Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Congratulations. If you're reading this, you're probably the resistance, the minority. By the most recent CNN count, about 25 percent of our country voted for a man that has no regard for our national values and who sees the office of president as little more than a personal trophy. Another 45 percent helped him to victory by either voting for an also-ran candidate or by not voting at all. If you fit into neither camp, then congratulations, you're the minority. If you aren't straight, if you don't pass for white, if you aren't Christian: Congratulations, you're the minority, and you've now been made the enemy.
We have nine weeks until the reins of the presidency pass into the little orange hands of our new leader, and during that time there will be endless speculation on what he will do in office. If we've learned anything over the past year, it is that anyone who claims to know what Trump will do next is wrong.
So what are we supposed to do in the interim? Don't worry; we've made you a list:
1) Know the enemy.
Whether it's in person or online, at some point in the very near future, you will be challenged. You will be told that Trump isn't racist, homophobic, Islamophobic or sexist by one of his supporters. They'll ask for proof, and you'll need to be able to give it, to quote him chapter and verse. Study his scripture 140 characters at a time and let it fuel you for the next four years. Do not fall for gaslighting and do not let anyone tell you that our president was never bigoted. Your mind is your best weapon and your first line of defense.
2) Support a social justice nonprofit.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center are going to be stretched impossibly thin over the next four years, so making donations more important than ever. It's likely that both organizations will be on the front lines of defense against the Trump administration, and could very well end up defending your rights in court. Other organizations that will need your dollars: Planned Parenthood, International Refugee Assistance Project, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. The full list is too long to print, but you get the picture.
3) Get involved.
No matter your thoughts on the current state of the Democratic Party, it is, for now, the way forward. We are 24 months from an election that will, perhaps more so than any other midterm election, define the country that America wants to be. Don't just join the party, shape it. Get involved, attend meetings and run for office. It is up to us to save this country and we have to start organizing immediately. History will judge us by how we get out of this mess and we can't do it without you.
4) Find your support system.
Now more than ever, you will be tested and it's important to have a network of people, be they friends or a family that is biological or chosen, who will support you over the next four years. Online communities like Pantsuit Nation and #undergroundhillaryclub have been an incredible resource, but real-world versions are what we must foster among ourselves in order to emotionally weather the next four years.
5) Practice self care.
It's OK to turn off the television or to put down your phone. We're preparing for a four-year battle. Save your strength. Spring for the bottle of wine you love, buy the fancy cheese, take a bubble bath, wear sweatpants. Indulge and bolster yourself. It will get harder from here. You are this country's most valuable resource, so don't forget to nourish your mental and physical self.
6) Be vigilant.
Be vigilant not just of your surroundings, but of who is around you. Though we are the minority, we are numerous, and you'll encounter your brothers and sisters in arms at every turn. Look for them and look out for them, for they're fighting the same battles as you. When you see a racist, sexist or bigoted act, say something. You are their first line of defense, their safe space, their lifeguard.
7) Create art.
Great art comes from oppression. Many years from now, in some brighter and better America, our children will study the art that will be produced in the upcoming years. It's important that you have some form of expression. Take up painting or photography, writing or dance. Learn to cook, or how to throw pottery. Let whatever you're feeling, be it anger, hurt, frustration or hope, channel through you to others.
8) Live your life.
In a time when the future has never seemed so bleak, it is imperative that you not shy away from being openly and outrageously yourself. This act, upon which our nation was founded, has now become radicalized. It's up to you to use your body and your life as a form of daily protest. Wear your otherness like a badge. Be proud, be resilient.