Last Friday was a tough day for me. I know I’m not alone in feeling disappointed and hopeless. This past year has been filled with shock and fear, and through the election cycle I thought he’ll never get the nomination, he’ll never win the election, he’ll never really be inaugurated. Well, here we are. It’s still so hard to process, and as rough as Friday (or honestly, this past year) was, I am so incredibly proud of the women across this country who participated in the women’s march on Saturday. I know that to most of us, this seems like a small consolation. To help process these feelings of desperation and loss, and to help us all move on, we have to find a way to continue on. These books may help.
It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis was the progressive voice of a generation. Not our generation, but one which faced similar challenges. The story charts the rise of a dictator, and the demise of democracy. It was written as satire, but still feels very current. It’s such a strong message, and a cautionary tale, calling us all to protect our democracy.
House of Cards – The book the TV show is based on is a behind the scenes look at national politics. The show takes a slight departure from the book, and I’m constantly wondering who the main characters are supposed to be based on. Part of the story is frightening – making it seem like there is no one in Washington politics who is honest. The main character is ambitious (and his initials just happen to be FU), stopping at nothing to get ahead. Sound familiar??
Hillbilly Elegy – This is one of the best books from 2016. To understand just how anyone might be interested in a Trump presidency, read this book. If the explanation of Trump’s win comes from the idea that there are average Americans – living in the “flyover” region of the country who don’t feel represented in national politics (or anything for that matter), this is the idea that this book represents. I would never have voted from Trump, but there’s still something so powerful in this message.
Between the World and Me – “Black Lives Matter” has become another political issue dividing our country. Unfortunately, while some within the African American community use this as a unifying and empowering statement, that their lives are just as important as anyone else’s, others criticize the movement and this slogan, in that it might suggest that not all lives matter. This is not the message at all – let us not forget that there still is real racism in this country.
We Should All Be Feminists – This is a really quick read, but it’s an important one. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote Americanah, which I really loved. This essay is based on a Ted talk that she did about feminism. Feminism isn’t just for women or about women, women’s rights are human rights. That’s her major argument here – and one that we all need to hear.
Undocumented – Undocumented immigrants seems to be the focus of every immigration policy. Could there be reoform? Yes. Dan-el Padilla Peralta was just that, an undocumented immigrant. Yet, he lived a real life, and succeeded despite his immigration status. This book challenges readers to look beyond that, and remember that these undocumented immigrants are people. People who are not worthless, people that may have something to positively contribute to society.
Let there still be hope. Let us start to heal. We will get through this, this is not really the first time the country has been so divided. We can work together. And though it seems that Trump isn’t interested in working together, we can!