O Angelina

A Girl and Her Dog: Living, Loving, & Enjoying the Little Things

What can we do anyway?

Angelina OberdanComment

I spent most of last night bemoaning our country. I am so worried about what Trump might do. Prior to the inauguration, I was confident; I just kept reminding myself that this is America, we have a system of checks and balances, our democracy is solid, we all support the Constitution.

When Dan told me about one of Trump’s most recent executive orders, and I just started yelling, “He cannot do that. That’s not possible. That violates the Constitution.” Oh but he did.

And then I read another article comparing these chess moves Trump’s been making to fascism. I’ve read all the seminal texts about the holocaust, about how people could go along with it, and I kept looking back to those essays and to the historical fiction written about World War Two, and I couldn’t focus on anything but the atrocities.

Would this happen in my world? Would I be able to do anything? In this fear, I felt so small, so inadequate; my life seems so little. What can I possibly do to that will really affect anything meaningfully? Why didn’t what I’ve been doing—teaching college students to read and write and think—work? Should I have done more? If I could have, what? If I should do more, what?

So I decided to redirect. Here’s what I’m going to do:

  1. Follow the Women’s March 100 actions in 100 days. Here's the link; you can do it, too. 
  2. Add toughness to my new year’s resolutions: kindness, mindfulness, and toughness. Because being kind and mindful might not be enough right now. 
  3. Keep writing.
  4. Keep reading everything. I just don't know any other way to be conscious and empathetic. 
  5. And remember this: "... all can dedicate themselves to restoring the qualities upon which this republic, like all republics depends: on reverence for the truth; on a sober patriotism grounded in duty, moderation, respect for law, commitment to tradition, and knowledge of our history, and open-mindedness" (Eliot A. Cohen - link to full article is below). 

Here are two more links that helped to put all of this in perspective: