Three weeks. Three weeks since 2.5 million more of us voted for Hillary than him and it didn’t matter. I’ve calmed down since then. I’ve been comforted by a gathering of friends for Thanksgiving, good food and conversation. At the table, we signed “Not Bannon” postcards to send to Trump. Richard signed his, “your friend.” I hope Trump gets many.
Some people have made me laugh, including my former student Tim: “I feel like Trump is going to replace the Constitution with the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.”
I’ve been revived by swift actions many have taken. More than 20,000 donated to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name. He gets a certificate for each donation. That’s special. Ben was one of those 20,000 and he also thoughtfully signed Pence up for the newsletter. Rumor has it some Planned Parenthood staff were so impressed they put a photo of the Vice President-elect on their wall.
Professor Jim, on learning of a possible “watchlist” to expose professors promoting leftist propaganda: “I presume I will end up on the list for teaching that evolution is real, that the main mechanism of evolution is Darwinian natural selection, that climate change is real and driven by human activities, and that we are living in the sixth Anthropocene mass extinction. So be it.”
Poets.org saw a surge in shares. Normally they get 80-100 a day. On November 8 and 9, “more than 550 people tweeted out poems with 720 people retweeting those links.” Popular poems included Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.” I have always known that poems matter, that, as William Carlos Williams said, “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” It is heartening to this old poet to hear so many turned to poetry for solace.
I was revived by the grassroots revulsion at Trump’s cabinet and staff selections, by how people drafted statements, listed congressional phone numbers, gave tips on calling. Some were my former students, a generation that doesn’t make phone calls, found it hard to do, but did it. I did it myself, got to talk to real people at Democratic offices, mostly recorded messages at the Republicans. Hmmm…
I was revived by New York Mayor De Blasio’s great anti-hate speech, and San Francisco City Council’s proclamation. Go read them. They’ll cheer you up too.
And I was delighted with everyone who declared, “if they establish a Muslim registry, I’m signing up too.”
More than three weeks. I’ve had time to think. Trump changes positions daily, appoints billionaires who will damage things I care about, like public education. I’ve renewed my lapsed membership in PEN America. Trump’s not holding press conferences, berates journalists. I’m a writer, care about freedom of speech. PEN has for decades fought to get writers out of prison in other countries. Now they’re starting to monitor what’s happening here. In case.
I’ve thought about The Divide. I believe not all Trump voters are racists, hate other religions and think covering our national parks with oil wells is a fine idea. I believe those of us in the struggling middle/working class have more in common than we currently realize. We must make an effort to cross The Divide. I don’t know how yet. In my diverse corner of the world there are no Trump supporters.
December is giving month. This year Phil and I are asking for donations to charities/non-profits in our name. We’re doing the same for those we usually give gifts. (Children get a pass.) I have to support the American Civil Liberties Union: they bailed me out of jail in 1967. Beyond that, I haven’t decided. There are so many worthy organizations trying to protect the environment, immigrant rights, health care, election reform. All of them need volunteers. Look at what Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are trying to do and support those causes. Whatever you care about, now’s the time to step up.
I’ll make what donations I can, call congress people, send letters, repeat jokes. (Ferengi Rules is a good one, Tim.) I’ll wait until this man’s in office, see what precious thing is threatened first and then focus my efforts. There’s a reason Maya Angelou’s poem topped the list: hers is the spirit we need now.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.