On Holding Steady

ANONYMOUS: What is the fucking point anymore? Protests ended. People are becoming numb. No one cares to speak up anymore? Are we not going to fight?
COQUETTE: The point is to live. The point is to keep going. It's okay to let the vigilance mellow into something less acute. It's not about intensity anymore; it's about stamina. Dig in, hold fast, and keep a calm and constant pressure as the pendulum swings.

Sooo things are not great right now. We have a figurehead who blatantly ignores facts and lies to the public, prioritizes popularity over policy, nominated woefully unqualified candidates to staff his cabinet, is actually directing federal tax money to move forward on his plans to build a massive wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE ANGRY. 

GOOD.

Because as one (fictional) American President once said, "America isn't easy". And for some time now, we've forgotten about that. We've forgotten that the path to progress isn't a straight, paved road — it's rough, filled with valleys and peaks, quagmires, and bumps. We've forgotten that we cannot rest on our laurels — that keeping the rights and privileges we get to enjoy is a constant battle. And while I don't normally like taking on an alarmist tone, liberty is always under threat.

But that doesn't mean life as we know it is over. [If life was a Disney movie, this is probably the point where I'd break into song. But alas, it is not.]

I refuse to be apathetic. I'm gonna live. And goddammit, I'm gonna be kind. I will choose to be delighted, every. Day. When things get hard, art will be my god. I will find sanctuary in the works of writers and artists to make sense of complicated emotions. I will do my best to be intentional. I will avoid matching vitriol with venom. The anger and despair I feel after reading the latest news headlines? I won't allow them to wash over me. I will absorb it. I will tap into its reserves to contact my senators and representatives. I will go to more rallies. I will read more books and essays on conservative ideology. I will tell my mom I love her, even when she breaks my heart by parroting chyrons from Fox News.

Don't mistake my optimism for acceptance or delusion. I'm choosing to fight for tiny victories. Some fights aren't won by being the most intense or powerful person in the ring. Some fights are won simply by digging your heels in and holding steady. 

Hemingway knows what’s up. (via    Kottke   )

Hemingway knows what’s up. (via Kottke)


Further reading:

Hemingway's Cocktail for bad times is not only the alcoholic balm we need, it contains some of the most poetic prose I've ever seen in a recipe: 

Take a tall thin water tumbler and fill it with finely cracked ice.

Lace this broken debris with 4 good purple splashes of Angostura, add the juice and crushed peel of 1 green lime, and fill glass almost full with Holland gin...

No sugar, no fancying. It's strong, it's bitter — but so is English ale
strong and bitter in many cases. 

We don't add sugar to ale, and we don't need sugar in a "Death in the Gulf Stream" — or at least not more than 1 tsp. Its tartness and its bitterness are its chief charm. 

Proposed anthem of the resistance: when you're so angry and you gotta dance it out, I recommend Ariana Grande's "Be Alright". You laugh, but I dare you not to move during the chorus

"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite short stories by one of my favorite writers. It's never seemed more appropriate or poignant than ever.

CNN's Van Jones might be onto something here — there may be virtue in trying to understand how Trump operates. 

Good Magazine has put together a guide to coping and acting in a Donald Trump presidency. 

List of books to change a conservative or liberal's mind. I have The Righteous Mind by John Haidt as my next read. 

Originally published on January 26, 2017 at Alwaysatodds.com.