Optimizing My Trajectory

I remain terrified of Trump’s presidency. Since before the turn of the century, the Republican party hasn’t played nice, and there’s been no indication that they’re going to change their tact any time in the near future. And then Trump, who is an easily-offended narcissist and pathological liar doesn’t look like he’s either draining the swamp or looking to be President to all Americans. He’s preparing for a hard-line far-right GOP mandated agenda.

…And that’s assuming he’s not looking to transform the United States into a white nationalist system with himself as a dictator with absolute power. I expect that since Trump’s supporters voted from the gut and are talking from the gut that they will follow him from the gut right into fascism.

And the message has been clear from all fronts that we all need to put effort into resisting the dominating political machine. It’s not enough to wear a safety pin. I may be willing to intervene in an incident, but if the safety pin isn’t going to help anyone else feel safe, there’s no real point.

It also turns out that merely sounding off on the internet and sharing thinkpieces is not enough. Which is a shame because thinking and writing are what I seem to be doing, and what I’m good at.

I need to get more involved in activism. But there are problems.

For one, I have no money.* That seems to be what organizations and those-who-don’t-like-safety-pins want from me. Money.

Then there’s my social skills, or rather lack thereof. One would get better results getting a shuggoth to work the phones rather than me. In those times I’ve gone and volunteered before, my usual strategy would be to ask to do other work, even if it means pushing a broom or collating pages into press-kits. I also run a mean copier, make sandwiches and can fix things. It’s a nightmare of mine that we may be entering an age of brutes, tycoons and marketers, where intellectuals, academics, scientists and engineers have no place unless they’re already sequestered deep in the catacombs of some institution.

So what do people like me do? Problem Machine has been suffering from a similar dilemma; what does an artist do in Nazi Germany, preferably without having to make Nazi art. (I’m back to referencing Mother Night again.) Part of the answer is that it’s a good time for non-Nazi art or Anti-Nazi art, but that still doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

And for the moment I’m cursing my isolated position here. When I lived in San Francisco, I was a relatively-quick bus ride away from countless activist gathering points. I’m going to have to convince my colleagues to let me telecommute.

Where to look to help is slightly easier. Some people (including John Oliver in the 2016 finale of Last Week Tonight) have suggested organizations that are already assembled and are working to resist / obstruct and reverse Trump’s announced policies. My list so far:

Women’s Health including Contraception and Abortion Access
Center for Reproductive Rights
NARAL: Pro-choice America
Planned Parenthood

Environmental Concerns, Combatting Global Warming and Climate Change
Friends of the Earth
Natural Resources Defense Council
Our Children’s Trust

Assisting Refugees, including the Syrian Refugee Crisis
International Refugee Assistance Project

Preserving and Extending / Expanding Civil Rights in the United States
American Civil Liberties Union
Black Lives Matter
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
The Trevor Project

Ending Extrajudicial Torture, Detention By The United States and Our Administrations’ Waning Respect For Humanitarian Rules of War
Amnesty International

My next step is to contact these organizations to see how I can help, given my limitations and specialist set of skills. I expect they mostly need warm bodies. Soldiers on the front line to wave signs and telephone bureaucrats, and so part of this challenge is not feeling like crap for not being one of those people, especially while I’m still researching a use for my hard-to-place set of skills.

*Money, and my dire lack of it is a point of sensitivity. In general because my whitebread (cold-war era Wonder Bread) family drilled it into me that money was the end-all. There was no small amount of pressure that aggressive jackasses liked to compete and who earned a lot of money were better regarded than those who were meek, liked to collaborate and suffered financially for it. And sidewalk clipboard activists in San Francisco liked to single me out as a mark, and every time I’d have to explain that I very much appreciate what they’re doing but no, I’m on a fixed income and am doing without as it is. And they’d push hard that they really need the money if I can spare anything at all, and I’d say I’m sorry, but I’ll feel guilty for the next day or so for not being quite as poor as Syrian refugees or Chinese Foxconn workers or Venezuelan coffee farmers. But still, my monthly needs outpace my monthly income as it is.

I actually already have contact with these organizations, as my prior activism efforts, which have focused on preserving our rights and a fair justice system in the internet age, challenging police brutality and DoJ overreach and preserving and restoring reproductive rights. Also some conservation / environmentalism. I’ve been made aware of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protest at Standing Rock, which could get much worse once Trump is in charge.


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