Election 2016: Where Do We Go From Here?

tj

I usually don’t get too political here, because I consider Latinaish to be a “niche” blog with a focus on Latinx and Latin American culture, bilingual/bicultural life, language, and language acquisition. This is my happy place, and I like to wipe my feet before entering so as not to track any dirt in here.

But if you know me personally and/or follow my personal Twitter account, you know that I’m very vocal and passionate when it comes to current events, politics, human rights, and other less cheerful topics. (I contain multitudes, as we all do.) Usually Twitter is the perfect platform for me to be involved and have my say, but today I need to say something much longer than 140 characters, and I also feel that it’s important enough to break with my self-imposed rule of covering only very specific topics, because in the end it affects this community. It affects the readers of this blog who are mostly Latinx, or married into the Latinx community. It especially impacts those of us without papers, DREAMers, and DACA recipients, but also our loved ones regardless of legal status, our family and friends — all of us.

I know that most of us here voted for Hillary, and felt sucker punched on election night. Since then, many of us have gone through various stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression. The last stage of grief is acceptance, but this is a stage we cannot enter, at least not in a traditional sense. If we are to reach acceptance, it must be an acceptance with conditions. It must be “I accept this is our situation, but I will fight it every day and in every way I can.”

Some people like to say those who have not accepted the results of this election are not respecting democracy, (or in less eloquent words, that they are “liberal cry babies.”) This is not true. This would be true if this had been a normal election, and if Donald Trump was a normal candidate. Not accepting the results of an election corrupted by FBI and foreign government involvement is exactly what we should be doing in a democratic society. Not accepting the presidency of an incompetent, dangerous demagogue who daily threatens Constitutional rights is our duty and responsibility to prevent the destruction of our country.

So drowned out the voices of the ignorant, emboldened trolls and hatemongers. Despite what they want you to think, thankfully, they are in the minority. My advice is to not waste your breath, time, or energy, arguing with them. There are bigger things to do.

As most of you know, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump has won more electoral votes. This is why many have turned their attention and hopes to the electoral college who will vote on December 19th, 2016. It is these electors who actually hold the power under the Constitution to select the president. Regardless of why the electoral college was created by our founding fathers, (there is some disagreement on that), and if we should abolish it, the fact is it exists today, and it is a tool that can be used.

And so there has been a movement to contact electors and convince them to become “faithless electors” – to vote their conscience — which is to say, they should not vote for Donald Trump even if their state went red during the election. There is another movement called Hamilton Electors, which is somewhat less popular with those who supported Hillary Clinton because it calls on all electors, even those in blue states, to unite behind a “reasonable Republican candidate.”

Some find it unconscionable that electors in blue states would cast their vote for a Republican, but I ask those of you who are having a hard time with this to take a deep breath, and listen for a moment.

You will never get enough Republican electors to back Hillary Clinton. Let’s just be realistic and clear-headed here. If the vote then goes to the House of Representatives with Hillary as the candidate electors backed, the House of Representatives will simply revert back to Trump. All your efforts will have been pointless.

Choosing a Republican alternative is the only option that has an ice cube’s chance in hell of working. If the vote goes to the House of Representatives in January with a sensible Republican alternative to Trump, that would be very tempting to many at the House of Representatives who have already voiced their concern that Trump is not fit for office. (There are more than 40 Republicans in the House of Representatives who reportedly feel this way.) States only get one vote, so those states with multiple representatives must come to a consensus. A president is elected with a 26 state majority — So this scenario isn’t impossible.

Those who say electors need to vote Hillary because she won the popular vote — in an ideal world, yes — but this is a numbers game, this is not a time to fantasize about what could have been. You will not get Republican electors to vote Hillary – it just will not happen. We must compromise. For those refusing to support Hamilton Electors, you are showing your privilege. Not all of us can afford to be so idealistic. We are in damage control mode. We are in anyone-but-Trump mode, because we fear for our Constitutional rights. We fear he will do the things he has promised. We fear for our freedom of speech, freedom of the press. We fear for our rights as women, our safety as Muslims and Jews, as members of the LGBTQIA community, as POC, as immigrants and refugees. We fear for future generations and the future of this planet when climate change isn’t taken seriously. So much is at risk. We can’t afford to be idealistic.

Whether we agree on this point or not, in the meantime, I encourage you to be active and vocal. None of us can afford to sit idle and hope the electoral college will save us.

What else can you do?

• Join Flippable.org to get daily and weekly action items. For those intimidated or confused by contacting congresspeople, Flippable makes it simple to know who to contact and what to contact them about. [Updated 12/5/2016 to add another great one to join: Wall Of Us.]

• Sign petitions from organizations such as Change.org, and MoveOn.

• Get involved with Hamilton Electors. (There’s an event happening nationwide on December 19th, as well as other actions you can take.)

• We have midterm elections to win in 2018, you have representatives at the state and local level you should be contacting regularly. Call them, tweet them, write them, email them.

• Denounce each disagreeable Cabinet pick Trump makes via social media, signing petitions, calls and emails to relevant government officials.

• Stay vigilant and call Trump out on social media every time he tramples our Constitutional rights.

• Follow The DJT Resistance on Twitter.

• Protest his “victory tour” rallies if they come to a city near you.

• Show up to the Women’s March on Washington.

• Join the #GrabYourWallet movement and contact companies you’re boycotting because they carry Trump merchandise.

• Donate to and volunteer for organizations like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matters, #NoDAPL, We Need Diverse Books, Immigration Reform for America, CAIR, Greenpeace, American Association of People with Disabilities, and MALDEF.

• Subscribe to responsible news outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, donate to NPR. Call out irresponsible reporting. [Updated 12/12/2016 to add: Even these respected news outlets have been hit or miss the past few weeks, so it really is important to call them out when they’re irresponsible. Also wanted to add that Teen Vogue, to many people’s surprise, has been doing some of the very best reporting, thanks in great part to the arrival of their new editor. They are very much worth reading and following on social media.]

• Download the Signal app for double encrypted texting. This protects your messages from government spying or from being otherwise intercepted.

• Prepare for the worst by arming yourself with knowledge of your rights and resources. It is better to be prepared than not to be.

• Ask your mayor if he/she will declare your city as a Sanctuary City.

• If you see racist or anti-Semitic graffiti then grab a paint brush and cover it up. Do not allow hate symbols and speech to be normalized.

• If you see someone being mistreated or discriminated against then take action to stop it.

• Resist, resist, resist.

• Share this post on your social media channels. Spread the word.

Our work is not nearly finished, it’s only just begun.

Additional Reading:

5 Concrete Ways You Can Act Now in the Face of a Trump Presidency

4 thoughts on “Election 2016: Where Do We Go From Here?

  1. Tracy,

    An excellent and well thought out opinion piece. You should get a column in the Washington Post or similar papers. David agrees. I had a wish like yours for December 19th, but….we’ll see.

    Love and pride,

    Grandma

  2. I am a conservative, voted Republican, love Latinos and disagree with you on every issue. But this is America, this is your blog and you have every right to post your opinion. I will not waste my energy arguing with you either. I do enjoy your writing style, sense of humor and contributions. I volunteer my time relentlessly helping Latinos. My heart is not prejudiced, I have no hatred towards people of any color, race, religion or sexual preference. I see liberals as actually being quite prejudiced which is something they scream about. I do believe differently from you on other issues. And I do believe that whether a democrat or republican won – the electoral college is a brilliant way to keep elections fair. I also believe as a nation, we have laws. Not unlike any other country and we should to abide by them. Mexico has stronger policies on immigration than we do. Resentment will not help us move forward. Get over it. Pick yourself up and do something positive in this world. By the way, I spent the last 8 years unhappy with Obama but you never heard me speak ill of him. Make the world a better place – your generation is our future.

  3. I agree with you on so much that you say here, and I am glad you did not stay silent. I’m really glad I found your blog. I am also married to a wonderful man from El Salvador. Thank you so much for your insight and also your wonderful recipes as I attempt to cook food like my suegra! :)

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