What Have We Become?

I want to start this post by pointing out that I am not a Trump suppporter. My posts over the last year should have made this clear: I do not support the man, I did not vote for him, and I sincerely wish the election had gone a different way. I also note that it is sad I must make that particular point in so much of what I say.

But that said.

What have we become?

I mean, seriously, what have we become?

I was reading through Facebook this morning, and across my various groups and pages I’m seeing the following:

  • “Rosie O’Donnell tweets “F*CK U” to Paul Ryan – Internet explodes in laughter.
  • “Michelle Obama, we thank you for the inspiration you’ve been. We’re going to need it as we get through this crazy time in our world – not just our country…”
  • Office of Government Ethics – Donald Trump nominees not properly vetted
  • Keith Olbermann Finally Says What Nobody Else Will Say About Trump. Keith Olbermann is willing to go all the way to take a stand against our country’s unconscionable choice for 45th President where others haven’t.
  • The Most Extreme Party Coalition Since the Civil War
  • A Nobel Economist Just Compared Trump To Hitler
  • Let’s Impeach Him Now: The Case for Preparing for the End of Trump’s Presidency Before It Even Begins
    The president-elect has already committed criminal offenses. Democrats can’t let them slide.
  • “We have to throw everything at this. This man is slightly unhinged,” Michael Moore said of the president-elect.
  • Breitbart Just Got Caught–And Slammed–For Making Up A ‘News’ Story
  • Why we need to fight Trump, every inch of the way!

These are just some of the headlines – the one I could cut and paste. The visual memes are similar. I am sure, that if you are liberal as I am, that you have seen similar things on your news feed.

Here’s the problem: Change references to Trump to references to Obama, references to Obama to references to someone like Reagan, references to right-wing media to the New York Times, and references to Democrats to Republicans.  Now go back in time two years. Wouldn’t you think you were reading one of the pages from the right-wing, rabid anti-Obama foamers that we made so much fun of? That we looked on as part of the problem?

Much as this may be fun and laugh inducing, we do not win if we adopt the tactics of those we hated. Utilizing hyperbole at every chance, fighting and impeding the work of government at every get-go, demonizing at every opportunity. This only increases partisanship, makes it harder to move forward and have effective government, and makes us seem as idiotic as the Republican anti-Obama folk did during the Obama administration. It is the way children act, and aren’t we better than that?

But, you insist, I hate this President. I can’t stand him personally, or anything he and his party stands for.

I hear you. But hear yourself. They were saying the same thing about Obama. That’s not how we move forward and break the cycle.

Much as we may hate it and find it hard to do, we need to treat the President-elect as we wanted (and we want, for the next two weeks) the other side to treat Obama during his Presidency. Not to unquestioningly agree or roll over, but to respect the office even if you disagree with the man. Not to object to everything, but to pick the worthwhile battles. Not to blanket block and obstruct, but to follow the laws and insist that the other side does.

It is hard to do. I so want to make fun of Trump and his administration — it is such an easy target. But am I an adult, or am I a child? Am I behaving like those whom I abhorred?

Someone has to be adult enough to break out out of this cycle we’ve been in since Bill Clinton was first elected. Our current incoming President makes it so hard, but I can guarantee that the rabid Republicans said the same thing just prior to Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

I don’t know the answer, but behaving like those we thought were childish is not it.

P.S.: Over on the Facebook comments on this, a friend referenced Jim Wright’s Stonekettle Station: Resolutions. It says something similar, and my reactions was “Yes, Yes, Yes.”. Read it. Follow it. Live it.


What, Me Worry? | What? Me Worry!

userpic=trumpMy 57th year starts concurrently with the term of President Trump? Should I be worried? Here is some news chum related to the subject:

  • The Power of the President. There are some out there worried that Trump may attempt to abuse his power. But what power does the President have, in reality. Just ask President Obama. A Vox article reports that he didn’t realize how limited the Presidency was until he became President. The article notes that, on a great many issues, the president isn’t the policy-wonk-in-chief, he’s the coalition-builder-in-chief. And without a strong enough coalition, he can’t get his way. This is true on issue after issue — from gun control to the cap-and-trade bill to immigration reform. In terms of actually getting things done — and especially in terms of creating large shifts in policy — the path will be slow. Of course, there’s always Twitter, where Trump is a master of creating problems. Just ask Lockheed Martin.
  • The Power of the Courts. There’s another roadblock in the way of Trump’s excesses: The court system. The LA Times has an interesting article on how the court system will serve to restrain Trump. Georgetown law professor David Cole, who in January will become the ACLU’s national legal director, said he is “optimistic the courts will stand up against abuses of power” in the Trump era, citing the courts’ moderating impact on “war on terror” following the 9/11 attacks. For many executive orders, the courts have limited their application or applicability (even under Obama). Further, the courts tend to preserve constitutional rights once granted, and tend to hold with precedence.
  • The Power of the Shul. One thing many people didn’t realize was that no matter who won the election, Clinton or Trump, there would be a Jewish In-Law in the White House. In this case, it is Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump — and the two of them are shul shopping. Once we get past the point that, no, this isn’t shoe shopping :-), there is a serious question. Many Jews supported Clinton; more overall than Trump. Can politics be left at the shul door? This is something I often face — we have many Trump conservatives in our Synagogue’s Men’s Club (in fact, we’ve had a similar political chain: I (a Clinton/Obama Liberal) termed out as MoTAS President, and my replacement is a strongly Conservative (who I think supports Trump). Yet we’re able to set aside politics and be friends. Will this be possible for Jared and Ivanka, and will their new spiritual leader be able to provide any influence to the new administration.
  • The Power of 4Chan. On the other side of the potential limiting factors of the above is the rise of “4 Chan Politics”. 4Chan politics, according to TechCrunch, is the rise of the people “emboldened by the seeming anonymity of the Internet and the ability for things that happen there to have real-world consequences – that have hijacked national discourse. They are the hackers who sway elections, who break civil contracts, who leak pictures of us naked. They are the eggs and Tumblr-posters who call each other – and others – the worst of slurs. They are the ones who sit behind their keyboards and rail at the world or, worse, pull the strings to which they have access from their secret places. […] They are people who have been given a megaphone and prefer to burp and curse and shout into it rather than help. They are the ones who yell “Jump” to the man on the bridge because of his implied weakness.” Donald Trump is clearly a 4Chan politician, given his use of Twitter. The article is a really interesting read. It talks about how these folks threaten free speech — for when they are called on their idiocy, they tend to attack the “free speech warriors” with DDOS attacks and such.

Of course, one can ignore it all, stick one’s head in the sand, and wonder all day instead what your testicles do when you are just sitting there. You know you wanted to know.


How To Be Smarter Than a Democrat?

Well, sorry to say (from my point of view), but it looks like Donald Trump has won the electoral college vote. We won’t know for sure until the votes are counted by the House in January, but I’m sure that election won’t be hacked.

Yup, sure.

Unlike, say, how the election that got us Trump was hacked. We may never know whether what the Russians did was sufficient to change votes, but we know how they did it, and some of the ways the influence occured. So, let’s see if you can be smarter than a Democrat. Note that I’m not saying “Democrats” in general, but some specific Democrats in Hillary’s organization.

How did they basically do it? Social engineering. Read the New York Times account of the hack. Podesta was phished, and the starting place was a purported message from Google indicating an account had been hacked, and a password needed to be changed.  That, combined with a warning message that mistyped “illegitimate” as “legitimate”, and the damage was done.

See, what people forget is that the weakest link in the security chain is the human link. It is incredibly easy to do a social engineering attack. Our nature is such that we want to be helpful, and we fall for it. Here’s an example: During our recent security conference, one of the banquet staff found a USB drive that someone left behind, and he asked us to return it to its owner. We promptly tossed it. What would you do? Many people would put it in their computer to find the owner — and potentially be hacked. Or they would just announce it and hand it to the owner, letting them be hacked. One never knows what changes were made to that drive when it was out of your sight (this, by the way, is a good reason to use encrypted USB drives).

What about other attacks? Those ads you see on webpages? They can insert malware into your router without you knowing it. They could bring in ransomware? My malware dectector has frequently intercepted malicious ads on non-malicious sites. Sites you go to every day. These sites often don’t have control of their ad networks.

By the way, you do have regular backups, right? Not always connected to your computer? Not in the cloud? Could you survive the sudden loss of your data?

As they say, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and…. well, we’ve just seen the fool get elected. Let’s not be fooled again.

P.S.: And what should you do about the fool? The answer is not to use your computer to sign a petition or send an email. The answer is to take time and write your congresscritters and senators, and as many other congressional people as you can, a hand-written letter. Legibly. This shows that the issue is important for you to take the time. Send it to their local office, or call. Insist that Congress hold Trump to the exact same standards of ethics, no conflicts of interest, and highest quality of minimally-partisan appointments to which they held Obama. Different Presidents should not have different standards. And, just like with Obama and Bill Clinton, they should investigate the littlest impropriety or questionable action by the President or any member of his administration. All Presidents and his staff should be held to the same standards.

PS: And if you don’t hold with that position, then please explain why Trump should not be held to the same standard. Party shouldn’t make a difference in how we expect the President to behave, so you must have some other reason. Our President should be the role model for the country, someone that our children can look up to see how a leader behaves.


Facebook Annoyances

This is a rant that has been brewing for a couple of weeks, about some real annoyances, in the political realm, that I’ve been seeing on Facebook. And — before you go there — this isn’t necessarily about specific people.

Annoyance The First: Petitions

How often do you see posts shared along the lines of “Prosecute Trump for Some Egregious Activity — Sign the Petition”? I see them all the time. Well, I have news for people: Petitions — especially online petitions — are meaningless. Although many believe we have a democracy, we don’t. If we did, Hillary would be President, as just like Al Gore before her. We have a representative government. Further, at the Federal level, there are no initiatives, no petitions, nothing that can force the government to do anything. So stop it with the petitions already. They are a waste of effort, and not worth the paper they aren’t printed on.

Do you want to use your voice to effect change with the incoming government. Write a letter. Make a phone call. In particular, if you have a Republican representative, write (you know, with that thing called a pen) or call and let them know they need to push back against the more egregious behavior of the incoming President. There’s no problem with Republican appointments, but they should be the best and brightest Republicans, not Republicans loaded with conflicts of interest working against the interests of the majority of the people. Remind them of the upcoming elections in two years, and let them know that if Trump damages America, they will be blamed for not doing the constitutional job of Congress.

Annoyance the Second: “Bet They Didn’t Expect This”

I’m tired of seeing news articles citing some exaggerated story, and then going “bet they didn’t expect this.” Guess what. They don’t care. They are going to do whatever they think they need to do to get ahead, and the thing they didn’t expect — well, it probably won’t happen.

Don’t waste your time spreading sensationalized news and getting your hopes up. Things are not going to be suddenly overturned, electors are not going to meet and elect Hillary. This mess — which we created through flawed candidates, flawed campaigning, and false hope — isn’t going to be fixed easily. We’re going to be in for a very bumpy ride.

So what do you do about it? See what I said above. Write letters and call your congress and senate critters to insist they hold Trump to the same standards they insisted for Obama and Clinton. No conflicts of interest. No illegal activities. No skirting the law. No appointing unqualified people or shills for a particular position. Our standards should not change because we have a reality TV star as President. Insist that Congress do their job: ensuring the President governs for all the people and not himself, and that he is a shining example of how to do things right, not how to get away with wrong. Do this by sitting down with pen and paper, and especially write to Republican leadership. Emails and online petitions are meaningless.



Belief and Government

userpic=levysWhile eating my lunch, I was reading the headlines about Trump’s selection for Attorney General. This got me thinking. We should all write to our senators, and insist that any nominee what takes precedence when determining government action or policy: the written law and any legal precedents for that jurisdiction, or their belief system.  If they answer that their belief system takes precedence, they should be denied confirmation. Why? To give a belief system precedent when determining government action is to impose that belief system on others — which is the government essentially establishing a religion and enforcing it on others. But, some will counter, that denies the nominee the freedom to practice their religion. It actually doesn’t. They are free to practice their religion in private times, and even when not performing government actions. But government decisions should not be enforcing one religion or belief on another.

If this makes it difficult for Trump to nominate certain individuals to positions such as Justice or the Supreme Court, that’s how it works. The same Bill of Rights that gives them the right to spew whatever hate speech they want and to practice their religion protects the people of this nation from imposing their religious beliefs or discriminatory practices on the populace. This is a nation ruled by law, and laws that are difficult to change. Sometimes it works to their advantage (such as the Electoral College); sometimes it doesn’t (they can’t discriminate, they can’t register — beyond what would be done for the census — based on religion, they can’t undo gay marriage, they can’t even easily undo Roe vs. Wade). We need to constantly remind them of this. We cannot discriminate in hiring based upon belief. We can, however, insist that they follow the law even when it conflicts with their belief.

[And, by the way, this applies to Steve Bannon as well. He may or may not hold white supremacist views. He cannot, however, act on those views when they are contrary to our laws — that is grounds for requesting his removal from office.]

The key point we must continually make: The President, Congress, and his advisors are not above the law. Their followers are not above the law.


Actions Speak Louder Than Words

userpic=soapboxGoing 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.



Tragedy of the Commons

userpic=nixonAlmost a week after the election, and many of us are still trying to make sense of the surprising results. Over in a Facebook discussion with a friend, we were talking about Bernie Sanders and whether he could have won, and one of the folk responding had a comment that include the following:

And therein lies the problem …: politicians trying to draw in the African American voters, the Latinos, the LGBQ community, the white working class males, the Millennials, the soccer moms, the business community, and so on. We’re a country of needy, self absorbed children all looking for someone who will do something for us on a personal level, not a national one.

This got me thinking: to what extent is Trump’s victory an example of the Tragedy of the Commons. For those unfamiliar with the term: “The tragedy of the commons is an economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting that resource through their collective action.

I could give you numerous examples: Central California and the water crisis, where individuals drilling wells can benefit themselves while hurting the community, whereas an agreement with a little hurt for all could benefit everyone down the road. Climate Change is another area where we are running into this: people are putting self interest above the better public good.

To what extent is politics a tragedy of the commons. To what extent is our slicing and dicing of interests — putting our personal financial well being, our personal societal well being and privilege, and such, harming society as a whole. Was Trump appealing to that, especially in the hinterlands. Whereas Clinton was hoping to get some to sacrifice to make things better for all (think: Obamacare; think: taxing the wealthy; think: climate change; think: moving to a new energy policy; etc.), Trump was doing what Trump does — advocating for his own personal self-interest and benefit, and along the way advocating for each individual to be out for themselves. Lower *your* taxes, get a job for *yourself*. Wanting to go back to when America was “great” (i.e., when white privilege was unquestioned) – tragedy of the commons. Wanting to isolate America and be protectionist – tragedy of the commons. Numerous, numerous examples. It’s yuge, it’s bigly 🙂 .

To what extent does this divide split along political liberal/conservative lines? To what extent does it dictate what we do? How do our economic times make us susceptible to the tragedy of the commons.

In any event, last Tuesday wasn’t only the product of the tragedy of the commons, I fear it was a tragedy for the commons.


Fear (fear ear) and the Echo (echo cho) Chamber

userpic=socialmediaEveryone is attempting to adjust to the results of this election differently. Those who have been marginalized for whatever reason — sex, color, orientation, etc. — are reacting in fear for what might happen with Trump (even though he is not yet in power, and won’t be in power until January). Those who have crawled out of the shadows and the gutters, emboldened by the man, have taken to harassing and abusing those marginalized (even though the laws have not changed, and likely will not change, making what they are doing illegal). Some, like me, who have been fortunate enough (dare I say privileged, which I do recognize) have been coping by hoping for rationality — believing (perhaps unrealistically) and hoping that the weight of the Presidency will change the campaign demagogue into a reasoned man concerned with his legacy, suitably constrained by our Constitution, the opposition Democrats, and our system.

We all have been taking to the streets and social media. Social media has done its job: amplifying the small fringe voices and actions so that they feel like a national groundswell; amplifying the resulting fears to make everyone more fearful; echoing those who have the same fear while hiding the reasoned voices on both sides. The reasoned people who supported Trump more to blow up the system rather than to support his behavior see only the riots and vandalism in response to his election, not the fear. Those who support Clinton only see the fear and the hate response. And it magnifies, like a mirror looking into a mirror, reflecting on and on forever deeply, even though we’re really only talking about perhaps a quarter-inch of glass.

And those who operate the social media — the Mark Zuckerbergs, the folks behind Twitter, etc. — where are they in all of this? Silent. They are silently allowing the echo chambers they created – and the algorithms they curated — to spread the fake news, to spread the parodies, to spread the words that amplify and isolate. They are not taking responsibility; they are not helping to heal. When we look back at this election, we’ll see much of the ultimate blame belongs with the Internet and Social Media for building up the hate and fear between both sides. For those us on the Clinton side, ask yourself: where would we be if Trump had been unable to tweet, but could only go through the news media, if we weren’t seeing the fear-mongering fake news on FB, if we weren’t seeing the parodies and believing them real. For the Trump supporters, the same question: how might your picture of Clinton differ without FB spreading the stories, and Wikileaks being enabled to spread overly sensationalized innuendo?

Those of us who were there in the founding days of the Internet: What have we wrought?

Shortly before the election, Vox ran an article about how the Internet is harming our democracy. I saved it planning to post and comment upon it the day after the election. The election occurred, and other reactions came first. But the article remained, and deserves to be heard. The article talks about the impact of fake news on the election; about how Facebook considers itself to be a technology company, not part of the media. Quoting from the article:

But that’s wrong. Facebook makes billions of editorial decisions every day. And often they are bad editorial decisions — steering people to sensational, one-sided, or just plain inaccurate stories. The fact that these decisions are being made by algorithms rather than human editors doesn’t make Facebook any less responsible for the harmful effect on its users and the broader society.

Further on, the article notes:

Facebook hasn’t told the public very much about how its algorithm works. But we know that one of the company’s top priorities for the news feed is “engagement.” The company tries to choose posts that people are likely to read, like, and share with their friends. Which, they hope, will induce people to return to the site over and over again.

This would be a reasonable way to do things if Facebook were just a way of finding your friends’ cutest baby pictures. But it’s more troubling as a way of choosing the news stories people read. Essentially, Facebook is using the same criteria as a supermarket tabloid: giving people the most attention-grabbing headlines without worrying about whether articles are fair, accurate, or important.

Post election, this algorithm is showing us the fear and the attacks because that is what our friends are sharing. It isn’t showing us the reasoned voices. It is isolating us, and not allowing us to confront the hate directly online. We’ve defriended the other side long ago. And so it magnifies. The following excerpt from the article points out why things feel so bad now:

This dynamic helps to explain why the 2016 election has taken on such an apocalyptic tone. Partisans on each side have been fed a steady diet of stories about the outrages perpetrated by the other side’s presidential candidate. Some of these stories are accurate. Others are exaggerated or wholly made up. But less sophisticated readers have no good way to tell the difference, and in the aggregate they’ve provided a distorted view of the election, convincing millions of voters on each side that the other candidate represents an existential threat to the Republic.

And now that that existential threat has been elected, look at the reaction. Facebook built that fear, folks. Facebook elected this man, folks. One in five people — that’s 20% — say that they changed their vote because of social media:

In a recent survey of 4,579 Americans, Pew found that most people who are exposed to political content across their social media feeds react negatively to it. Nearly 40 percent of respondents described themselves as “worn out” by political debates on sites like Twitter and Facebook, and 80 percent of respondents said that when they see political posts they disagree with, they usually choose to ignore them. Meanwhile, 40 percent reported blocking or filtering political content and/or fellow users who posted political content on their feeds; the vast majority said it was because they felt the content was “offensive.”

But that doesn’t mean said political content has no measurable effect on Election Day. In Pew’s study, 20 percent of respondents admitted that they had changed their minds about a political issue or candidate after seeing the issue or candidate discussed on social media.

Think now about all how all those stories about Hillary and her email server, about how Hillary was dishonest, changed minds about Hillary. I heard an NPR story last night about how Democrats were voting in large numbers for Trump because they didn’t trust Hillary. It was social media that built that distrust. It is also social media that permitted the White Power groups and other haters to be heard in much larger numbers than they actually are. Combine this with the fact that even a single percentage point difference in each state — one in one hundred shifting from Trump to Clinton — could have given the election to Clinton instead of Trump:

Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida flip back to Clinton, giving her a total of 307 electoral votes. And she’d have won the popular vote by 3 to 4 percentage points, right where the final national polls had the race and in line with Obama’s margin of victory in 2012.

NPR asks: Did Social Media ruin this election? They note:

This is our present political social life: We don’t just create political strife for ourselves; we seem to revel in it.

When we look back on the role that sites like Twitter, Facebook (and Instagram and Snapchat and all the others) have played in our national political discourse this election season, it would be easy to spend most of our time examining Donald Trump’s effect on these media, particularly Twitter. It’s been well-documented; Trump may very well have the most combative online presence of any candidate for president in modern history.

But underneath that glaring and obvious conclusion, there’s a deeper story about how the very DNA of social media platforms and the way people use them has trickled up through our political discourse and affected all of us, almost forcing us to wallow in the divisive waters of our online conversation. And it all may have helped make Election 2016 one of the most unbearable ever.

We need to realize the impact of social media on this election. We need to realize that the hate voices we are hearing are an overly magnified and emboldened fringe. We need to realize that our fear and loathing of the President-elect — and indeed, much of his behavior and excesses — have been magnified through social media. It will continue to magnify, until we make the decision to stop letting it do so.

We need to take action. We need to speak up for the majority, not amplify the fears and behaviors of the minority. Remember the following:

Get away from the fear. Step away from the keyboard before you share that article about yet another hate attack. Use the amplifying power of Facebook not to share hate, but to share hope. Speak up and say: THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

It is not acceptable, because Trump campaigned so as to amplify hate, to take that hate out on others in society.

It is not acceptable, out of your fear of and in protest of Trump’s election, to vandalize and destroy.

It is not acceptable to lose faith in our American system, to believe that its checks and balances and restrictions will not serve to temper the behavior of our Chief Executive. It limited Obama, and it will limit Trump.

We are the best of America. We need to show it. We must remember the words of Franklin Roosevelt — the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.