Don’t Normalize, And Other Ways To Stay Strong In Trump’s America


By De Elizabeth

It’s been almost a full week since Election Day, and it’s safe to say that we are still collectively grieving. The emotions that many of us have experienced in just a week’s time have been the truest definition of a roller coaster. Personally speaking, I’ve been heartbroken, enraged, horrified, scared, worried, anxious, angry, furious, devastated, empowered, helpless, thoughtful, thoughtless – there and back again – in just six days. It is not linear; it is an up-and-down graph of feelings. It is, in a word, mourning.

With that, there are certain things that I’ve found helpful over the past few days – and things I know that have helped others whom I love. But there’s also been a lot that hasn’t been helpful. There’s been things that have been straight-up counterproductive, things that will continue to send us backwards if we aren’t careful. So with that, here are some things that you can do right now to help yourself – and others – feel better, as well as some other things that just aren’t helping anyone.

Let yourself feel all the things you’re feeling.

We’re in uncharted waters right now. We have never had a presidential campaign this divisive, we’ve never had a candidate run a campaign fueled by hatred, racism, xenophobia, and fear, and we’ve certainly never had a president-elect who has been this terrifying. It’s okay to be the hottest of all messes this week – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But don’t chastise others for the way that they grieve.

People emote in different ways. Some people need to laugh and make jokes. Others need to cry for days. Some people are turning to things that give them comfort – be it a classic story of good vs. evil like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. There’s no “right” way to do this – and we’re all doing the best we can.

Listen to the pain of others.

One of the things I am hearing – loud and clear – after this election is coming from my friends who are POC. I’m hearing them say, “This isn’t something that has happened to America just now. This is how America has always been. This isn’t new for us.” And that’s important to listen to. It’s important to recognize privilege when you have it, and listen to the way others are experiencing their pain. And then take that knowledge and turn it into action.

And Listen to the other side but don’t let anyone normalize this election.

This one is tricky. We need to talk to each other; it’s the only way that we won’t be a “divided country” and it’s the only way we’ll make progress as a nation. But any advice that promotes discussion with the other side has to contain a few disclaimers, and mine is no different. Remember – hatred and bigotry does not deserved to be “heard out.” There is no debate to be had when it comes to the rights, equality, and safety of all people. And there’s undoubtedly a resistance we all feel when we hear “talk to the other side” – they didn’t talk to us in 2008, right? But we obviously have to engage in some kind of discourse – we can’t just keep sharing John Oliver videos in a vacuum of like-minded people. That’s part of what caused us to be so emotionally unprepared for Tuesday.

But – and this is a HUGE “but” – we must vehemently reject any narrative of this election that doesn’t put hatred at its core, that doesn’t at least talk about hate and bigotry. Donald Trump ran a campaign that was fueled by bigotry, racism, sexism, and hate. He called Mexicans rapists, he proposed a ban on Muslims, he suggested we bring back stop-and-frisk, he bragged about sexual assault, he incited violence at his rallies, he’s retweeted white supremacists, he appointed a white supremacist to his administration – and I could go on for days. Anyone who voted for Trump did so at best with a tolerance for hatred – and that in and of itself is a huge concern. We have to continue to push this point, we cannot cannot cannot let anyone normalize this entire election process.

Stand for good in the face of evil.

There’s a chilling amount of hate crimes that are being committed in the name of Trump’s presidency since Election Day. You can see a partial list of them here. Not to sound like a sign in an airport, but if you see something, say something. Speak up. Don’t be a bystander; don’t sit on the sidelines. This election has turned our concept of “good vs. evil” on its head; we’re used to stories that end with the good guy winning, and this election didn’t have that. We need to be the good. We need to be our own superheroes.

Get. Involved.

We ran a list of a few ways to get involved with organizations or help marginalized groups. There are so many people out there who are scared about what Trump’s America means for them. You can help.

Do the safety pin thing – but follow through

In short, people are wearing safety pins as a visible sign that they are an ally to those who might feel unsafe. It started after Brexit, and people are now doing it in the U.S. Just make sure that if you’re wearing the pin, you actually follow through with some actions – especially if you witness something bad happening.

Write a letter to Hillary.

Believe it or not, this helps. It’s cathartic and it feels good. You can send Hillary a letter at:

Hillary Clinton

PO Box 5256

New York, New York 10185

Read all the Obama/Biden jokes you want.

These will keep you sane. I made one of my own and it made me laugh for hours.

And whatever you do – stay nasty.

Don’t give up. Hillary wouldn’t want you to give up – she’d want you to keep fighting, keep pushing on. That’s what we need to do.

And that’s what we will do.

{featured image via unsplash}

One thought on “Don’t Normalize, And Other Ways To Stay Strong In Trump’s America

  1. Delaina McCormack says:

    So what do you say to the people (ehrm, family) who make fun of the safety pin thing and say “grow up”? I am honestly wondering if having a conversation is even worth the energy, especially when you’re talking to old white people.


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