Going into this rant, I want to note that I was not, and am not, a Trump supporter. You know this if you read my election posts: I was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. You should also know that I was on the net in days when we elected Bush 43. I remember the rants on Usenet; I particularly remember the reactions in the 2004 election over on Livejournal. Back then, I used to think it was fun to make fun of President Bush with all of our “village idiot” memes. The good old days, so to speak. Since then, however, I’ve gained a bit more wisdom and perspective.
Then I read Facebook before heading off to work, and got disgusted. So much so, that this rant formed on the drive in and insisted on being written.
I am not saying we should quietly lie on our backs, spread our legs, and get fucked by the new administration (how’s that for graphic). H0wever, I don’t believe that spreading false news stories helps. For example, Trump is only trying to get his son-in-law cleared for briefings, not his entire family. We (that is, progressives like me) complained when the Trump side was spreading false stories and believing anything they read on the net about Hillary. Why are we so quick to do the same about Trump? We need to keep our mantra as “verify, verify, verify”. Many of these stories about Trump are overblown exaggeration, often spread by excessively political media or false news sites. Know which sites are real and which sites are not.
Fellow progressives: spreading false stories on Facebook — or even the funny Biden/Obama memes — does nothing to combat Trump or help those who will be vulnerable when he takes office. Actions speak louder than memes, and we need to be doing, not sharing:
- Physically write, call, and/or email your Congressional representatives, and let them know that nominating unqualified individuals is unacceptable. If those individuals are subject to Congressional approval, they should be turned down. If not, they should be calling on Republican leadership to stress the harm employment such individuals could bring to the country, and to appropriately encourage the President-elect to select someone else.
- As for individuals such as Bannon: Much as I would like to say “Don’t hire him because of his views”, would we want a person’s political views or religious views to prevent them from being hired? If the shoe was on the other foot, probably not. For such individuals, we need to press our Congressional representatives to stress to such nominees that one’s personal views must be set aside when they are in Government service, and they must work in the interest of the Nation, in accordance with the constitution and its values of equality, fairness, and justice for all. If they cannot do that — if they can’t separate the personal/religious from National responsibilities — they must be pressured to decline the position.
- We need to work to protect those most vulnerable, if we are in a position to do so. We need to let them know we have their backs — and then be there for them. We need to remind anyone harassing or threatening someone that Trump’s election has not changed the laws. Violence against others is not legal, nor is hate-oriented speech (except where constitutionally protected). We need to pressure our public service officials to enforce the law against *any* such speech/actions. We were doing this when we were battling for #BlackLivesMatter, so why should we stop now? Our law enforcement must be neutral in its enforcement: what is wrong is wrong, and having alt-right or equivalent views does not give one a pass, even with Trump’s election.
- We need to push to ensure the election results are correct. This does not mean pushing to have the electoral college follow the popular vote this election — that won’ t happen, and would create an even greater crisis if it did. However… we can press investigations of vote tampering, vote suppression, miscounts, etc. in those states where the election was closes and whose electoral votes are critical – WI, MN, PA, MI, NH, etc. While we can’t get the electors to follow popular vote, if we can discover sufficient fraud for a state to flip, that can make a difference. But there isn’t much time — this needs to be done before electors meet.
- We need to set an example. Protest is one thing. Vandalism during protest is something else. We should not let this turn us into thugs.
In short, instead of sharing false news and silly memes, we need to pressure Congress to do its job, and ensure the President-elect selects qualified advisors who are working in the interest of all the country, not their personal agendas. Given the lack of Government experience in our new leader, this is critical if we are all to survive, let alone succeed, in these times.
P.S.: Here’s a good article on how to really make a difference.