Saturday, January 14, 2017

Books for the Inauguration

My five-year-old granddaughter said to me the other day, "I watched Donald Trump on television when my mommy wasn't looking." Like she was watching porn or something!. This is an extremely sad state of affairs when a five-year-old isn't in awe of the president-elect or respectful of the office.

In this inauguration week, I want to highlight two new books I received from the publishers that speak to what I am feeling and what many in this country appear to be feeling. 

What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump's America

Edited by Dennis Johnson and Valarie Merians
Melville House   2017
224 pages     Nonfiction/Politics

Leading liberal and progressive voices speak to the chaos brought about by the election and now the inauguration of Donald Trump in the book of essays, What We Do Now. For example, in one essay,  David Cole, the legal counsel for the ACLU asserts that because Trump was elected, we must now hold him accountable. He says, "But if we now and for the next four years insist that he honor our most fundamental constitutional values, including equality, human dignity, fair process, privacy, and the rule of law, and if we organize and advocate in defense of these principles, he can and will be contained." 

There are essays by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Gloria Steinem, Dave Eggers, Cornell Brooks and many others, each essay discussing some aspect of American freedom and a blueprint for how to move forward. Progressivism, as we well know, has been dealt a huge blow, and progressives all over the country are still stunned two months after the election. These essays provide tremendous food for thought on how we can and must proceed.
My favorite is an essay by author George Saunders called The Braindead Megaphone, which comes from a book by the same name. (By the way, many of the pieces in the book have been published elsewhere.) He says,
"Then a guy walks in with a megaphone. He's not the smartest person at the party, or the most experienced, or the most articulate. But he's got that megaphone." And people listen.

Every essay is appropriate and thought provoking.

The Trump  Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You
Hoped Would Never Happen.
by Gene Stone
Day Street Books     2017
208 pages     Nonfiction/Politics

In The Trump Survival Guide, Gene Stone gives liberals and progressives a call to action for the next four years. He begins with an historical guide to the actions of ineffective presidents of the past, and offers concrete solutions to  help those of us in despair to find ways in which we can actively be watchdogs to hold Trump and his administration accountable for the decisions that will be made in the next four years.

Stone looks at important policies of the country through several lenses—the history of the policy, what President Obama did regarding the policy, what President Trump might do, and what the average citizen can do to support, and in some cases save,  the policies that are important to them. He discusses civil rights, the economy, education, women's rights, immigration, the environment and several others. The chapters that interested me the most personally were the chapters on education, immigration, and women's rights. I particularly liked all the contact information that individuals can use to become active advocates for the policies that are most important to them. 

As for me, I am going to continue to be actively involved in immigration reform and women's rights. My little five-year-old granddaughter and her mother are going with me to the rally in Lansing, Michigan on the day after the election. My daughter, step-daughter and teenage granddaughters will be in Washington. We cannot remain silent.

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