Like many people around the world, the election of an American President who has actively engaged in and encouraged racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, frightens me. It reminds me of why I never bank on electoral politics to provide the solutions to our nation’s and our world’s problems. Of course, I vote, but in the end of the day, I only have one vote, and in this particular instance, even when the candidate I favored won a majority of the popular vote, our political system nevertheless gave the Presidency to her opponent.
I have spent my entire professional career working for progressive systems change. This election does not alter that. In fact, it will only cause me to work harder on behalf of the disenfranchised people I represent. A former colleague once called me a “good loser.” At first I did not understand that she was giving me a compliment. Then, she explained, that I never give up even after losing a hard fought battle. I simply examine the new situation for the best way forward and get back to working on making our world a better place. That is what we all must do right now.
Starting last night, many people have asked me what they can do in response to America electing perhaps the scariest President in its history. My sister-in-law just called me in tears. The vast majority of our nation was targeted by our President-elect, including women, people of color, Muslims, Jews, Mexicans, and people with disabilities, as somehow less worthy. But we know better. We also know that, now more than ever, we need each other, and together we can still accomplish great things.
So, here are a few suggestions (with underlined links to prior posts for more detail):
- Be kind to friends family, and yes, even strangers. Nothing combats fear and hatred better than kindness.
- Focus your attention locally in order to build community. It may be as simple as improving the sidewalks in your neighborhood to improve neighborly relations.
- Reach out to help someone who is homeless. It could be as simple as giving them a granola bar.
- Do not give in to despair, as it is the enemy of progress.
- Heed the advise of Dalia Mogahed to do all the little things you can do to expand the compassion footprint.
- Follow the Jewish wisdom commanding us to, “Be Strong, Be Strong, and Let us Strengthen Each Other.”
- Remember that even after a terrible day, the morning after, the sun still rises.
So, today, give hugs to friends and family. Tomorrow, start looking for local projects that you can dive into to make your local community a better place. Together we can build community and create a better world for everyone.
For more information on how I can help you accomplish progressive, effective systems change, contact Jeff Spitzer-Resnick by visiting his web site: Systems Change Consulting.