20 January 2017
In light of Trump’s inauguration, it’s very easy to isolate these problems to America. To vilify them as a backward nation who have done the undoable and elected an openly racist, misogynistic, dangerous and underqualified man to lead their country. But by isolating America we ignore the bitter truth that Trump is not unique. The far right is on the rise across Western europe, anti-migrant narratives are flagrant in our national newspapers, and the rights of LGBTQIA+ people and members of marginalised genders are still under threat globally.
And yet somehow, we have to try and not give up hope. A book about positive political narratives called “Hope in the Dark,” by Rebecca Solnit saw a massive surge in sales following Trump’s election. And a shared consciousness centred on hope, progression and togetherness in dark times is exactly what we need, and what we can achieve if we work hard.
There are already things to be hopeful about. Already in January, five massive American corporations including Costco, Trader Joes and Ben & Jerry’s pledged to pay a real living wage to their employees, and have stuck to it. Cuba and the United States signed a deal to clean up oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. Hundreds of protests have been organised all over the world to take place on the weekend of Trump’s inauguration, making sure that the voices of the marginalised will always be heard.
There is no “right” way to respond to Trump’s inauguration, and our own personal circumstances and experiences will shape the way we feel about the consequences, from the civil liberties that will be threatened to the setbacks that the national climate change discussion will face. But a good place to start may be this open-source “Resistance Manual” set up by Johnetta Eliza, a young civil rights and Black Lives Matter activist in the US. Created in response to Trump’s election, the “manual” is an open resource for activists to build and contribute to, and introduce new activists to the key issues which will be under scrutiny during Trump’s administration.
The Resistance Manual is exactly the kind of spirit we need to have during this period - one of sharing knowledge, working with others, listening to marginalised voices, and spreading hope, compassion and positivity in any way we can.