Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do. My mother—a Republican, teacher, and badass lady told me that.
This election has been brutal and America needs a hug. It is clear now many Americans were hurting and took their anger into the voting booths. They heard someone say we need to fix Washington, attack Wall Street, protect the working class, make America great again.
And it sounded good.
But I am making therapeutic rebuttal. I am tossing in some documented facts. And then I am making soup.
Trump has threatened our First Amendment. Remember that one? The one that protects freedom of the press. Defends freedom of religion. Safeguards freedom of speech. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
He has called for a ban on Muslims entering the country and a relaxation of libel laws that help the press safely do their job. (Trump has sued, and lost, on similar libel suits in the past.) It is questionable whether he could actually get such laws passed as president. But it is still scary.
He has bullied throughout his campaign—calling people dummies, dopes, losers, grubby, stupid, and boring. In fact, there is a list of over 280 people, places, and things he has insulted ranging from Fox News to a podium in the Oval Office to Samuel L. Jackson. (He didn’t like the actor’s golf swing—“not athletic” enough for the fast food eating golf course owner.)
He has vowed to decrease the Environmental Protection Agency (proposed by Nixon, by the way) and dismantle laws intended to ensure clean water and air. He wants to give more regulatory power to the states, because it worked so well in Flint, Michigan, presumably.
And yet, he has already started to include the special interests he campaigned against into his White House transition team. Lobbyists from the oil and gas industry. Economists from Wall Street—remember Bear Stearns?
He has threatened the foundation on which our country was built. He has said things you would scold your seven-year-old from repeating. He has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And he does notrepresent the workingman.
He was given a million dollars from his father to help start his empire and admits this, but records from the eighties show additional loans from him totaling 14 million. Then again, he also managed to go bankrupt and not pay his taxes—which should raise eyebrows. A self-touted entrepreneurial billionaire who has not given back to his country and now vows to make it great again? This is the stuff snake oil is made of.
But, like it or not, he will be our president. So what can we do?
As Garrison Keillor advises, we liberal democrats can go drink craft beers, grow heirloom tomatoes, and meditate. And that all sounds pretty good.
But we can also try to smile more walking down the street. Hold elevator doors open. Bake cookies for neighbors. Be better role models. Continue to read newspapers. We can support local businesses. We can increase our NPR donations. We can make soup.
The soup I am discussing today comes from watching an ex-boyfriend—a hunter and New York Times reader—make a soup he learned from some Buddhists he once cooked with on the Cape. I hope I am remembering the story correctly. I never really understood why Buddhists would include a pound of ruminant flesh, but, if I am being honest, I think the addition is important.
The soup is spicy and flavorful—owing its depth, in part, to an aromatic dose of garlic, ginger, and hot pepper. The mushrooms are just as important as the meat. And the homemade whole wheat pasta dumplings are laidback in preparation and therapeutic to make in times like these. It has remained one of my favorite recipes, despite its peculiar origins. And it seems particularly consequential to share a few days after an election that has deeply divided the country.
We can’t change that we elected a con man. But as Bill Maher said Friday night, in reference to the half of the country that did not support Trump, “we’re still here.”
And we are bringing soup.
- 2 to 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 habenero, minced (see notes)
- 8 cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 to 2 cups peeled and chopped daikon (about 1 large)
- 1 bunch bok choy, stems and leaves, diced
- ¾ cup whole wheat or spelt flour