By Maggie Downs
- Gather your ingredients. You’ll need peanut butter, jelly, the bread of your choice, and a clean, sharp knife.
- Spread peanut butter evenly onto one side of the bread using your knife. Acknowledge the fact that the winner of our constitutionally legitimate but antiquated electoral process is a person who threatens democracy on a daily basis.
As Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress says on Medium, “To declare him illegitimate is to shake the foundations of the American system, but to fail to do so is to risk leveling those foundations to the ground.”
Our entire system is under assault. We must be clear about that.
- Wash your knife before dipping it into the jelly jar. Slow down, pay attention, remain alert. These thoughts pulse through your body so often they have become a mantra, suffusing even the mundanities of everyday life. Accept that resistance is a part of you now, because it has to be.
- Spread jelly evenly onto the other slice of bread. Strengthen your resolve. Defend journalists. Subscribe to newspapers and magazines. Do your own research. Read books and literature for valuable historical context. Call your elected officials and use your voice while you still have one. Learn from those in other countries. Defend facts.
“To abandon facts is to abandon freedom,” says Yale history professor Timothy Snyder in his guide to defending democracy. “If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle.”
- Press the two slices of bread together. Recognize that in order to prevent the next Donald Trump, we must find fierce leaders who are not just willing to reject the damaging policies from the last few decades, but those who will actively pass progressive legislation that furthers equality, strengthens civil liberties, and works to the benefit of every American, particularly those in marginalized groups.
- Cut the sandwich diagonally to form triangles. Enjoy! Know that without pushing the lever of justice forward, there is no victory. Without addressing the culture that brought us Trump, we are simply waiting for the next deranged figure to rise to power. Without hacking away at the roots of white supremacy, authoritarianism, and xenophobia, that toxic plant can bloom again.
- Hang on to the knife.
Maggie Downs a writer based in Palm Springs, California. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Today.com, and a 2016 Lonely Planet anthology of world’s best travel writing. She was a newspaper reporter for more than fifteen years and has freelanced for such outlets as Smithsonian, Outside, Palm Springs Life, and the BBC. Find her on twitter @downsanddirty.
Photo credit: K-B Gressitt ©2017