Five Things To Do Now That Trump Lost

A letter to my 18-year-old cousin

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

My dear cousin, you support Trump and now you can’t sleep because of the state of the world and what will happen to its citizens now that Trump is voted out of office. I listed a few things I think you should do, some helpful hints/tips/tricks for getting through this tough time from your older cousin.

1. Find different news sources

Change the channel from Fox News to MSNBC or CNN sometimes. Just for a few minutes. Or forget the talking heads on all the big networks and stick with Reuters or the Associated Press where you will find straight news, no opinions, and is less likely to be construed as “fake news.” You know where else you can find news — on the radio or in print. I know, they still exist. NPR and New York Times are great resources. Read/listen/watch them. I suggest this because you need to figure out your own opinions. Don’t regurgitate Tucker Carlson or your parents. Research and form your own opinions, so the next time I ask you why you don’t like Joe Biden your answer is better than “he sucks.”

2. Volunteer

If you are truly worried about the people, then go volunteer. Find a local non-profit and offer your help. There are dozens in your area of the world (I know, because I live where you live and currently volunteer at a local nonprofit). This will lead you to meet new and different people outside your privileged circle of family and friends. It will help you see how little and how privileged your circle is. COVID-19 may have limited your chance for in-person volunteering (because COVID-19 is real and not a conspiracy) use your TikTok skills and get the word out about your chosen nonprofit. Read up on the issues your nonprofit is trying to support. How is the organization affected by today’s difficult economic climate or the actual climate? Learn why this nonprofit exists in the first place. Get out there and help. You have time. You don’t have kids yet or a career. Hell, you don’t even have a major in college yet. Go help someone.

3. Don’t believe one leader can fix everything/ be everything/do everything

You’re in a cult. Get out.

I know you’re sad over Trump losing (because he did lose, by millions), but he wasn’t America’s savior. No one is, but maybe we can save ourselves. I know you think I say this because my “team” won, that I am gloating or whatever, but I will still question my leader. Question power, all of it, no matter the party. We, Americans, need to hold our leaders accountable. Nor can we expect our leaders to fix everything. We have to need and want to change. See number 2 above, especially the section on privilege. America will survive Trump and you will survive the end of Trump.

4. Listen

That’s it. Just listen.

You’re already thinking of the next thing you’re going to say, aren’t you? Okay, I know you’re 18 and you think you know everything. I was once 18, too, and thought I knew everything. But you don’t, and I didn’t, and Trump doesn’t either. I know you think Trump is so cool by saying whatever he wants. What power that must be, to be able to say whatever you want and have no repercussions. True power lies in listening. One day you could be a boss or have a boss. Who do you think is the better boss? The boss who stomps and shouts and demands power or the boss who listens to employees and tries to follow through on those collaborations? (Hint: it's the one who collaborates).

When you truly listen to someone they tell you who they really are. Trump tells us who he is every day. So really listen to his next tirade or tweetstorm or interview. You’ll start sleeping better at night once you realize what sort of person Trump is. Also, the ultimate repercussion was handed to him via the election. Just saying.

5. Read. Everything.

Engage those new listening skills and hear me. This is the most important point. Read everything. Read fiction and nonfiction and poetry. Read people you agree with and people you don’t. Read books written by Black writers, Latino writers, LGBTQ writers, and Native American writers. Read books written by men and women. Read philosophy and theory, romance and true crime. Read the hard books. Read short books and long books. Read the books on the syllabus. Read the books not on the syllabus. Read the classics and read the books that should be classics. When you think you’re done, read more.

Reading gets you inside other people’s heads. Walking in someone else’s shoes is an adage for a reason. You will learn empathy. You will learn how other people live and think. You will learn things about yourself. You will learn to question, to wonder, to search. You will learn that you will never be done learning and sometimes it’s scary just how much you will never know. Keep reading.

The world isn’t going to blow up tomorrow. Well, the likelihood is very low. Get some sleep. Tomorrow is another day to learn and try again and try differently. This will pass, just like everything else in the world. Take a breath, pick up a book, and please stop sending me TikTok videos.

feminist, avid reader, human being trying to make sense of the world Email: Twitter: @peninsuladetail

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