Resolutions for the hopeful, and the Trumped
The questions loometh over 2017 like a plague of very despondent locusts: What can you do? How to steel yourself proper, lock your jaw, gird your loins, hold your ground and set your resolve against the coming Trump hatestorm, even as you remain fluxive in spirit and effective in action, calmly rejecting the impulse to jump off the nearest bridge of anthropocenic doom?
This much we must re-acknowledge: No matter the era, no matter the orange-faced, pussy-groping wolf pissing on everyone’s door, we must, the wise ones say, always resist. Fight the dogma. Aim for the light.
Why? Because the alternative is far worse. The alternative is only death.
Here, then, a quick, clip n’ go list of only mildly ominous resolutions for those who might feel, as I do, that the classic resolutions – eat better, exercise more, don’t kill things, et al – seem to lack sufficient… how do you say? Right: Karmic firepower.
For 2017, maybe try:
Facebook is finally doing it. Google and Twitter, too. The rich n’ poorly dressed gods of social media have finally agreed to more carefully discern real, credible news from the fake, the trustworthy from the idiot moron conspiracy. Way overdue, but at least it’s… something.
Did you hear that a huge percentage of Trumpites think Hillary’s ‘secret’ emails contain info about abortion farms and UFOs? Or that 52% of Republicans still think Trump won the popular vote? This is how dumb. This is how dangerous. Hereby resolve to flag all the idiocy you find, and never link to, retweet or repost anything, on social media or anywhere else, that hasn’t been vetted and cross-checked, Politifacted and Snoped by a human with a functional brain and intact soul. Tell your parents.
“There is no benefit in wrestling with pigs. You get dirty, and the pigs enjoy it.” George Bernard Shaw’s finest line could not be more relevant in the age of Twitter trolls, GamerGate rape-apologists and twitchy Trumpites who have been trained to believe compassion, empathy and intellectual curiosity are liberal STDs.
Time to (re)familiarize yourself with the “Block,” “Unfriend,” “Unfollow” and, perhaps most importantly, “Report abuse” features on all social media platforms, and use them freely and with delighted aplomb. After all, a blocked troll (or illiterate relative, or toxic old high-school pal) is a castrated troll.
Nothing, but nothing works as like humor – a wry wink, a carefully placed witticism, a sweet grenade of serene sarcasm – to deflect and/or infuriate the tiny-brained and the myopic. If you must occasionally engage with the darker forces eagerly dragging America into a karmic sewer, skip the facts (they reject those anyway), a try compassionate dismissiveness, served with a sly smile.
What, too lefty elitist? Bulls-t. In a land where rage and gleeful ignorance elected a tyrannical new king, savvy parody can help light the path to sanctuary.
Be not fooled: As Jamelle Bouie over at Slate reminds us, Trump is not as strong as he appears. The GOP is much loathed and deeply mistrusted, and their acidic, destructive agenda is more unpopular than ever. What’s more, despite all the Breitbart-drunk, neo-Nazi grunts to the contrary, America is actually turning far more liberal. It’s true.
It’s worth remembering all through 2017 and beyond that never has a new president gone into power with such low favorability, a smaller percentage of the popular vote, or less of a mandate from the people. And never has an incoming president been more virtually guaranteed to self-destruct, and take his party with him, than the turgid orange monster. Resolve to help him do so, any way you can.
Decapitate like Organa
Carrie Fisher often said what she loved most about playing Princess Leia, aside from Organa’s sharp-tongued feistiness (and hooking up with Harrison Ford), was that Leia got to kill – not coddle, not have a sympathetic conversation with, not try to understand the sadistic mental slitherings of – but straight-up kill Jabba the Hut, choking him to death on the chains of his own monstrous oppression. What’s more, she loved doing it.
Time to relocate and re-champion all feminist icons and heroes for 2017. Galvanize the goddess.
Sometimes a careful reconsidering of one’s own views and a thoughtful hearing-out of others’ positions is very much in order. And sometimes you need to choke that fat, authoritarian bastard to death on his own slimy megalomania to achieve imperial liberation. Hey, it’s what the princess would have wanted.
Weaponize your gratitude
It is no longer enough to be merely thankful for the bounty and the beauty of life. Too much is at stake, and that radiant bounty is being mauled by turgid demons.
Gratitude, in my yogic-infused world, is a verb. It’s an action you take every single day, a thing you do to make the world more luminous and your fellow humans more blessed. In other words, gratitude is no passive gesture – it’s a fiery ritual, a state of being, a way to move through, a thing you do despite the conservative forces that tell you to shut up, quit thinking for yourself and stop looking so goddamn ecstatic.
Please note: This mode of gratitude is far from easy, and usually requires daily, ritualized practice in the form of relentless intellectual fire, cultural engagement, deep compassion, vigilant protests, exercise, sex and bourbon and yoga and love and anything that isn’t organized religion or institutional oppression. While it’s far from easy, it sure is more needed than ever.
Re-champion the Goddess
To my reading, no other group in America was as devastated, as hurled into the regressive abyss this last election than progressive women. More than immigrants, more than Muslims, more than the black or LGBT communities, American women are about to undergo a savage, crushing reversal of much of the pro-feminist progress made in the last 50 years, to a degree it’s rather sickening to fathom.
From reversing Roe v. Wade to gutting women’s rights, from Trump’s groping support of rape culture to eliminating rules for equal pay and family leave, from defunding Planned Parenthood to undermining Title IX, the Trump era is to feminism what nuclear war is to organic farming. Miss no opportunity to support and re-ignite the intelligent feminine. I still believe the future is female, but, sadly, it’s going to take quite a while longer to get there.
Elevate your Obama
The finest, most gracious president in modern history is leaving office with stupendously high favorability ratings, deep international respect and near-universal admiration, combined with a powerful blank check to do whatever he likes in the near future to help us all find remedy for the imminent poisons of the Trump era. What’s more, Obama will soon be unfettered by the rules and limitations of public office, which means his powers to influence and inspire real change are about to expand exponentially.
History is going to be brutal to Trump, but downright radiant to Obama. In 2017, few things will irritate, if not hurl the leering orange monster into a another spittle-flecked midnight tweet-storm than reminding him of exactly this fact. Which is to say, by thanking, praising, listing all good of, and reminding Trump that he will never come anywhere close to the class, grace, success and historic intelligence – and indisputably poignant presidency – of Barack Obama. No matter how bad things get, we as a young, choleric country were blessed to have him.
There is miracle afoot. We remain the only species on the planet capable of mustering such fervent, such downright surprising amounts of hope and optimism each and every new year, despite the bleak headlines and the current tidal wave of fear. It’s nothing short of extraordinary.
Whether this curious human attribute will lead to our doom or our salvation remains up for debate. One thing we know: It might be all we have to cling to for a while. Is it enough? More importantly, what are you going to do with it?
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