Resisting Trump: A Collection of Resources

resist

If you’re looking for ways to become more politically active but aren’t sure where to start, this is for you. Here, I’ve gathered some of the resources that I have personally found most helpful. This post is a work-in-progress, which I will continue to update. Suggestions are always welcome. 

Resources for effectively talking to your conservative friends about the dangers of a Trump presidency:

  1. Keith Olbermann’s noncombative, nonjudgmental video message (intended for those who still support Trump) is a good place to start.
  2. How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About a Donald Trump Presidency
    • A comprehensive, essential guide on strategies for having productive conversations with loved ones (without becoming emotionally drained). Ever since encountering it, I’ve used this guide to inform my approach to all political conversations, and have found it to be highly effective in getting through to others with different views.
  3. Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry (via Southern Poverty Law Center):
    • Concrete suggestions on how to handle bigotry in the workplace, dealing with joking in-laws, addressing your own biases, and so much more.
  4. The Ferguson Masterpost: How to Argue Eloquently and Back Yourself Up With Facts
    • A fantastic resource for tips on how to have productive conversations about race issues, protests, social justice movements, and systems of oppression that is as relevant today as ever: “We feel it’s critical to have conversations about social justice loudly, noticeably, personally as well as systemically, and eloquently […] To do this, we need tools, scripts, data—means of having and supporting these conversations, as well as our communities.”
  5. Captain Awkward’s Post-Election Guide to Changing Hearts and Minds

Resources for learning about social justice issues/ so you want to be an ally:

Resources for finding and calling your representatives:

  • The Sixty Five: Calling scripts for over a dozen issues (and contact information for your representatives), as well as weekly calls to action.
  • 5Calls gives you contact information and scripts, so calling is easy.
  • How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxiety
  • Countable“Get clear, concise summaries of bills going through Congress, see what others think, then take action. Telling your reps how you feel is easier than ever with email and now video messages”

Other ways to take action:

Resources for identifying fake news websites:

Header image via ThinkProgress.Org.

Why I Decided To Marry Outside the Church

The process of planning a wedding has made me realize the truth of the statement “the personal is political.” My decision to marry outside of the Catholic Church (or any other church) was not meant as a slight to my religious friends and family, though it will undoubtedly cause unintended distress to many. It was motivated by many factors, and while explaining my reasoning could very well cause further anger or sadness to those who are upset, it will hopefully shed some light on my choice and allow me to dispel speculation.

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It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it (Ecclesiastes 5:5). For me to read the Catholic marriage vows would be disingenuous on many levels. First of all, I’m not a practicing Catholic, and to pretend to be (even as a way to make my parents happy) would be incredibly disrespectful. Is it a good idea to start a lifelong commitment with a lie? I recognize that going to mass each week isn’t required in order for a couple to wed in the Church, but I firmly believe it is easier and better for me to be honest with my friends and family now than to pretend (or allow others to assume) that I’m still a practicing Catholic.

* * *

 

Many of my close friends and family members are gay, and it would go against my personal values to be married in an institution that condemns homosexual relationships. Many of my Catholic friends have found ways to reconcile themselves to the Church’s teachings (saying “hate the sin, love the sinner” etc.) but I do not believe that homosexuality is sinful – and it’s certainly not unnatural. And now that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, I have hope that marriage is finally evolving toward something resembling an egalitarian institution.

 

As an educated and privileged person living in 2016, I can afford to 1.) marry whoever I want or 2) marry no one at all – and these are rights that women have not always had that I don’t take for granted. Although marriage has roots in oppressive structures, the recent Supreme Court decision is heartening, and suggests that we are rebuilding the institution into a human right rather than an obligation (financial, societal, religious or otherwise).  The Catholic Church does not share my view that this evolution is progress.

 

My problems with the Church’s definition of marriage don’t end there. I’m not sure if I want to have children yet, I don’t believe that the husband should be the spiritual head of the household, I don’t view birth control as a sin (far from it), and I don’t think sex should be undertaken solely for the purpose of procreation.  I’m not saying all of this because I want my Catholic friends to view me as a heathen. I’m saying it because I want to make it clear that marrying in the Church would go against many many things that I believe, and would make no one happy – unless I were to intentionally mislead everyone, in which case they would admire me for being someone who I’m not.

 

Hopefully if you’ve read this far, you understand my decision was not intended as a slight against anyone or a sign of disrespect. If anything, this is my attempt at respecting people of faith by not making a mockery of their sacrament by participating in it falsely.  Nonetheless, I know that many people will be disappointed, but I can’t let that deter me from doing the difficult, honest thing.

 

It is much harder to be viewed as a good person when you’re “out” as non-religious. It is my goal to live my life and show that it is very possible to be moral, spiritual, and good as a non-religious person. Religion is not always freely chosen, but in a perfect world, it would be – as of now, I see too many people pressured into practicing the faith they were raised in, not because it’s what they believe, but because they fear the consequences of living otherwise. And even in America, the land of religious “freedom,” many people are terrified of practicing their religion because of the judgment of other religious groups. There are real stakes when it comes to disagreeing with the mainstream, but I fiercely believe it’s time to stop stigmatizing and demonizing non-Christian Americans – and I will do everything in my power to lead by example here.

 

I’m not an atheist and I don’t hate the Church. But it is my belief that religion and spirituality are highly personal and individual matters, and I truly believe that a person’s relationship with God is between that person and God alone. I won’t discuss my views on God here, and I will be respectful of your beliefs without ever trying to change your mind – and I sincerely hope you will respect my beliefs as well, even if you disagree.

 

Just as I bristle at characterizations of religious people as fanatics, I also hate the generalizations made about non-religious people (usually, stuff along the lines of “combative/argumentative,” “cynical,” “self-satisfied,” “evil,” “without morals,” and “dangerous”).  Ironically, many of the people who will view me as a “heathen” for saying all of this will never realize that we ultimately share the same core values. I hope at the end of the day, the people around me will judge my character by my words and actions and not by my religious affiliation (or lack thereof), because that’s probably our best hope of building a better world.

The Cosby Shitshow

Why were Bill Cosby’s accusers silent so long? There’s no shortage of think-pieces addressing this question, but I’m here to offer my own take.

[cw: discussion of sexual assault]


The cost of telling these kinds of stories is higher than you could possibly imagine. If you come forward as a victim of sexual assault, prepare to be bombarded with questions like: Why did you put yourself in that position? Why were you stupid enough to wear that dress/take those pills? Why didn’t you fight him off? Etc. etc. victim-blaming etc.


God forbid you’re a nobody, because then you’re only doing this for your fifteen minutes of fame, or for the money, or for attention. God forbid you’re a public figure, because then your own accomplishments will be overshadowed by the worst thing that has ever happened to you; a Google search of your name will turn up RAPE RAPE RAPE, which is exactly the sort of thing you want to be associated with, forever.

 
From that moment on, you will cease being a person and become a “victim” in the minds of the public (whether you accept the label or not), your sanity and mental health are forever in question, you are considered irrevocably damaged. You now have “problems.” Problems that make other people deeply uncomfortable, problems they don’t want to have to think about.

 
Not to mention that the rapist in question in this particular case —Bill Cosby— is a powerful man who has so much money and influence that it’s impossible to imagine anyone more influential; for kids who grew up watching the Cosby show (as millions did), Cosby was LITERALLY viewed as a father figure, and the man is so rich that he tried to BUY NBC in the ’90s. Please, take a moment to let that sink in.

 
These are stories women are discouraged from telling. We are not supposed to have “let this happen.” We are not supposed to have gone out late at night. We should not have trusted our own judgment, we should not have trusted the men who hurt us, we should have known this would happen. Chances are, you have been taught to believe these things your whole life, and part of you probably still believes them.

 
And if you have read this far and your takeaway is still that Cosby is “innocent until proven guilty,” consider that you are contributing to the problem. Consider that Cosby will likely never see the inside of a courtroom, that in 2006 he settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money, which was probably received by a woman who was intimidated and threatened by Cosby’s lawyers, who would not have been able to afford the kind of legal counsel available to Cosby, who wanted justice as much as you and I do (hell, more), but who realized that our society is deeply fucked up and stacked against women, who wanted her life to return to normalcy as soon as possible, who did not want to have to face Cosby again in a courtroom. To go to court would be to risk losing even more, and she had already lost enough.

(Originally published as an angry comment on Gawker.com).

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