WORDS AND IMAGE: KATE WEINER
Like millions of Americans, I have woken up the last few days angry and anxious. We are living in a nightmare and it can be overwhelming to find the resolve to fight against this evil when every damn day brings with it a fresh horror—an executive order to resume the Dakota Access Pipeline, a freeze on grants to the EPA, a call to suspend funding to international organizations that provide access to abortions. It's surreal to have an administration in office that aggressively doesn't give a shit about its constituents.
But to be demoralized would give Trump what he wants—the more we live in fear, in helplessness, in sorrow, the more power we gift him. And I sure as hell am not going to do anything to make that money-grubbing monster feel at ease in the world. My will to activate change and willingness to pursue joy are radical acts of resistance.
So even though it can be very difficult, we have to fight. This means taking it day by day rather than spiraling into existential despair (I'm not always good at this, but I try). We have to remember that change always happens from the ground up. We are ungovernable. We are powerful. And we have proven that. Think back to earlier this month. What happened when the Republicans announced their intention to gut the Ethics Committee? Thousands of Americans phoned in to voice their rage and the Republicans dropped it. Trump might not give a fuck about our country—those who voted for him will be as screwed over as those who voted against him—but many of our Senators and Representatives do, if only because it will increase their likelihood of reelection.
Put pressure on our politicians. Restore power to the people. Honor intersectionality across movements. And bring the following actions into practice this very day to remind yourself of your wild, reckless, world-changing power.
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS
If you are afraid of what the completed construction of Keystone and DAPL will mean for us (because we are our environment) consider the ways that your everyday actions support the fossil fuel industry. Maybe you belong to a corporate bank with a vested interest in the destruction of water resources and the decimation of Native liberation. Maybe you buy many of your beauty products, medicines, food, and cleaning supplies in plastic packaging (plastic production keeps the fossil fuel industry afloat). Maybe you are continuing to pay your energy bill to a company that relies on a fossil fueled grid. Whatever it is, you can challenge your dependence on this toxic industry today. Here's how:
- DIVEST. Yes! Magazine has an excellent resource guide on where to move your money.
- GO TRASH-LIGHT. It's a simple and satisfying way to not only infuse your everyday with abundance, but also to weaken your reliance on fossil fuels.
- SUPPORT RENEWABLE. If you rent an apartment, consider signing up for Arcadia Power, a clean energy company that invests in wind and solar farms. In most cities, the energy powering the grid can be derived from multiple sources. Arcadia can ensure that a greater percentage of that energy comes from renewable sources.
- GIVE WEEKLY. Set up monthly donations to vital resources such as the NRDC, Planned Parenthood, 350, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. No amount of money is too little to give.
Put it in your planner every single day to call your State Senators and Representatives at 202-224-3121 (an operator will hook you up to the relevant office) to voice your dissent. Democratic AND Republicans alike need to hear from you. It takes two minutes to state your name, zip code, and reason for calling. This week, the attention will be on appointments. Ask your Democrats to do everything in their power to fight the confirmation of folks like Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos. And ask your Republicans to reconsider the ways that their support will drastically impact your state (Pruitt's plans for deregulation, for example, will worsen air quality and cause contamination in our precious waterways. This affects EVERYONE, regardless of affiliation).
If you weren't already, start having conversations with people in movements different than the ones you are in. The struggles and successes of Black Lives Matter, LGBTQI, Muslim, feminist, environmentalist, Latinx, and immigration activists are profoundly interwoven. We have to uplift, support, love, and listen to one another.
CREATE SPACE FOR JOY
This is a non-negotiable. Self-care is not selfish—you deserve to live a love-filled and luscious life, and you cannot let Trump take that away from you. Fight everyday. Wholeheartedly. But never fight without fitting in the time to hike in your hometown or share a meal with friends or spend a delicious evening making art.
Rage. Resist. Rest. That's all we can do. And we will do it.