[Trigger warning] Reporter Shaun King is helping to document on Twitter a rash of hate crimes—some of them at schools, between children—in the wake of the US presidential election [/end trigger warning], and the Southern Poverty Law Center is collecting reports of hate crimes, should you witness or (goodness forbid) be victim to one. I share these to emphasize just how deeply, personally, and intimately threatened many Americans are now forced to feel even more, day after day, after this week’s election. And I share them to highlight the urgency, if it needed any further highlighting, of the work ahead.
It is white Americans’ responsibility more than anyone’s right now (and no, not in the white-savior sense, thank you)—following the lead and examples of communities facing systemic racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, and ableism—to fight this rising hate, to talk with other white people about racism, and to stand with people who are threatened. Need some inspiration? See some of the places I found it this week (and please share your own in the comments):
- from Hillary Clinton in her concession speech (full thing here),
- from this open letter from 100 women of color leaders,
- from the youth vote,
- from this safety pin solidarity idea,
- from Seattle City Council and my fellow citizens,
- from Lindy West (h/t Dan),
- from my partner, my family, my Sightline colleagues, and my friends,
- from Leslie Knope (yes, Leslie Knope),
- and from this Lilla Watson quote: “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
Now let’s all get to work.
Here are four self-care resources for days when the world is terrible, paired with wise words from Audre Lorde:
Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
Tuesday’s election results have left me (and everybody else I know) digging up what I can find about Electoral College reform. Here’s a good reminder of just how broken that particular quirk of the US system really is:
Americans tend to think of these electoral-college/popular-vote splits as incredibly rare, but it’s now happened 5 times out of 57 presidential elections in U.S. history. That’s a failure rate of about 9%, which isn’t that rare.
More to the point, however, is the fact that two of those five failures occurred since 2000. It’s a statistic that’s almost hard to believe: in the last seven presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has earned more votes six times, but they’ve only won four of those seven elections. The electoral college, in other words, has an unfortunate habit of late of making presidents out of candidates who came in second. I remember one prominent political figure declaring not too long ago, “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy,” which is hardly an unreasonable point. That prominent political figure, by the way, was Donald Trump.
On November 15 there will be #noDAPL Standing Rock solidarity actions all over Cascadia.
Trevor Hall’s Standing Rock song is remarkably powerful.
At Vox, a look at Plato’s distrust of democracy, which he believed led to tyranny and despotism:
Plato wasn’t a prophet. His critique of democracy is wildly exaggerated, and there’s a streak of illiberalism in his thought that ought to offend the modern reader. But his analysis is valuable nevertheless.
In lighter news, thank god for Spike Friedman, sportswriter for The Stranger. His post-game analysis of the Seahawks almost always captures precisely my mental state. A sample:
…Seattle beat the Buffalo Bills 31-25 while taking another six weeks off my life. Let’s run down what happened with what little time I have left on Earth… Despite playing behind an offensive line consisting of a basketball player, two sad cats, a desk fan and the DVD boxset of seasons 1-3 of “Scrubs,” Wilson was 20/26 with two passing touchdowns and another touchdown on the ground.
I woke up Wednesday in mourning over the election results, but I found some items on the web that altered my perspective. For example, Grist’s analysis of climate change and the election found that climate did play a role in this campaign, that more voters are accepting the science, along with the clear economic damages from climate change. The piece concluded, “In a changing political climate, denial is a losing long-term strategy.”
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Then David Remnick, New Yorker editor, posted an analysis that I consider realistic, uncompromising, and very helpful. I concur, and commend the article to active citizens as disappointed as I am over the results, and looking for a path forward.
John Abbotts is a former Sightline research consultant who occasionally submits material for Weekend Reading and other posts.
The views expressed in any comments to this post are those of the commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sightline Institute.