Jan 20, 2017 ยท 3 minutes

Our long national nightmare is beginning.

By the time you read this today, all being as scheduled, Donald Trump will be President of the United States. In fact, by the time you read this today, it’ll very likely be tomorrow. On today of all days I won’t kid myself that anyone, even here in Silicon Valley, is paying much attention to Pando or any other tech publication.

Certainly you don’t need me to add to the blizzard of words about what Donald Trump’s koronatsiya means for America, or how doomed we all very likely are. Nor is it especially useful to repeat what I’ve said before about Silicon Valley’s rush to embrace Trump: That folks like Peter Thiel (a Pando investor) and Safra Catz should be disgusted with themselves for their rush to embrace the crazed fascist now in charge of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and who has pledged to track and persecute Americans based on their religion. That we should all be watching very carefully what Alex Stamos does next. That Germany -- Germany! -- is our best hope.

You don’t need any more doom and gloom today. There’ll be plenty of time for that in the next four years.

So here instead is an uplifting thought…

With the election of Trump, and the vote for Brexit, and the rise of the right wing in Europe, we’ll spend the next four years living in a world in which the Internet trolls have become the establishment. In which the biggest bully and troll of all is President of the most powerful nation on earth.

Perversely, in a world like that, the most powerful weapons of rebellion the rest of us have aren’t anger or violence. They’re kindness, generosity, and respectful dialogue. Weapons, in other words, that the other side doesn’t have access to, or have the first idea how to use. Not for a very long time has a generous word, or a charitable donation, or a banner held high in peaceful protest, meant as much as it does today (or tomorrow).

Amongst all the chaos and uncertainty, there’s also opportunity. Not business opportunity (although I’m sure there’ll be plenty of that) but rather opportunity to meet dramatic change with dramatic change.

On days like this, it’s natural to wonder how we, as a nation and a world, might possibly have got into this mess. But that means it’s also a good day to take stock, both professionally and personally and to ask: What was my part in all of this, and what should it be tomorrow? A day, especially for those of us lucky enough to work in or around Silicon Valley, to ask: Am I doing something that’s good for the world? Or at the very least not bad for the world? Am I doing something that makes me happy?

And, for some Valley workers, maybe also: Why are protesters chaining themselves to the doors of my building? Does my boss, or the brand on my hoodie, represent my own values?

If you ask yourself those questions and don’t like the answers, the universe couldn’t possibly be screaming louder than it is today. BE THE GODDAMNED CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE.

If you’ve been harboring that idea for a world-changing startup, this is the time to do it. If you’re miserable in your current gig, this is the time to change it. If there’s some new project you’ve been putting off, this is the time to get to work. If there’s something nice you’ve been meaning to say to someone, this is the time to say it. At the very least, this is the time to get a hobby, or buy some books, or write a book, or learn to cook, or volunteer at a homeless shelter, or support a Kickstarter. Or start a Kickstarter.

The next four years are going to be bad enough, without also piling on the additional crap of a job you hate, a dream you haven’t realized, or a chance you haven’t taken.

And, who knows? The joy that any of those big new projects might bring you might also be enough to make the next four years more bearable. Not just for yourself but for those around you.

Good luck.