’ll feel less shit about the world.
There are better political strategists than me writing immensely useful pieces on Trump’s victory, like David Remnick’s piece in the New Yorker. But the key thing for me is that people were angry during the US election campaign and the Brexit referendum campaign and they did something about it. They channeled their anger and voted in a way that has shocked and surprised many people.
In the nineties I studied international relations at university as part of my politics degree, but I can’t remember much of it after years working in fashion and technology journalism. But what I do remember was that I was a right-on student who rallied against nuclear weapons, occupied old-growth logging sites and was encouraged by my lecturers to write essays on ethics, environmental conflicts and the constantly shifting sands of states*.
I graduated with a huge sense of hope for the future and a knowledge that there are many, many good people and ideas in the world.
There still are. And you’re one of them. So now more than ever, get creative with making a difference and make it count. Because we are raising the future and we matter.
*surprise! The status quo of nation-states is not static and never has been. Alliances shift constantly, and Afghans never give up.