activism,  homeschooling,  politics

the day after the American election

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I started blogging right after Stephen Harper was re-elected. Back then my blog was called “Another Step to Take…” I was sitting in shock, staring at election results, and feeling horrified that Canada could re-elect someone so blatantly bad. I had been out knocking on doors during the election. I had helped drive people to the polls. Blogging was something I started doing as another step, started the day after an election, for trying to work for changes the next election. I started off blogging about politics.

Since then my blog has shifted. I’ve blogged more on homeschooling. I changed the name of the blog to “Houseful of Chaos” reflecting its more personal focus and the fact that the earlier name could not be goggled. I still tried to blog about politics at time. Over the years I’ve advocated for letter writing, for protests, for lobbying the government. I don’t know if I really believe in any of that or not. It’s hard to believe in anything today.

I’m sitting in shock again at another election. It’s an election I couldn’t even vote in but I still feel that sense of shock and dread. I watch as my friends express their fear on facebook. Don’t let fear and anger be the last word though. Turn it into action.

So I dig deep and look for what I can think of to do and to recommend for others:

  1. Reach out to those groups most at risk from the Trump Presidency.
    1. Care for victims of sexual assault and other women facing the reality that a man can have so many accusers of sexual assault and still be elected president. When people say someone is innocent of sexual assault until proven guilty, challenge that. Challenge that on the basis that saying so presumes the woman is guilty of lying until proven innocent, and that doesn’t work.
    2. Care for those who face the loss of healthcare with the potential end of Obama care. Join unions and work within the unions to try to prevent jobs from being turned into contract jobs without health care.
    3. Reach out to immigrants, to gays and lesbians, to Muslim and Hispanic people. Assure them they matter. Support Black Lives Matter. Call for police accountability. Don’t let friends and relatives little racist or homophobic remarks go unchallenged.
  2. Get involved in local politics. I hope my American readers will join the DNC (or even RNC if you really think that is the way to go) and do what you can to work to prevent the nominating of really lousy candidates. Work to shape policies from within the parties. Demand better from your party.
  3. Learn more about economics so you can challenge your friends next time they think a maniac like Trump will help them economically. Challenge the idea that employers should be allowed to earn hundreds of times what their employees earn.
  4. Protest bad trade deals.
  5. Reach out to reasonable politicians across party lines. Encourage and support them. Lobby them to stand up for the good things.
  6. Challenge extremism on all sides. Challenge the misinformation coming from left-wing sites as well as those from right-wing
  7. Work to build bridges. Listen to the other side. An old friend on Facebook said “60 million Americans live in one world, with a completely different world view of another 60 million Americans. Those two world views have never been more different.” We need to bridge that gap and somehow bring people into the same reality. Listen respectfully. Try to find common ground and middle ground. Take serious other people’s complaints and concerns. If people are concerned about bathrooms, we need to look for middle ground on that. We can’t just dismiss their reality completely and say they are awful people and then be surprised when they vote for candidates that support their understanding of reality. Yes, access to abortion is necessary, but try to understand what pro-lifers are feeling when they talk about abortion.
  8. Challenge conspiracy theorists and anti-science rhetoric. Don’t let your friends go down the rabbit hole of believing that “the establishment” is somehow part of “Agenda 21” and trying to depopulate the Earth. Challenge idea that all doctors are somehow part of a conspiracy to poison us with vaccines, and that there’s massive chemicals being dumped on us through chemtrails. These ideas feed into the rhetoric that the establishment is evil, that politicians are evil and that we need someone like Trump. We need people to live in reality right now.
  9. Work to promote images of what government can do. Read Alexis de Tocqueville. Don’t buy into the image that people need to “drain the swamp” and get rid of government. We need visionaries to counter the anti-government rhetoric.
  10. Commit to working for justice even when it feels hopeless. Stand out at the protests, even when you’re not sure they do anything. Write the letters even when you imagine they are just dumped into the trash. Talk to politicians. Talk to friends. Write letters to the editor.

As a homeschooler, I think there’s a few extra things homeschoolers need to do.  For one, we need to acknowledge that the Homeschool Legal Defense Association supports Republican political candidates. Do not support the HSLDA.

The homeschool world is divided between those who are teaching their children in a relatively secular manner and those who are letting their religious beliefs shape every bit of information their children acquire. There are homeschoolers who do a good job in both camps, but generally it is the latter camp that prevents their children from learning science. They are also more likely to be Republican foot soldiers. They are often teaching their children to hate others based on their sexual orientation and sometimes even because of race.

We can’t change everyone, but what I think homeschoolers do need to do is watch for ways in which the homeschool communities could be helping to push people down the road of supporting Trump. There are perfectly normal, sane people who start homeschooling and then slowly they become engulfed in the more extreme Christian homeschooling. So, homeschoolers, if you’re disappointed about the election results, I hope you will support secular homeschooling groups, secular homeschooling co-ops and secular homeschooling curriculum publishers. We need options for homeschoolers to turn to, where they will not feel they have to participate in the religious ones because those are the only programs available. Secular homeschooling is not the same as atheist homeschooling. Many secular homeschoolers are religious, so be respectful of religious beliefs. Mildly religious people should not have to choose between Christian-bashing homeschool communities and radical right-wing Christian communities.

Support responsible homeschool legislation. Don’t feed into the fear that any or all legislation on homeschoolers is going to destroy everything. Do not encourage people to turn to the HSLDA to help them fight all legislation.

We need to create a world where people would not want to vote for Donald Trump. I’ve shared my ideas. Probably everyone will disagree with me on at least one or two Go ahead and share your ideas. How can we create a world where people would not want to vote for Donald Trump?

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One Comment

  • Colleen

    Thanks for this Christy. I think what is needed right now is compassion. Standing up for others and writing down what we believe in. Articulating our values. Telling our stories of why those values matter to us. Choosing to hope, even if that seems impossible. I think people are missing this kind of list of concrete actions that will actually help their voices to be heard–it is essential to be reminded.

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