A few days ago, I came across an essay in The Guardian by author Barbara Kingsolver, and I saved it for further review. This morning I re-read it and it struck a chord, one that I want to share. I am limited to sharing a small portion (500 words or less) of her essay here, but I think it is one that is inspiring and well worth the read, so I am including a link to the entire essay here. The essay, Trump changed everything. Now everything counts, deals with how we can respond to the different world we woke up to on November 9th, what we can do to fight for the values we believe in that may be in danger under the new administration. Kingsolver is a gifted author and has a way with words, a way of communicating her thoughts that far exceeds my own, so I hope that you will take a minute to read the entire essay.
If you’re among the majority of American voters who just voted against the party soon to control all three branches of our government, you’ve probably had a run of bad days. You felt this loss like a death in the family and coped with it as such: grieved with friends, comforted scared kids, got out the bottle of whisky, binge-watched Netflix. But we can’t hole up for four years waiting for something that’s gone. We just woke up in another country.
It’s hard to guess much from Trump’s campaign promises but we know the goals of the legislators now taking charge, plus Trump’s VP and those he’s tapping to head our government agencies. Losses are coming at us in these areas: freedom of speech and the press; women’s reproductive rights; affordable healthcare; security for immigrants and Muslims; racial and LGBTQ civil rights; environmental protection; scientific research and education; international cooperation on limiting climate change; international cooperation on anything; any restraints on who may possess firearms; restraint on the upper-class wealth accumulation that’s gutting our middle class; limits on corporate influence over our laws. That’s the opening volley.
A well-documented majority of Americans want to keep all those things, and in some cases expand them. We now find ourselves seriously opposed to our government-elect. We went to bed as voters, and got up as outsiders to the program.
Many millions of horrified Americans are starting to grasp that we can’t politely stand by watching families, lands and liberties get slashed beyond repair.
I’ll go first. If we’re artists, writers, critics, publishers, directors or producers of film or television, we reckon honestly with our role in shaping the American psyche. We ask ourselves why so many people just couldn’t see a 69-year-old woman in our nation’s leading role, and why they might choose instead a hero who dispatches opponents with glib cruelty. We consider the alternatives. We join the time-honored tradition of artists resisting government oppression through our work.
If we’re journalists, we push back against every door that closes on freedom of information. We educate our public about objectivity, why it matters, and what it’s like to work under a president who aggressively threatens news outlets and reporters.
If we’re teachers we explicitly help children of all kinds feel safe in our classrooms under a bullying season that’s already opened in my town and probably yours. Language used by a president may enter this conversation. We say wrong is wrong.
If we’re scientists we escalate our conversation about the dangers of suppressing science education and denying climate change. We shed our cautious traditions and explain what people should know. Why southern counties are burning now and Florida’s coastal cities are flooding, unspared by any vote-count for denial.
We refuse to disappear. We keep our commitments to fairness in front of the legislators who oppose us, lock arms with the ones who are with us, and in the words of Congressman John Lewis, prepare to get ourselves in some good trouble. Every soul willing to do that is part of our team, starting with the massive crowd that shows up in DC in January to show the new president what we stand for, and what we won’t.
There’s safety in numbers, but only if we count ourselves out loud.
Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.