If you’ve expressed any panic about the future, you’ve probably heard that you need to give our president-elect a chance. You, a citizen with nothing at your disposal but online petitions and protests, are preventing something-something-something by feeling the way you feel. Your bad vibes are getting him down; could you think about someone other than yourself for once?
That’s the tricky part. So far this has been a one-way street. In less than two weeks, an administration is taking shape that accounts for none of the public’s interest. For instance, the entire point of a white supremacist is to not give someone a chance and he’s about to become chief strategist to our next president. Over 400 incidents of “hateful intimidation and harassment” have been reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center since the election. The victims of these incidents weren’t given a chance.
You give a new restaurant a chance. You give an obscure subtitled movie a chance. You give a new flavor of Lay’s potato chips a chance. You do not give an elected official a chance. They won; they have power; they will use it. You’re a citizen; you have First Amendment rights; you should use them.
Giving something a chance means you have very little to lose. Maybe that’s the case for the minority of voters who selected our next president. They’re comfortable with complacency. What’s interesting is that their complacency doesn’t extend to the political actions of fellow citizens. It’s one more thing to tune out. They can pretend protesters are running a marathon and applaud the exercise while never considering it for themselves.
What if we’re panicking over nothing? What if the best case scenario unfolds, where every bigoted, regressive promise is broken and a cunningly masterful Democrat was on our side all along? Then all we have done is invigorated communities to protect and advocate for themselves. We will have supported organizations that have been doing difficult yet necessary work for decades.