It's just two weeks after the election and people everywhere in our great nation are reeling. Spinning, even. Dangling and grasping for understanding of how President Elect Trump could triumph.
Very simply, people are experiencing Post Traumatic Trump Disorder. Maybe it is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), but I know that millions of American citizens are traumatized as a result of the outcome of the election on November 8, 2016.
How could Trump get elected? The word is ANYWAY. He is a misogynist, admitted sexual predator and people, including women, voted for him anyway. He has made racist statements and taken race baiting positions, and people voted for him anyway. Enough people voted for Trump for him to win. Anyway.
Now what? We can dislike Trump all we want and rail against the "system," our fellow citizens, or the electoral college, but the fact remains: Trump is President Elect.
Hating a hater is energetically inapt. It leads to nothing. What will lead to something better is the very thing that we didn't want: President Elect Trump as Catalyst in Chief.
President Elect Trump is the ultimate wake-up call. Clearly, the work toward social justice is not finished. Use the Trump phenomenon as a complete catalyst for rapid evolution of social values and social justice.
Cure the Courage Deficit
I have a theory that the women who voted for Trump in droves voted for him because of a courage deficit. They just couldn't wrap their heads around a female leader in the highest executive office of the United States. Nor could the male citizens who voted for him. Change always requires courage and female leadership represents change, just as the first African-American President represented change.
Trump, as a candidate, appealed to the basest emotions such as fear and hate, which are very tied together. Fear of the "other", whether they be Mexicans, Muslims, or African-Americans, was a driving force for the election of Trump. People who voted for Trump wanted a change of direction from the current trajectory of LGBTQ rights, civil rights and women's rights. They wanted to be saved from a society that is rapidly changing and giving way to multiculturalism.
Social justice requires courage. Those that have privilege will lose some, if not all, of that privilege as social justice advances. The cure for fear of change is courage, because change is coming and is always coming at us. Those of us dismayed by the Trump phenomenon need the courage of our convictions. No one can save us from Trump and his administration's policies but us, we the people. Now, more than ever, we must have the courage of our convictions.
Get Organized and Participate
Women and minorities constitute the majority of citizens, in sheer numbers. This factoid will do nothing to help us unless we leverage our considerable numbers by organizing and getting involved in policing the policies that will emanate from this president.
This means we may have to skip a soccer game or two. We may have to sit down and write some letters to our representatives, participate in a demonstration or sign a petition. It means we have to care enough to put ourselves out there in a bigger way because, if we don't, we will regret the legacy of this president for the rest of our lives.
As a result of this election, all manner of grass roots organizations are springing up to combat the policy changes that this administration will try to make. Join one as soon as possible.
Speak Up in the Face of Social Injustice
Wherever you are and wherever you go, there are opportunities to stand up for social justice. They are now everywhere, given the atmosphere of permissiveness for bad behavior borne of this election. Hate crimes are rising with the advent of Trump and his administration. It has long been said that evil occurs when good people do nothing to stop it.
The antidote to vicious divisiveness is egalitarianism and equality for all, not just the few. If you value freedom and justice, now is the time to cultivate and launch your voice.
Refrain from Hating the Hater
Hatred is a very negative emotion, arising from a poverty of spirit. Fear is its root cause. If we meet hate with hate, we will all lose ground. Hating someone gives them some power over you because the hatred inside you actually works against you, energetically speaking. We need to call back our spirit, whenever we feel the hate, and engage in the will to evolve ourselves. Trump may now wield great temporal power, but he doesn't have to have power over us or our spirits. We will overcome in time, but only if we are disciplined in body, mind and spirit, while speaking truth to power.
Meet Diminishment with Enhancement
There are two ways we can use our power with other people: enhancement or diminishment. When we enhance others, we reflect back to them their basic goodness, value and talents. Diminishment, on the other hand, is spirit squelching. To diminish another is to put them down, insult them and disregard their basic goodness. Trump's campaign traded in the currency of diminishment to great effect, playing into the fears and hatred of his followers while dismissing and insulting whole categories of people and groups.
Any time that you see someone actively diminishing another person, it is an opportunity to intervene and deliver enhancement to the victim by reminding them of their true worthiness and value. Bullying can only occur when bystanders do nothing.
In any given moment, we always have more power than we think we do. As concerned citizens, we have the power to organize, make our voices heard and condemn bigotry wherever we see it.
We may not be able to cure Post Traumatic Trump Disorder, but we can use it as the wake-up call that it is. We live in a time of exaggerated contrast between viewpoints. This contrast can serve us. By knowing what we don't want, we can then become powerful creators of what we do want.
Ultimately, this, too, shall pass. In the grand scheme of things, there is finite distance between this last presidential election and the next one. Trump has four years to reach within himself and find his better character. We the people have four years in front of us in which we need to be vigilant, vocal and, ultimately, victorious. We are not wrong about our values and we are not outsiders. This is our country, and our world, too. Don't ever forget it.
L. Kay Wilson is a trial attorney, executive coach and founder of the MAVERICK LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE, the work of which is directed to the positive evolution of power dynamics. You may reach Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org.