This is an excerpt from the letter that appears in the next issue of Ms., which is only available to members. If you don’t already subscribe to Ms., subscribe today to stand with us as we fight back. We’ve spent 44 years rebelling and truth-telling, and we’re not stopping now.
The unimaginable has happened. Donald Trump—after a blatantly misogynist, racist, anti-LGBT, anti-disability, xenophobic campaign— has won the electoral vote and is the president-elect of the USA.
In the agony of election night, few of us noticed that the majority of the American electorate had, in fact, voted for Hillary Clinton. The majority of women voted for Clinton, the majority of people under the age of 45, the majority of low-income workers and the overwhelming majority of African Americans (88 percent) and Latino/as. The gender gap was large—12 points—with 54 percent of women voting for Hillary and 53 percent of men voting for Trump.
It was not enough. Our electoral college system, which favors states not people, gives more weight per vote to citizens in small states than those in populous ones.
We must face the fact that Donald Trump is not an outlier, but instead reflects the policies of the right wing of his party. He ran on a platform to build a wall and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, to repeal Obamacare, to ban abortion, to defund family- planning programs, to dramatically reduce funding for Medicaid and deny nursing care to elderly women.
Let’s be clear: These policies have no public mandate, and the margin of this election was razor thin. We must organize, organize, organize to defend our fundamental values and priorities: ending discrimination, winning equality, ensuring social justice and reversing global climate change.
This is not the time for feminists to sit on the sidelines. We must fight on. We have come too far and worked too hard to go back now.
This is a call to action. If you have the ability, desire and drive to volunteer for your favorite feminist cause or organization, the time to do so is now. Clinics need escorts; nonprofits need volunteer researchers, event organizers, administrators, lawyers, artists, designers, computer techies and fundraisers. Everyone and every skill count. We all need your passion, encouragement, skills, commitment, financial support—big or small.
We at Ms. pledge to keep on keeping on with renewed vigor and commitment to meet this historic challenge. We will never go back, and we will never give up. We will continue to spread the ideas, joys, activities, setbacks and advances of feminists both at home and across the globe.
Eleanor Smeal is president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and publisher of Ms.
Kathy Spillar is executive director of the Feminist Majority Foundation and executive editor of Ms.