What can we do to mend our broken country? We turn to social media, make our profile photos black. We mourn, listening to Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash on vinyl in a dim room with candles flickering, casting shadows on the walls. We protest, taking the streets by storm by the hundreds of thousands, plodding across the pavement, forlorn and disheartened, frustrated and angry. We are outraged and embarrassed. We are fucking pissed off. We feel robbed, betrayed. We are helpless, paralyzed with fear and fury. We write letters and call our local senators, pleading with them. We beg for a solution, for someone with some fucking common sense to take a stance. Someone to just be reasonable. But who can help? We’ve dug our grave. Where are Beyonce and Jay-Z now?
What can we do but submit to our new overlord? He, who knows no discretion, no decency. He, who has no remorse. He, who wants to build a wall and hire bouncers for our borders.
We can hate each other, point fingers, throw around words like ignorant and uneducated. It was them, they did it and they don’t understand the consequences. He is the enemy, not their mascot, but they’re too dumb to even understand that. Racist, classist, sexist. We shake our heads in utter disbelief. We can literally not comprehend the news. It’s gut wrenching, nauseating, disgusting.
And what can we do? Divided we stand, divided we fall. One nation under God. Oh, god.
We can watch Seinfeld reruns. We can scan the headlines. We can read the comments. We can blast Bruce Springsteen. We can quote song lyrics and poems, we can repost inspirational slogans written in pretty fonts. We can be mad about the polls. Those inaccurate statistics, that false sense of security. We’ve been duped. We got played. We can be resentful, we can hold grudges, have regrets and say “I told you so.” Will that mend our broken country?
We can continue to be kind, to treat one another with respect, to read books and make weird art. We can see live music and dance until we’re sweaty and out of breath. We can bake cookies from scratch. We can ride our bicycles. We can bask in the sunshine on our front stoop and make faces at the neighbor’s cat. We can call our parents, tell them we love them. We can eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s and watch Stephen Colbert in our underpants. We can roll our eyes and sigh loudly. We can be cynical and sarcastic and shitty, but all in moderation. We can go to the aquarium and look at the sharks. We can have a good, hard cry in the shower. We can read Shel Silverstein poems and be nostalgic for our childhood. And we can watch cartoons. We can rant and we can rave. We can toss our heads back and howl at the moon. We can hug our loved ones tight, and even tighter still. We can write in our journals and go to our yoga classes and try to meditate, find that fucking moment of zen. We can watch Rob Zombie movies and Joss Whedon programs. We can climb mountains, walk in the woods. We can book a flight, plan a vacation and look forward to sipping stiff rum drinks with flashy garnishes on the beach in the not so distant future. We can Google search “how to immigrate to Canada.” We can make empty threats. We can withdraw all of our savings and bury the cash in a super secret location.
We can stick together. We can prevail. We can and we will. Take your time coming to terms with reality and once it all sets in, drink a pot of coffee and smash a watermelon with a rubber mallet in your backyard. Get a pedicure. Plant a fucking tree. Adopt a puppy.
Beneath our cloak of melancholy and doom, there is still goodness. Look again. Remember? While we stand divided, we are still standing. Hang in there, and mind your posture. Because the world is watching. And we need to remind them that he isn’t us. What he is and what he represents is ugly. It’s bad. It’s disagreeable, unbecoming and wrong. It’s sour.
But we are still sweet.