On the morning of November 10, 2016, the first thing I did when I woke up was listen to the Beatles’ Revolver.
The Beatles have a knack of articulating nearly every feeling that exists in the world. When Revolver released, it marked a progression for the group. It was the album in which the Fab Four decided to take apart everything they knew about music and each other and come together to experiment, fail, experiment further, and create something the world hadn’t heard before. Revolver was created at a time when they were disenchanted with the state of affairs. They had lost touch with themselves behind a façade of Beatlemania and wanted a change. So they banded together, focused the fuck out of what they wanted, and sparked something new.
I’ve listened to this album on repeat, thinking about how strange everything is. I, like many others, feel devastated. I’ve spent the last week in paroxysms of tears, rage, dismay, and looking at one-way flights to Europe. It’s felt like a bad breakup, or worse, a death—a death to democracy and of our bond to this country. I’ve felt a growing dissonance between who I am—a woman of color with immigrant parents—and the person who now is supposed to represent me, represent us. It hurts. It actually physically hurts.
It’s been a long week of grief and urgency and trying to reconcile the two in a way that doesn’t end in prolonged crying. I’ve wanted to do more, but in all honesty, I realized that first I had to ache. I had to ache for the lost future, for the people all over the country who’ve struggled to find their place here. I had to mourn for my misconceptions that disallowed me from leaving my Bay Area bubble. In San Francisco and most of California, I’ve thrived in our shared zest for liberalism. But we are only one piece of a country of millions, many of whom have vastly different views, which have been clearly played out.
And now I am here. I am here in a country that is hurting—which is okay, because pain is what makes us Real. I’m here in a country of tragedy—but only if we let it persist as such. I am here in a country that is going to have to fight—to prove that he is not us. I am here not to break up with America, but to help put it back together.
There is an enormous number of things to do. So many in fact, that it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s a syncretism that will take weeks, months, and years to forge. That’s how progress works. It will take time, and it will take constant awareness and action. Here are a few things that I’ve found to be extremely helpful in my push to move forward:
Donate to Planned Parenthood. This is likely to be defunded because he is pro-life.
Donate to PP locations in Southern states. These regions will need the money more than blue states. Look up their locations and get in contact on how to direct your funds there.
Learn about various causes. This article is a great place to start. It covers some basics on immigration, women’s rights, climate change and more.
There are 20 things he said he wants to change. Read through them and begin picking your battles.
Go through the various organizations that delve into these causes. Pick one (or two, or three) to get behind.
Check out the Center for American Progress.
Get involved. There are many ways to do this. This is a good starting point.
Ask questions. To yourself, to your friends, and most importantly, to people outside your network. Understand their perspective that you can explain yours.
Take 2 hours every week to educate yourself. We all have this time. Use it.
I remember when birth control became free for women. I remember when my mom became a US citizen with pride for this country. And I also remember every single time I’ve been harassed on the street by people calling me Pocahontas or Little Miss India. I remember being scared to leave my apartment because a guy downstairs said he’d give me a hundred dollars to grab the panties off of me. I remember being told I shouldn’t swim or cook because I was a girl. I remember living without a job and without health insurance, and still realizing how fortunate I am compared to many others around me.
Life is hard, and it is unpredictable. It is sad and cruel and disheartening. It is full of obstacles. And it is from these obstacles that we need to find resilience. It will be difficult, and we will suffer, but we earn our souls through suffering, and we survive. The Beatles sang, listen to the color of your dreams, and as usual, they were right. Because at the end of the day, he’s not going anywhere. And so neither are we.