I was walking out of the D.C. Metro when I refreshed Google and learned that Biden and Harris had won the U.S. election. Can we just take ANOTHER moment to sigh in relief and embrace the joy of this historic moment?!
All of D.C. (which votes over 90% Democratic, usually) was celebrating when the news was finally announced. I was whooping in the streets with strangers, cars were honking, people were gathering at the White House, and I felt so relaxed. I had no idea this election was stressing me out, but it is certainly easier for many to exist in America now.
So… now what?
If we are to pull anything positive from Trump having been the U.S. President for a full term, it has to be that it killed complacency. Women and communities of color have pushed for more action than ever before. Social media has become a tool to motivate Americans. Volunteering and voting and donating were what everyone was doing, particularly this year.
We can’t stand to lose that steam now. I have never expected the government to solve my problems or those of my neighbors – I engaged in activism from a young age. It started with being anal about recycling (yeah, I was THAT kid in elementary school. #sorrynotsorry), and grew into a desire to fight for equality for all. To me, it never made sense for a socially-constructed entity made up of a few people to make decisions for everyone. If we want change, we have to push for it ourselves.
The efforts of Black Lives Matter are being heard, and police departments and communities are slowly making small changes. Normalizing Muslim culture in the West is slowly growing, as well, and Muslim Americans are taking up positions of power in communities and government. LGBTQ people are becoming leaders in the Senate and slowly gaining more recognition for their character, rather than sexual identity or orientation.
But the fight ain’t over, y’all.
Take your rest, breathe, and… get back to the good fight. We have so much opportunity these next four years. We can empower our youth. We can heal from our racist roots. We can rebuild bridges with global communities. We can become more self-aware, and do our part. A few months ago, I came upon this graphic, which captures well how to pick our cause.
Using this funnel, I’ve been able to go from being super overwhelmed by the massiveness of some problems (systemic racism, depleting the planet, etc…) to becoming more informed and realistic in what I can do. For example, rather than become upset at the planet being damaged by my consumer habits, I can choose to consume products that cause less or no damage on the environment. This involves time, research, and self-awareness, and finally behavior change going in the direction of my cause.
Change happens in the accumulation of small actions taken by many people. So what will your cause be this presidency?
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