- Changing the goal posts. My focus isn’t on making the world incrementally better or keeping it the same, but limiting the damage that is being done. Everything I do makes progress towards that goal. I cannot lose. And, unlike normal times, there isn’t a chance that I’m making things worse. It’s all uphill from this perspective.
- Not reading the news at all. I’m paying for news, but I am not looking at headlines. Instead, I am reading @wandsci and @scalzi and, when I’m feeling up to it, various indivisible twitter accounts or @decaro_nick. They provide a filter for what’s important and what’s actually going on vs. what’s rumor.
- Linking troubling information to actions. I feel better when I’m doing something about the thing that’s bothering me. Even if it doesn’t get anywhere, I tried. I call, I give money, I fax, I send letters.
- Talking with other people who are also being active and doing things. Especially people who are doing even more. They inspire me.
- Keeping abreast of the amazing amount of organization that’s happening. Groups are meeting with other groups. They’re coordinating. People are joining them. People are starting them. At midterms it won’t matter that the official democratic party is a disorganized mess because we WILL elect moderate republicans in the primaries and flip districts to democrats where possible. Indivisible will do that. Groups with the name Alliance or Warriors etc. will do that. They’re organized. They’re strong. They’re growing. They’ve got money. If we’re not fascist yet, things are going to happen. The newly complacent tea party won’t know what hit them, nor will they particularly care now that there’s no longer a black president.
- Asking people who tell me that activism in my red state doesn’t make any difference to shut up. Because even if I know my senator is never going to vote against a racist bigot because he himself is a racist bigot, my calls and the protests I attend send a message that he can’t go as far as he wants in that direction. He needs to think twice about doing worse things. Having second thoughts about doing horrific things at the very least slows them down. AND I’m not the only person who has suddenly become politically active. A year ago my voice wouldn’t have mattered, but today I am part of a chorus, and that chorus is growing stronger. Every week I’ve been calling, my representative’s opinions have changed, and they’ve changed because of people like me calling for the first time because it matters and we know we’re stronger together.
- Getting my actions each week from one of the weekly lists we mention in our activism tab. I’ve been going broad instead of deep. This way I don’t have to be exposed to the entire world of media out there and can just focus on something someone I trust has already curated (I like Actions for Americans because they have a paragraph and links explaining each issue) and get my voice out there efficiently.
- Practice and habit. Calls are WAY less anxiety-producing now. I have a habit. I go through Actions for Americans each week. Later in the week when I get hit with news, I check out what @decaro_nick or my local indivisible groups say to do (if it’s local) and I do that. I know which of my senators’ local office numbers have a non-zero chance of working and which ones try to make it more difficult to leave a message. It’s much more matter of fact now than it was when I first called with my voice shaking. It’s just part of my weekly routine. Protest whatever atrocities are on the plate for this week. So that 4 years from now I won’t have to anymore (hopefully then I’ll start calling to support positive change).
What is helping you cope?