How Do We Respond?

signs, lemonade, Jackson St., reflectors, arrow

We’re lucky, we Americans, to have a Constitution with a system of checks and balances. When that system is threatened, I’m threatened. If our government can violate a treaty with Native Americans, it can drill for oil under my home, too. If our government can force Muslims to register, it can force atheists to register, or Christians, or Jews, or Buddhists, or Sikhs. If our government can build a wall along the Mexican border and overtax Mexican goods, not only can I no longer afford avocados, tomatoes or even flowers, but the government can build walls anywhere in the country and overtax anyone and anything.

What can I do in the face of this rampaging monster?

Join the resistance (check).
March and demonstrate whenever possible (check).
Attend rallies and town halls (check).
Write to and call my representatives in Congress (both of whom happen to agree with me) and the Senate (one of whom doesn’t always obey me). (check).

And I can create art. Loudly and in the subtlest of ways, art is a response. Even if I ignore politics, simply writing the story I want to write is saying whatever the hell I want to say. The way I depict my characters is a response. Their relationships, professions, even their clothes are a response. Do they go to church? Do they go to therapy? Are they rich? Middle class? Poor? Do they have kids? Are they white, mixed, black, brown? Do they speak English? All of that is a response.

Lately I’m less afraid to speak up than I’ve ever been. Am I older, or just angrier? I know only that it’s more important than ever. Screw political correctness, it feels good to say what I feel. People who know more about politics than I do are doing a great job of writing about the news, and I’d rather read their work than write my own on the subject. My response is mine. It’s humor, it’s fiction, it’s the Wilma Dialogs and it’s the novel I’m writing. I get to do that here in America, and I’ll be damned if you don’t get to do it, too.



  1. Chris - February 24, 2017 @ 07:38

    Ditto!! But then I wonder if there will come a day if persons like who is our ‘supposed leader’ will take away the freedom of speech. It seems he has his own checklist. It’s a checklist w/ no regard to people. I believe if he continues it will blowup and that will be my happy day

    • Petrea - February 24, 2017 @ 10:05

      That’s what I’m counting on, Chris. The resistance is too strong. Don’t give up. Keep writing, keep taking photos, keep telling the truth as you see it.

  2. William Kendalls - February 24, 2017 @ 11:29

    That’s something as a writer I’m considering as I go through my own work- it’s a different genre, espionage fiction, but do I rewrite the American president entirely or make it clear that the unnamed individual is a Democrat?

    The man himself is a repugnance. In the long run, he might well be a lesson learned- never vote for someone like this.

    • Petrea - February 24, 2017 @ 12:39

      William, you get to write it however you choose. Philip Roth wrote an alternative history with Charles Lindbergh (Nazi sympathizer) as the American president. Thanks for caring about us, we need your words, your brain, your attention.

  3. Lowell - February 24, 2017 @ 11:31

    The situation gets worse every day. The number of egregious errors and orders given out by the scum that currently make up our government is mind-boggling. Why the hell would “normal” people wave Russian flags at a Trump rally? What is happening now in this country is so far from what I assumed the US was all about I cannot comprehend it. I’m angry and totally frustrated and don’t know what to do except keep writing. I have a blog consisting of political and anti-religious commentary that I’m going to be using as part of the resistance more and more as time goes on. (Contextual Criticism:

    Keep on keeping on!

    • Petrea - February 24, 2017 @ 12:42

      I like you more and more every day, Lowell. Keep at it, keep speaking the truth. I don’t think of Russian people as our enemy, but I do think of Putin that way, and I’m surprised to see Trump’s fans so ready and willing to sell out our democracy. I believe we are the majority, as long as we speak out. We’ve been quiet and polite too long.

  4. Shelley - February 24, 2017 @ 21:17

    I can only begin to imagine what it feels like there, Petrea. I love your proactivity. It’s healthy and strong. Thank heavens people aren’t going gently into that good night. I wonder where it will all go …

    • Petrea - February 25, 2017 @ 07:38

      It feels powerful and safe here in California, a state full of liberals. But I’m hearing from friends around the country that they are angry and empowered. Who knew that such an awful “president” would galvanize the people in such a positive way?

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