By: Amber Leventry
I just called the D.C. office of Representative Peter Welch, my Vermont Congressman. I spoke with a lovely young man and asked him to relay my thanks and support to Mr. Welch for his co-sponsorship of H.R. 669. The description of the bill is this: “To prohibit the conduct of a first-use nuclear strike absent a declaration of war by Congress.” In other words, it would prevent any president from launching a nuclear attack without Congress approving. In a few more words, it would keep Trump’s illogical fingers off of the red button. I did this as part of my daily action to resist the disgusting lack of professionalism, empathy, and intelligence coming from the White House.
As I watch Trump sign one executive order after the next, I am appalled at how quickly and forcefully he is undoing the moral fabric of our nation. In the name of security, jobs, and tighter budgets, he is burning bridges to allies; he is freezing federal funds to important programs that support minorities, women, and the arts; he is silencing scientists and facts by putting a gag on the Environmental Protection Agency. And when he speaks, he lies. When he speaks, he speaks only of himself and will only praise the people who agree with him. The people who agree with him are either too power hungry to care, too blind to their own privilege and racism, or too uneducated to know fact from fiction.
In his ABC interview with David Muir, Trump called his critics fools, he continues to insist on voter fraud despite a lack of evidence, and his favorite picture in the White House is of the crowd groveling at his feet on the day of his inauguration. Like a true narcissist, his favorite picture is the one of him being cheered on and admired; his self-esteem fueled by misplaced praise rather than integrity.
My anger is mixed with helplessness. I vote. I advocate. I try to understand other perspectives. Yet Donald Trump is not only the president, but a president I am refusing to acknowledge as my own. I try to keep fear at bay while telling myself that, so far, my life hasn’t changed. As I sit here in the progressive state of Vermont, my same-sex marriage is still federally recognized. My kids are still safe. My transgender daughter is still equal to her peers. My rights and way of life has not been changed by this new president. But my rights are not enough. I am also a woman and a human being who expects all human rights to be respected, no matter where we are from, how we identify, or what religion we bow our heads to.
I cannot stay inactive while humanity suffers, because while the changes that are being made might never directly impact my life, they will impact my children’s lives. An ugly tone is being set in our country, one where religion, racism, and xenophobia are being used to discriminate, one where misogyny is accepted as the norm, and one where the value of money is more important than the quality of life. I am raising my children to go against these beliefs, but will they spend their adult lives fighting to fix the damage Trump will do if allowed to continue on this path?
I don’t understand when people claim we should take care of our domestic problems before we help the world. We can do both. At the same time. Taking in a refugee family looking for freedom, work, and a way to keep their kids safe is the most American thing we can do. It’s how America started. We can take care of our own problems by ending the stigma of mental illness, tightening gun laws, and stopping the cycle of abuse passed down from one generation to the other. We can stop throwing our LGBTQ youth to the streets. Refugees are not making our streets unsafe, our arrogance and phobias are.
I am doing my part when and where I can, but it doesn’t feel like enough. Tweeting and sharing posts feels good, but I need to use my voice too. I expect my fears will turn into reality soon enough, so I have decided to make one phone call a day to thank the leaders in D.C. who are standing up and against Trump. I will also call the leaders who are for Trump’s damaging policies and let them know about my unhappiness. I don’t know if it will make a difference, and there is probably more I could be doing. But for now, this is part of my plan for resistance.
Please tell me yours.
If you want more information on how to be a part of the resistance, check out these websites for daily actions:
Photo Credit: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images