I asked 18 men I admire how they plan to deal with the enormous changes that we Americans will face when the new administration enters office. Here’s what they said:
David Assael, executive producer/co-writer Evan’s Crime, and writer on The Gangster Chronicles, Northern Exposure, Picket Fences: I plan on remaining fluid, flexible and slightly hopeful that Trump’s New York sensibility of fairness, diversity and respect for others that are different from us, kicks in. It probably won’t, but I can’t control his behavior, but I can control mine. I will continue to be a dreamer and optimist even if engulfed by darkness. I will do my best and try my hardest to assume the best about people until proven otherwise. I will always realize that to whomever I’m speaking, is not me. Therefore, I have to respect their individuality, uniqueness and originality and my profound connection to them as human beings.
Herman Bennett, diehard liberal with Bernie tendencies/musician: I’m in East TX right now (behind the Pine Curtain, some call it), visiting my girlfriend, whose birthday happens to fall on Inauguration Day. She has plenty of friends who are very nice folks BUT who voted for Trump. It’s sometimes a little difficult up here, 250 miles away from my home in Austin, out of [my] comfort zone in the bluest of the blue dots in Texas, trying to find the Venn diagram overlap.
Right now, I think it’s important to just go be nice to some folks….and campaign for progress. My girlfriend put it best, “I’m not going to turn away from people who voted for Trump and I’m not going to turn into the people who voted for Trump.”
Anonymous Bureaucrat– How I will cope with the change in American politics? Three words: Johnny Walker Black. I plan to liquidate my retirement account and use the proceeds to purchase gold bricks, a Hazmat suit, and a Smith and Wesson 45. One thing for certain is that it will be advantageous to learn how to speak Chinese, if not comprehensively, then at least enough to be able to say, “Take it easy with the bayonet, bro. Pokin’ me with that thing won’t make this assembly line move any faster.”
Itzik Cohen, clothing manufacturer: My overwhelming feeling, at the moment, is multi-faceted anger. Because I am an American citizen, I’m angry at the demise of our moral and fundamental state of mind and shocked that this country could elect someone as illogical and unprepared as Trump. As an Israeli citizen, I’m appalled at the current administration’s recent stance on Israel and its settlements. All of this has caught me by surprise and left me with a sinking feeling. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what changes I will make forthcoming, but check back with me in a few months and I’m sure I’ll have an opinion
Bernardo Cubria – I’m a writer. I was born in Mexico. I’m married and I want to start a family. All of these are reasons I am reacting to this election. I’ve sadly spent most of my life as a passive member of society. Sure, I would donate here and there, volunteer once a year, but mostly I would just enjoy my privilege. The one positive that came out of this election is that it kicked my ass into service. I started a podcast about action, called What Can I Do? I joined my local chapter of the DNC and I am will be working with POPS every single week. I hope the energy from this election makes us all more active. We have to fight this. We have to.
Mike Davis, angry skeptic: For the first time in my life, I’m trying to find a way to up my activism. I’ve been reading so much now, more than I’ve ever read so I know more. So, I can gain control. I’m a big believer that when you have a conversation with someone you don’t agree with, you need to be prepared. I’m also liquidating myself from the stock market. It feels sickening to profit off what is going on. With the market going up after Trump won. That should tell you where corporate America stands. Plus, I’m heavily researching living off the grid options.
Dan Duling, Echo Park playwright: The 2016 election and the ugliness leading up to it left me devastated, awake in the middle of the night ever since composing rants I’ll never post, struggling to cope with a sense of outrage, embarrassment, and hopelessness that intensifies as 2017 looms. I’ve already become more politically active than I’ve ever been, signing petitions, making calls, all the while knowing it’s not enough. Most of all, I worry about the attacks on a free and fact-based press, on FACTS as something of value. If called to march, I will (and can’t imagine it won’t be required.) Bottom line, I will not be quiet; I will NOT normalize; I will not validate the orchestrated destruction of American democracy. If I hold out a single hope it is that the Republicans, famous for their inability to actually DO ANYTHING, will fumble along pointing fingers of blame, postponing, enriching their already too rich backers while making grand gestures but not actually getting anything done. But that’s a very faint hope at best.
Gary Dumm, cartoonist/writer: I’ll be redoubling my artistic efforts to make up for my complacency and overly optimistic hopes about the 2016 election. My activism in 2017 and beyond will be in the utilization of my art in loyalty to preserving the environment and the fundamentals of American democratic institutions. The new president, whose words and cabinet hires appear in stark contrast, if not direct opposition, to those fundamentals, will have to prove his loyalty or even his interest in them to me.
Chaim Dunbar, husband, performing artist and creative activist: I am co-producing and co-hosting a talk show called Food for Thought that brings together people with opposing political and world views over a meal at restaurants and dinner tables around the country to show that Americans of all political persuasions can come together and break bread while having civil conversation.
Mark Gozonsky, high school teacher, writer: I’m working with an action group formed by Educators 4 Excellence to support students and families currently covered by the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act . That’s because so many of my students face an immediate threat of deportation. I’m also working with my seniors on developing the Los Angeles Museum of Ohio, so we can better understand our country east of Vegas. In general, I’m seeking like lots of people to make alliances and sustain energy for the many waves of action the times require.
Evan Halperin, resister: As a concerned father, I intend to spend my precious free time organizing the resistance to Donald Trump. Working with the Resistance Party, my goal is to impress upon people the need for constant pressure on our president and media to hold Trump accountable. Leadership should no longer be based along party lines, but instead, preventing our country from becoming a beacon of white nationalism and hate.
Garth Hammers, classic car sales: I’d like to find a way not to bury my head in the sand and not to just be someone yelling with a sign in my hands. I think we need to get organized.
Philip L, LA city employee, I don’t have a well-thought-out life strategy or orientation towards this thing we’re gonna be dealing with starting in a few weeks. Interestingly enough, I’m not afraid. Maybe I should be because as unprepared as I am for what lies ahead, Donald Trump is a billion times more unprepared. And the truth is, I’m actually pretty well prepared. We’ve been doing a lot of disaster planning in my office, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see a side of my colleagues I didn’t know existed. We’re all committed to resisting this and to making Los Angeles a model of decency, inclusivity, and forward-thinking values. Progress only occurs through struggle and pain. In the end, Donald Trump may very well end up being the best thing that ever happened to LA and California more generally. I’m cautiously hopeful.
Mark Miller, cautiously optimistic writer: I plan to become more political and politically aware in terms of supporting candidates who oppose Trump and his policies, and causes that do the same—environmental, the arts, etc. Some of my activity will, of course, need to be on a wait-and-see basis because Trump hasn’t acted on the issues yet and once he does, we won’t immediately know the results and their time frame. For example, I assume he’ll be torpedoing Obamacare, which would affect me, but the questions are what will replace it, and when? Just about everyone I know is depressed about Trump’s election, so obviously I and my friends and family don’t speak for the Heartland! Still, I’m hoping that at least some of Trump’s policies will benefit America and Americans other than the very rich and business owners—but I’m not counting on it.
Jeremy Robins, filmmaker, educator, and director of the Echoes of Incarceration Project, in Brooklyn NY: In 2017 I’m planning to: 1. get much more involved in political action than I ever have, 2. spend more time getting out of my media bubble, and 3. start hosting monthly pizza gatherings of politically active friends to talk, debate, divide up research projects, and keep each other motivated.
Antonio Sacre, 10th best storyteller in his family: Listen, first to understand, count to three, then speak. (For my career, my marriage, my kids, my cat, and my friends. And strangers).
Eric Schwartz, singer/songwriter: One thing I intend to do is to do a whole bunch of art about Trump and what is going on. Just continue to hold his feet to the fire, will be a bit of a gadfly. Also, brandnewcongress.org is interesting. It’s a campaign to run 400+ non-politician candidates for Congress in 2018. It would be great to flip the house. The more that can be done to hold the Republican stranglehold to two years the better.
Cheke Whitfield, actor: I found nothing to vote for this year, so I took a hands off the wheel approach months ago. I still feel that way. The election results aren’t going to impact my daily life. All I can do is handle what’s in front of me. What happens at the top will happen regardless of what I do. The president doesn’t matter; I matter. Individuals matter. Families matter. The people matter. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it will continue to be on January [twenty-first.] This election and the pitiful choices we had only make that reality clearer to me than ever before.
To other good men and good women: what, if any, changes or actions are you planning to make to deal with America’s new political landscape?
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