What to do after the elections (now and forever!)

by Józef Wilkoń

The elections of 11/9 may passed, and slowly your stress levels and dopamine will return to their baseline levels, but not complacent. These American elections are just an alarm bell for a very realistic and very bleak future. In France, the neoliberal party of Le Pen is flirting with the victory in the next elections, in Poland the criminalization of the abortion degrades the women nature, in Netherlands and Scandinavia neoliberal parties are gaining more and more power, targeting immigrants. The richest people on this planet, only a -damn- 1% of the global population, feel their power chairs to creak under the weight of people that are starting to fight for everything dear and right.

There are many things you can do before the next elections, starting today!

 

1. Pay attention!

Your responsibilities as citizens and voters, don't end by the time you hit the ballot box. The institution of democracy is only meaningful, if only the voters are savvy. Look in the past of every politician before you start supporting her/him, learn about her/his agenda on issues regarding women, minorities, imperialist wars, the environment, health and education. It's hard I know, but it's the only way.


2. Stand up and create a supporting niche around you!

In the last days you either cried hard or celebrated with fervor. No matter in which group you fall in, the future is common for both. The extinction of the social role of the state and the lack of environmental sensitivity will crush everyone mercilessly and indiscriminately.
Resentment is a nonsense of those, who think they will live forever, so do not give up and do not stay silent. Fight for your beliefs to the point that you can and want. If you feel strong, fight for the young and the weak ones too. Fight for the ones you love and appreciate, for those who have fought in the past, for all the commodities you consider for granted today. Those of you that have the desire and the financial stability to search in the their neighborhood/city for organizations whose activities make them feel full of hope, please do. You can make donations or become a volunteer. Here are also some organizations that are pro-women, pro-minorities, pro-immigrants and pro-environment. In time like this, when hope seems to vanishI think of “Still I Rise" poeam of Maya Angelou.
If you feel scared and desperate, or you feel that your life will change for the worse (I am so sorry for that, for letting such crimes still occurring), turn to your community. Strengthen your relationship with your partner and friends, get to know your neighbors, see if elderly people/single mothers/disabled people around you need help, don’t judge people and wake up your empathy. The algorithms of Facebook and our Twitter isolated you in your home, in a ‘filter bubble’, in which the information that reaches you is filtered, so you see only what you agree on/like. And if you feel very upset or that depression is knocking on your door, don’t be ashamed. Brain diseases are as important as all the others ones. If you had a broken leg, or a strange bump on your chest, you would rush to the doctor to heal it as soon as possible. Please, do the same when your brain is in pain. Also, exercising and adopting diets with plenty of vegetables and little meat, will benefit your mental health tremendously. (Today I start a 14-days free e-course lesson on adopting healthier diets within few steps, you can find it here if it is something that interests you!)

my neighbor totoro

3. Empower your readers

For the bloggers of our field (lifestyle and creative) or the entrepreneurs that are reluctant to share opinions like in this post -because they believe that it will damage their brand or lose their followers-, I assure you; you are wrong! You might lose some followers, but you will earn respect and support from the ones that stay.  Behind every brand, there is a manifesto of ideologies and a level of humanity, and I will ask you to focus on that for a moment. Stay away from discussions about political parties, but empower your readers. Turn your business into a social business and give back to your community. Actions like that never backfire.
Personally I plan on turning my personal attention towards understanding people who read IWOI, to share knowledge and ideas that I gain through my field, and to help people who now feel unsafe. I'm not very sure how to do that (any idea is welcome), but I don’t want to remain silent.


4. Your money has power

Female consumers currently motivate 70-80% of all consumer spending. Either directly (by buying) or indirectly (by proposing to friends, sharing in social media, creating trends). But! What if women stopped supporting that don’t support them - companies with unfair hiring, known for discriminatory sexist practices -, what kind of changes could that bring? And what if supported green, fair trade, sustainable companies more? Aim in learning who is behind the companies you support financially and if what you find doesn’t please you stop doing so and stop promoting them (in friends and Pinterest).
The lovely Caroline Donofrio wrote an article on it. Here’s an excerpt below, but it is worth the read. “ While Urban Outfitters, Inc. (which includes Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Terrain, and BHLDN) aims to cater to bohemian, hipster consumers at various stages of life, it is owned by conservative donor Richard Hayne. I do not wish to contribute to conservative causes (directly or indirectly), so for me, that choice was simple. If you don’t support my lady parts or my lady agenda, you cannot have my lady dollars. [...] This is as much about self-care as it is about social justice.”  


5. Understand the people and be careful with hard pompous declarations.

If you have someone in your environment that you believe that endorses political parties with extreme beliefs, try to understand hi/hers underlying reasons before you start judging.  What happened in the US elections, is not because the Americans are stupid (let’s not forget that people in Greece 2 years ago were making fun of the <1% Golden Dawn stats, only to be hit by a meteorite, when they reached the 10% and entered the parliament). Such simplified assumptions downplay the complexity of such an issue.
Only those who were in the odious position of losing everything (from their job to their dignity), and chose to silence in a war against power that they felt unable to enter, understand the hollowness of such words. Despite our brave words and our revolutionary fiery statements, we all make small concessions on to our beliefs to please our peers. Every day we are sacrificing small pieces of our values (consciously usual), and we reassure ourselves that one day, when we are in the position of taking the big decisions, we won’t execute morally people. If you have such feelings, do not let anything or anyone make you forget these feelings. Be careful, though, because as Nietzsche warned us all: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”.
 

Hold on tight on each other, that’s the only way for everyone to float.

 

Credits | Text: Despina Kortesidou, Photos: Illustration: Józef Wilkoń, My neighbor Totoro: Studio Ghibli