Yes, wear a shirt with a slogan on it. Yes, put a bumper sticker on your car. Yes, flood your social media feed with your outrage. Fine. All of those are fine, and necessary, and good.
But also: Call your senator. Call your congressperson. Call your governor. Call your alderperson, your city councilperson; your mayor; your sheriff’s office. Really call them. On the phone. Do it right now. Whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Ask them, live or by voicemail, not only to speak out against the Trump administration’s savagery, but to oppose it, officially, to vote against it and act against it and refuse to participate in implementing it. Tell them, explicitly, that you and your friends and loved ones will vote for literally anyone who runs against them in their next campaign if they do anything less than oppose, in word and deed, every single part of the Trump administration’s agenda. All his appointments. All his executive orders. Everything.
Show up at a protest. These are happening at pretty much every international airport in the United States right now; they also are happening at places like the White House and the U.S. Capitol and outside Trump hotels and outside city halls and state legislatures and in wide public squares all across the country. You can get to one. Make a sign or don’t. Show up and yell, or show up and stand among the other protesters but don’t yell, but show up.
Sign petitions. Donate to protest groups and humanitarian organizations and legal aid groups and the ACLU, which at the moment is all of the above and more. Talk to your neighbors; literally knock on their doors and ask to talk to them about what is happening in the United States and what you can do together to resist it. Write down the telephone numbers—not the email addresses, not the URLs of Contact Your Congressperson web forms to fill out, the telephone numbers—of your elected officials, and ask your friends and relatives and neighbors to please, please, just make one awkward five-minute phone call. Some of the conversations will be uncomfortable; some of your friends and relatives and neighbors will not want to be bothered or will look at you in your fervor and see a sweaty earnestness they find off-putting for reasons they cannot quite pin down. It’s okay. You have other friends and relatives and neighbors. Some of them will pick up the phone.
Between the people who voted for his opponents and the ones who did not vote at all, something like 75 percent of all voting-age American adults did not vote for Donald Trump. Some additional number of voting-age American adults voted for Donald Trump but did not really expect (or want) him to win, or wanted him to win but have found themselves dismayed and/or horrified by his presidency, just in its first days. We can convince each other of the gravity of this moment. We can work together. We can resist.
Resist. It won’t make you a liberal, a dirty communist, a radical, an activist, a hippie; it won’t contradict your patriotism; it won’t put you in league with America’s enemies. You can go right on despising Prius drivers, or neoliberals, or socialists, or dweebs who care about politics, or whoever; you can keep on bearing your tribal resentments down the road forever, not when you’re done resisting but while you’re doing it. You can still be you. But: Resist. Be all that you have been, but be an enemy to what is being done to your country. Now. Today. Outside of yourself. However you can.
No help is coming from outside. No one else can fix this. We are all we have. Resist. This is the moment. There may not be another one.