“There is no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment.”
Well, it happened. What comes next?
None of us here at Empire of Loathing ever supported Hillary Clinton, with her utter willingness to inflame tensions with Russia and waste lives in Syria, her eagerness to mash the red button and her blatantly pandering campaign—and only a few of us ever offered grudging support to Sanders, her erstwhile-rival-turned-grimacing-supporter. We maintain that Clinton would have been equally harmful to the marginalized people of the world, particularly those in the Middle East, South Asia, and South America. As much as my loyalties lay with anyone running for president, they were with Gloria La Riva—and mostly because she could never win, and never wanted to.
Regardless, for the poor, for the nonwhite, for the disabled and the mentally ill, for trans people and gay people and Jewish people and Muslims and anarchists and communists and Wobblies and every activist on the front lines, for women as a social class, this is a nightmare. The rise and unexpected victory of Donald Trump is essentially the rise and victory of fascism. Hillary Clinton is an enemy we were used to having; liberalism is a serpent with a thousand heads. She works within her own system, and plays the game with an eye towards the next round—a game that murders millions, inarguably, but a game with rules nonetheless. Blatant, overt fascism is not an enemy we are necessarily used to fighting on home turf. I am genuinely afraid of the hordes of aimlessly furious white supporters, of the massive spike in documented hate crimes in the immediate wake of Election Day, of the slithering trail of every peddler of hate in this country lining up for a cabinet position, of the sheer unpredictable idiocy of this monstrous rapist on his throne of electoral votes. I am full of dread.
There is, of course, work to be done.
If you are interested in protesting, in fighting back against the horrors mounting over the horizon, understand: the NSA is watching you. In Standing Rock, as I type this, law enforcement has been using Facebook check-ins to identify protestors. Facebook has shown repeated willingness to collude with government agencies. Half of American adults are already in facial recognition databases. The police state is real, and it’s been real, whether or not you’ve been paying attention.
Some steps you can take, right now, to make yourself safer:
- Download Signal, a useful encryption app for your phone that works exactly like your normal texting system. Police do not necessarily care about what is legal and what is not—if you are arrested at a protest and they confiscate your phone, even something as innocuous as plans to meet a friend there can and will be used against you.
- Get a riseup email address—this allows for private, anonymized email without the NSA trawling through your Gmail folders. (You do need 2 recommendations from current users to join, however.) If Newt Gingrich achieves his goal of bringing back the House Un-American Activities Committee, well, best to give him as little ammunition as possible.
- If you are worried about access to birth control during this presidency, look into the pros and cons of getting an IUD. Some can remain effective for up to twelve years.
- If you are or know somebody who is trans and worried about getting a name change or ID change under this presidency, #translawhelp is a currently active Twitter hashtag where lawyers are offering aid on these matters.
- Keep your passport up to date. Renew anything that needs to be renewed. Do the things you’ve been putting off.
- Make sure you have a stockpile of medication if you fear your healthcare might be gutted.
- Consider arming yourself. Hate crimes are currently peaking at a level higher than that of the days following 9/11. Do the research on your local firearm and hand weapon laws. This campaign has emboldened white supremacists, and they are out in force, and they are terrifying—you should have some way to protect yourself and the people around you.
- Join the Party for Socialism & Liberation or the Workers World Party. It’s possible to apply for either one online in about 2 minutes, and they will provide opportunities for direct actions and protests.
Be good to one another, of course. Support and uplift your friends who will be most affected by the coming storm. But that in itself is not enough—cannot be enough. In response to the recent liberal rallying cry of “Love Trumps Hate,” I paraphrase an unattributed post that has been making the rounds: “It was not love that defeated the Nazis. It was communists.”
Enemies of the people are in power. It’s up to us what happens next.
Photo by Gage Skidmore.