Hi friends! There are a couple of things that just can’t wait until Friday’s newsletter.
First of all, I wanted to stress the importance of making a self-care plan for yourself for this week. Set up predetermined boundaries around who you are interacting with this week, how much you plan on checking results on Tuesday, how much you are limited your social media intake, etc. Therapy for Black Girls has a super useful post up on Instagram. I’ll supply the text after the Instagram embed.
Self-Care Plan For Election Day from Therapy for Black Girls
Ready to build your self-care plan for election day and the days following? Check out these tips:
Prepare a list of things to listen to. Compile a list of your favorite podcasts, upbeat music, or calming nature sounds
Know who you can talk to, keep a journal and pen close. Know which family or friends you can call for support and laughter as needed. You can also find a virtual community that supports your mental health. Keep a journal close to write about how you are feeling.
Prepare a list of things to watch. Perfect time to catch up on your light-hearted favorites! You can also watch tutorials on YouTube, TEDTalks, How-To videos, etc. Anything to help you stay away from the news.
Gather things you can taste and feel. In addition to preparing your Tuesday dinner ahead of time, you can also grab your favorite snacks. When you feel anxious, focus on the taste of your favorite treat. (Note from Patricia: this may be triggering for folks with disordered eating so please decide what is best for yourself). You can also focus on things you can feel, such as: silk, wool, play dough, slime, and sandpaper.
Plan to have a day not focused on productivity, and not centered around other people’s needs. Election Day and the days following may not be your most productive, and that is okay! Focus on making decisions that support your mental health and your emotional needs.
Full credit for the above goes to Therapy for Black Girls (which has an excellent podcast, btw).
Also, I heard back from the creator of Anti-Racism Every Day, whose image (below) I shared on Friday. The intended audience of their work/website is other white people who want to be anti-racist. I asked for a text version of the image below and they supplied it, so I’ll paste it below the Instagram embed.
Plans for anti-racist and anti-fascist work post-election:
We’re making a lot of plans for November 3rd, but have you planned for November 4th?
A quick (and incomplete) guide to anti-racist and anti-fascist work after the election
Scenario 1:Tr*mp Wins (legally or illegally)
Take to the Streets - One of the strongest tools against authoritarianism is strength in numbers. The more visible the masses of dissent are, the more impact we can have. Be mindful, though, that this may be physically risky and is by no means the only way to fight back against authoritarian fascist rule. Also remember to mask up and socially distance (follow the lead of the Black Lives Matter marches, which were incredibly successful at preventing spread). (Bauerlein, 2020)
Speak and Listen with Care - Totalitarianism thrives on misinformation and group think; language and facts are what constitute the truth of our society. The Tr*mp political machine has introduced “alternative facts” and simplistic nationalist language into our culture. Read outside of the internet to keep your language and thoughts sharp, and stick to the facts that are true and important in talking politics.
Support Independent News Sources - It’s already abundantly clear that big news sources are compromised by the clickbait nature of our news cycle and the need to stay “neutral.” Independent and community journalists do not owe financial results to big investors who have something to gain from the most shocking headline, and are therefore most likely to be able to spread important information. However, they’ll need our financial support to make that happen. (Bauerlein, 2020)
Keep Personal Interactions Alive - We are only as strong as we are together. A tool of authoritarianism is to separate us and make us suspicious of our neighbors. Smiling at folks in our community and making small talk (from a safe social distance) provides us the connections and trust to keep us united against tyranny. These connections form the networks of trust we will need to revolt against authoritarianism. The internet is an incredible connector, but also not nearly as safe from prying government agencies as a private conversation. (Snyder, 2020)
Adapted from On Tyranny (Snyder, 2017) and “This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated” (Brauerlein, 2020)
Scenario 2:Biden Wins and Tr*mp refuses a peaceful transfer of power
Take to the Streets - Again, in this scenario this is an important tactic. The current administration has never had majority rule and if Tr*mp loses an election that will be duly reinforced. We must show up visibly in the numbers with which we have civically opposed his reelection. As Brauerlein (2020) writes, “There may be marches on a scale America has not seen, from big cities to tiny towns.” It’s even more of a statement to do so while wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
Relational Organizing - This strategy is something you’ve hopefully already been doing with your anti-racism and anti-fascism work: “simply facilitating conversations between friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Instead of relying on traditional strategies like door knocking, phone calls, or texts from strangers, it harnesses existing relationships to mobilize voters.” We organize through the relationships we already have and must continue to do that when we face authoritarian opposition. Don’t forget a mask and social distance. (Levy, 2020)
Participate in Actions - Groups like Protect the Results are already mobilizing groups to combat the potential outcome that Tr*mp does not accept the election results. Their tactics include: organizing marches, forming coalitions between organizations to take action/strike, making calls to ensure local ballots are counted correctly, and pressuring elected officials to stand up. You can begin to investigate and join these groups now. (Protect the Results, 2020)
Consider What You Can Offer - A revolution, coup, or civil war will take all hands on deck to protect the freedom we have and/or want. Take time to think about what powers, capacities, and skills you bring to the fight. It will take journalists, medical professionals, artists, writers, educators, healers, and so many others to support this kind of action. Figure out your offering and prepare to use it.
Adapted from“This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated” (Brauerlein, 2020), “The Secret to Beating Tr*mp Lies with You and Your Friends” (Levy, 2020), and protecttheresults.com
Scenario 3:Biden Wins and, miraculously, there is a peaceful transfer of power
Abolition of Police and Prisons - While Biden has made references to supporting community and social programming to lessen the burden on police, he has stated, “We don’t have to defund police departments. We have to make sure they meet minimum basic standards of decency.” Biden supports police and prison reform, but that is a far cry from abolition.
Fracking - Fracking is a policy that has greatly affected Indigenous communities and is a huge issue of climate justice. While Biden’s statements in his primary debate made it sound like he was in favor of ending fracking, his campaign position, while hoping to end new gas and oil production on federal lands, does not ban fracking.
Immigration Policy - Biden has made a commitment to reversing Tr*mp’s immigration destruction, but it will take a lot of support from other government agencies, and pressure from citizens, to undo all the Tr*mp years have done. This includes getting the cooperation of immigration agents who have been emboldened to use disturbing and dehumanizing tactics over the last four years.
SSA NICS Gun Safety - In Biden’s gun safety proposal, he has backed a policy that deprives folks with mental health disabilities the right to bear arms, but which also flags folks with mental health disabilities who attempt to obtain a firearm in the national instant criminal background check system (NICS), which could prevent them from securing employment that requires a background check (most jobs do).
There is no doubt that a Biden presidency is better for marginalized groups than our current administration, but the fight for equity does not end with Biden’s inauguration.
(And these are just a few of the issues we’ll need to focus on!)
We potentially can and absolutely must address fascism with our votes, but to address the racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, antisemitism, classism, Islamaphobia, colonialism, and other ills of our country, it will take a lot more work, no matter the outcome of the election.
Anti-oppression work doesn’t end November 4th; it’s just beginning.
So, yes, make plans to vote on November 3rd, but also know where you’ll stand on November 4th because no matter what the results are we have work to do.
Finally, a bit of joy. I dressed up as Wednesday Cattams for my work virtual Halloween party (pic below) and on Halloween, my wife and I watched “Blade” and I am thrilled to say that it holds up. Such a great movie.
As always, please feel free to share this newsletter to those who you think would benefit from it. Also, I’d love to hear your self-care plans for this week as well as see photos of your Halloween costumes if you dressed up (or if you dressed up your pets or kids).