I finally worked up the composure to watch the November 13 edition of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on HBO. It was the final show of the season and aired only five days after the election.
For the first twenty minutes Oliver pretty much scorched the minority President-elect, offering ideas of just how we got there and why—what the majority of Americans have been lamenting since election day. But then he said, more or less—this is our world for the next four years—now what do we do?
He pointed out that watching shows like his will not suffice on its own, nor would sounding off on the Internet or blogging the same thing over and over again like someone I know…like someone I am. For the past eight years we believed we had a president with enough wisdom to look out for us. Those days, Oliver said, when we could afford to be passive, are gone; as Americans we are going to have to actively stand up for one another.
It’s going to take sacrifice—more sacrifice than some retired guy setting aside an hour each day to preach to the choir. And that sacrifice could be time spent volunteering, or money donated. But one way or another, we are living in a country with millions of newly endangered citizens whose feelings of security stopped dead nineteen days ago. Undocumented immigrants, the LGBT community, women of childbearing age, racial and ethnic minorities…all have seen their worlds turned upside down. But Mr. Oliver then listed some potential charities that might provide assistance for these beleaguered masses—certainly there are more.
And he also suggested—and you may have heard this before but I still think it’s funny—you can make your donation in the name of some Trump supporter you know and imagine the fun of that person getting a thank you note from, oh let’s say the International Refugee Assistance Project. It’s a delectably diabolical Christmas gift—one that hurts nobody (but may not earn a thank-you note), but what about doing it for like-minded friends and relatives? I’d be proud if someone contributed to one of these organizations in my name. Think about it. Isn’t a day away from the shopping mall worth it?
Let me know if you pick one from the list, or even one not on the list. And no cheating—you can’t donate to the Human Fund like George Costanza. This is serious. Millions of increasingly wary and fearful Americans are counting on us.