And The Fight Goes On… What Else Is New?
For those of us Americans who care about things like civil rights, or environmental justice, or even just plain justice, it’s important now more than ever that we not lose perspective over the results of the recent presidential election. First off, if Hillary Clinton, or even Bernie Sanders had won the election, it’s not as if they would have suddenly gained the power to work miracles. Even Bernie couldn’t break the stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry in our politics and our economy, or convince police departments to root out their racist officers, or give Mitch McConnell a soul. Those things really aren’t within the President’s power to begin with.
When you break it down, Obama’s presidency hasn’t been terribly progressive. Under the current administration, we’ve drilled and fracked more oil and gas out of the ground than ever before. Obama is still pushing for that ridiculous Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which is practically a step below giving private corporations extraterritoriality. As a friend of mine is fond of pointing out, under Obama we’ve killed more Muslims around the world than under any other president in U.S. history, both directly, and indirectly through questionable foreign policy decisions. And for some reason, the city of Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have safe tap water! (Granted, that should be the responsibility of the state of Michigan, but the feds deserve their share of the blame for the continuing crisis.)
You can’t depend on government alone to make the world a better place. So now, as always, President Trump or not, it’s up to you and I to do the real work.
Fortunately, there are some well-organized NGO’s out there that can save us the trouble of starting from scratch. They all need our help to do their great work, financially, and in body as volunteers. You’re probably familiar with a few of them. Let me introduce you to some of them again for the first time. You’ve got your pick of the issues…
Concerned about the ongoing erosion of and blatant disregard for civil rights? That’s the bag of the American Civil Liberties Union. How about the rise of bigotry and xenophobia? Or mass incarceration? The Southern Poverty Law Center fights back with education (also lawyers).
Anyone who’s head isn’t stuck in their rectum is concerned with climate change, and knows enough to believe the world scientific community when they tell us the causes are human-made. The National Resources Defense Council is one of my personal favorite non-profits, as they’ve got the attorney power to make the government enforce it’s own environmental laws. The Sierra Club, and Greenpeace are are two other powerful environmental advocacy groups with a wide-range of projects and good respective track records of getting shit done.
Worried about protecting our national parks and wildlife refuges from those who want to exploit or steal them for the benefit of the few? The Wilderness Society is another enviro non-profit (besides those I already mentioned above) that fights for our public lands.
Toxic water? Toxic chemicals in our food? Food and Water Watch is all over that, baby!
While I’m bringing up our food supply, I should mention a non-profit that another friend of mine works with, Farm Forward. They’re all about sustainable agriculture, independent farms, and ending the abuses of factory farming. Worth a look if those things interest you.
Worried about the future of women’s healthcare? Planned Parenthood needs your support.
Oh, and we can’t forget about homelessness. At the national (and world) level, there is good ol’ Habitat for Humanity. There are numerous local non-profits that fight homelessness as well.
Headlines about ethnic cleansing in yet another part of the world driving you crazy? There are lots of organizations that work to end genocide in their particular geographic areas of expertise. One I’ve supported is Jewish World Watch, which primarily active on the African continent.
Want to do your part locally? Try supporting your local women’s shelter, wildlife center, social services non-profit, etc., etc. I think you all get what I’m saying now.
Don’t let shitty politicians and billionaires stop you from trying to make a piece of the world, however small it might be, less shitty for someone else. Decide what you’re most concerned about, find your people, and see what you can do to help. Money makes a difference when you don’t have the time, and time is often a more important contribution than money.
We still don’t know if Donald Trump intends to really pursue even half the insane promises he made during his campaign. His entire career thus far has been built on fraud and breached contracts, so broken political promises probably don’t mean much to him. Maybe he really is the fascist hate-mongering pile of guano that he portrays himself as, and it will be a tough four years. Regardless, it’s not like the fight to make things better ever stops. EVER.
So let’s get to work people.
(Edited for an unfinished hanging sentence. That’s what happens when you write these things at 1 am.)