#Resistance Reading

I don’t know about you, but this is pretty much my default mode these days:


can all of this un-happen plz?

Even The Onion is more depressing than entertaining lately, and that’s the least of the world’s problems.

I’ve been asking myself what I can do in the wake of Trump’s inauguration—in the wake of his bold-faced lies on everything from crowd size to voter fraud, his hateful, fearmongering policymaking, his continued vilification of the press, his dangerously short-sighted suppression of science, and a hundred other infuriating, intolerant, and irresponsible measures that threaten both American values and my own grip on sanity.

“What can I do?” is the question on my mind because, besides feeling angry, sick, and heartbroken, I’ve been feeling helpless. I’m not a lawyer, like my cousin-in-law Matt, who set out for O’Hare on Saturday on behalf of the International Refugee Assistance Project to support the travelers detained by Trump’s executive order on immigration. I’m not a reporter, like my friend Mustafa, who has worked for the last six months to promote press freedom on the Committee to Protect Journalists. Tweeting and Facebooking are active but unproductive—either preaching to the choir or stirring up a hopeless shitstorm. Donating money is productive but passive—as soon as I click “submit,” I’m antsy to do more. Helplessness does not suit me well, as I’ve learned time and again this week, and idleness even less so.

But I’m not helpless. I’m helpful, dammit, and I’m smart and I’m strong and I matter. And while I may not have a law degree or a press pass or a fortune, I do have a voice and a platform and a message. So, for everyone else out there wondering how you can make a difference, my message is this: Let’s engage in small acts of resistance. 

On my quest for an Anti-Trump To-Do List, I came across this fantastic article on “20 #smallacts we can all do to protest injustice and make the world a better place.” I was a little surprised to note the source (Teen Vogue) but less surprised to note the author (award-winning novelist Celeste Ng). Her suggestions range from the obvious (call your representatives; volunteer for local charities) to the inspired (reconsider the language you use; run for office). She encourages concerned citizens, young or old, to “spread help and hope” through efforts as small as carrying reusable shopping bags, taking public transportation, and creating art.

It wasn’t long before I was coming up with ideas of my own. To the list above, I would add subscribing to reputable news sources and, especially, avoiding unreliable ones. I would also add leveraging professional resources. My employer is small, with minimal reach, but my husband works for a tech company with influence and means. I told him to send his HR rep this article in hopes of encouraging them to take a stand alongside their peers. And I told him to suggest that, at the very least, they send out an email to remind all employees that the company matches donations to 501(c)(3) charities.

Since this blog’s focus is on literature, I wanted to find a way to tie my own #smallacts back to books. Ng had one great strategy on this front:

Read (and if you can, buy) diverse literature. Books by women, people of color, LGBTQ authors, differently abled people, and non-Americans are a great way of broadening horizons and building empathy. Share books you love with others, and ask your teachers and professors to assign more diverse literature.

As I sat nodding along with Ng’s words, it hit me: Today’s exercise in #smallacts could be a resistance-themed list of All the Best Literary Links I’ve Come Across This Week. This will be my sixth—and, I think, final—list of Literary Links, dedicated entirely to the many #resistance reading recommendations I’ve encountered since the election. Some are aimed at Trump, and some are aimed at us—but all of them share the goal of an enlightened, enhanced democracy:

My TBR on GoodReads may be straining under this new weight, and my budding #smallacts agenda may already lack for space, but I’m feeling a little less helpless for the first time all week. It doesn’t take more than a pebble to create a ripple effect. And, in the wake of Trump’s unflinching, inevitable Trumpness, I’ve realized I can leave a wake of my own—however small.

11 thoughts on “#Resistance Reading

  1. Why is this specifically (and everything Trump says and does) purposely being mis-represented in the mainstream press? The press has failed this country and is almost entirely responsible for the fear-mongering and hateful rhetoric. Free speech-Yes. Free to twist the news into propoganda to support your own narrative-NO! I have so much more to say but will close with this. I am a woman and a mother, with a PhD, who is neither a racist nor xenophobe, nor homophobe, nor any other phobe, and I’m someone you come to for advice on a wide variety of things. And I voted for Donald Trump. Your question should be, “what do I know that you don’t know?”

    • Setting the press aside entirely would not improve my opinion of Trump. His attacks on virtually every minority, as well as women, speak for themselves. His boasts of committing sexual assault speak for themselves. His support for military torture and war crimes, his perpetuation of the birther movement, and his refusal to release his tax returns speak for themselves. His plans to build a wall on the border of Mexico speak for themselves. His executive orders to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, suspend the refugee program, and block U.S. entry for citizens of Muslim-majority countries — including legal permanent residents of the U.S. (!) — speak for themselves. His own words, spoken or written, COUNTLESS times now, have left me horrified, heartbroken, and afraid.

      • Read this: http://listverse.com/2013/12/05/10-reasons-lincoln-was-secretly-a-terrible-president/
        In light of this, why do you think we view Lincoln as one of the best Presidents? Because we look at the overall impact of what he accomplished and don’t focus on specific incidences that could horrify us.
        Your view of Trump has been skewed by a media that wants you to view him the way you see him. I don’t see him that way at all. Do I like everything he’s said and done-no, but in terms of what he’s doing as President and will continue to do for our country, he’s on track to be one of the best Presidents our country’s ever had (second only to Reagan in my book).
        I voted for Obama in ’08, hopeful for what he said he would bring to our country. I voted against him in ’12 afraid of what he was doing to our country. We spent 11 months out of the last 48 out of work (thank you Obama). We have observed and sometimes attempted to fight the corruption in the federal government and endured persecution because of it (thank you politicians). The freakout, and subsequent negative coverage of this presidency is about loss of power-period. Challenges to those in power get shut down-hard. Politicians, lobbyists, the media, celebrities, all those who have used their positions to manipulate our thinking and steal our money can’t stand that Trump has called them out. They don’t own him and they can’t stand it and it frustrates them that they can’t shut him down.
        Words and actions pulled out of context can create whatever picture you want. I can provide a counter argument/alternate view for everything you mentioned above.
        Why can Clinton say this but Trump can’t??
        Same with Obama?

        Further evidence that a wall is needed.
        Re: ILLEGAL immigration. This is from former AZ governor, Jan Brewer.
        From a recent Jan Brewer interview with Sean Hannity:
        “What is the impact on jobs for Americans, the health care costs, the educational costs, the criminal justice costs of the illegal immigrants? How big is it?”
        JAN BREWER, R-ARIZ., FORMER GOVERNOR: “Well, it’s extraordinary. It costs us probably, you know, a billion dollars or more a year to educate these people that are coming across with their children. Certainly, they’re taking jobs out of the economy, and then their health care under our Medicaid program — we call it access here — and the incarceration. It’s extraordinary. And we certainly can’t afford it and it’s not our job. And the point of the matter, truly, Sean, is that our borders need to be secured, and we believe in the rule of law.”
        Climate Change?
        I watched another interview by a scientist who resigned her position at a university because it was no longer doing research. All monies received to ‘research’ climate change are provided to studies that support the Obama narrative and subsequent regulations. We tried to make that point at Christmas Eve Eve lst year…..
        Let’s compare what Trump said to what Clinton did.
        Good article on Trump’s taxes:

        *BTW-We do the same thing every year to minimize our tax burden. We didn’t write the code-politicians did and I’m guessing they ALL benefit from it. As long as it’s legal, I’m doing it.
        # of Muslim-majority countries: 49
        Trump has temporarily stopped immigration from 7 who harbor terrorists or are sending refugees (who could also be infiltrated by terrorists).
        My question is this. Why do you choose to live in a building with a locked entrance? I’m guessing your lobby could be used to house homeless people at night. They are impoverished, need shelter, food, clothes, etc. You don’t keep the door open because while most homeless people are perfectly harmless, there’s a chance that one or a small few may not be harmless. It’s prudent. It makes sense. It’s why I lock my doors at night, my cars when I park in a public place, etc. Why doesn’t the same reason apply to our country? If I was robbed while in my home, the first thing I would do is figure out who robbed me. Then, I’d determine how to prevent people like the robber from getting into my home. Obama identified the seven countries included in the temporary ban. They were identified as harboring threats to our country. He wasn’t able to keep us safe with the current level of protection. Trump is making good on his promise to keep America safe again. I believe the error for permanent residents was corrected (saw an interview by one man detained at an airport who is still a Trump supporter much to the obvious dismay of the mainstream reporter doing the interview).

      • Ah, well this clears things up. Media (mis)representation is not the problem here. The problem is that we fundamentally disagree on all of the above issues.

    • Some examples:

      I can see how “Trump is a renegade shaking things up in Washington” and “the media is a conspiracy only conservatives are smart enough to see through” are compelling narratives. My view: Trump is an egomaniac and a compulsive liar who would be unfit for government work even if he understood it. He ran for office not to serve the American people but to serve his personal brand, and he won via classic populist strategies he wasn’t even aware of following. His Twitter feed alone is evidence of this.

      As for the media, it is imperfect and always has been. It’s our job to engage critically with the information we receive.

      The economic impact of illegal immigration is much more complicated than you suggest. There are several economic benefits associated with undocumented workers. And even if the impact were wholly negative, a wall on the border of Mexico would be impractical, outrageously expensive, and — most relevant, I think, to your concerns — ineffective.

      Re: climate change. Every major institution working with climate, ocean, and/or atmospheric science agrees that the climate is warming rapidly and that humans are the primary cause. A direct quote from the article you sent: “In a statement issued after Prof Lewis’ departure, the APS said that ‘on the matter of global climate change, APS notes that virtually all reputable scientists agree… carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere due to human activity.'”

      I have never defended any of the sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton, and I’m surprised that you think I would. More to the point, I’m horrified by your implication that Trump’s words were in any way defensible because Clinton may have said/done worse.

      I’m not arguing that Trump avoided paying taxes illegally. His refusal to release his tax returns is alarming because we have no way of evaluating any potential conflicts of interest related to his domestic and foreign business affairs.

      Extremists and jihadists represent a minuscule minority among Muslims — well under 1% of over a billion people. Their beliefs are a warped version of Islam, just as the KKK’s beliefs are a warped version of Christianity. The vast majority of Muslims condemn ISIS and extremist violence. Moreover, homegrown, NON-Muslim extremists pose a greater threat to American lives. The New York Times recently pointed out that in the 15 years since 9/11, white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics, and other non-Muslim extremists have killed nearly twice as many people as radical Muslims. While we’re on the subject, 9/11 was specifically referenced in Trump’s executive order — yet Saudi Arabia was not included in the ban. 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attack were Saudi.

      My point is that Trump has repeatedly exaggerated the threat of Islamic extremism, stirring up fear and hatred for Muslims here and abroad, and his executive order is both illogical and dangerous. Many, including Republicans, have noted that it is likely to fuel anti-American propaganda in the Middle East.

      No, Obama wasn’t able to fully protect us from danger… just like every other president, and every law enforcement official. If threats to the American population are your main concern, I would suggest donating money to organizations researching cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. I would also have to assume you’re staunchly anti-gun. If threats to your own personal safety are your main concern, by all means, lock your doors. But also avoid driving, walking, animals, insects, and athletic activities — all of which are much more likely to kill you than terrorism. If threats to vulnerable people anywhere in the world are your main concern, call your representatives in Congress and tell them you oppose Trump’s suspension of the refugee program. Refugees are vetted more carefully than anyone else arriving in the U.S. Americans should be outraged and embarrassed that Trump has closed his doors to them, even temporarily.

      Obviously I don’t expect to change your mind, and I’d rather spend my time doing almost anything than arguing politics. I’m just clarifying, as you asked, all the ways our views differ fundamentally on these issues.

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