For many Americans, the 2016 presidential election was perhaps one of the darkest days in recent memory. Even the most die-hard Donald Trump fans, though, would admit that this has been the most contentious, divisive election cycle in decades. Judging from the nation’s shocked reaction and the numerous post-election protests happening, there is a lot of collective mourning going on right now. But as Jordan Weissmann of Slate pointed out, what we need now is tikkun olam, acts of kindness, to make the world a better place.
Regardless of your political beliefs, you know that one of the key things that is bound to happen in this presidency is the dismantling of a large portion of the social safety net that protects our most vulnerable citizens.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities writes that the latest house budget plan would eliminate $3.7 trillion from programs that benefit low- and moderate-income households over the next 10 years. “In 2026,” they note, “it would cut such programs overall by 42 percent—causing tens of millions of people to lose health coverage and millions to lose basic food and other support.”
In order to counteract that, we need to reach out to charities doing the work to help those individuals.
Do some research, find some charities you believe in, and donate your money and your time to help those in need. The Trump campaign has promised that they will be actively working to counter LGBTQ protections, ending programs that provide food and shelter to the poor, slashing federal aid to college students, and undermining science and education. This is where charities come into play.
While philanthropy is not an adequate replacement for an actual social safety net, we can use it to take out some of the sting of feelings of defeat or be an exemplar of your religious beliefs. Government support is better than charity, especially during recessions, because the government can spend more to bolster society while donations tend to decrease, but we need to work with what we’ve got.
Donate, volunteer, do something to make the world a better place. It needs it.