Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How to Fight a Shitstorm

One of Trump's successful ploys is to throw so much shit at the fan that no one -- not the media, not the politicians, not we the American people -- can know where to begin to clean it up.  So if you are feeling overwhelmed, welcome to 2017.

But the worst thing we can do is ignore and avoid.  The quality of our lives will be far worse than we have seen before.  I have been refreshing myself by reading Joe Conason's biography of post-presidential Bill Clinton.  While I have been happily surprised at just how much good he has done (and again dismayed at how the right wing conspiracy has created doubt in Clinton's actions and motives), the book also is a narrative of Clinton trying to do good against the shitstorm that was the Bush presidency.  In my anger I am also finding some inspiration.

I don't do resolutions, but since the new year I have asked myself what would I like to accomplish, and answered with some actual practical goals.

First, I need to continue to educate myself.  While I was away, nothing changed, but the momentum of our enemies has grown.  I would be no happier if I did not know that right now the truly evil Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was following through on his plan to rid millions of Americans of their health care.  I need to know that Trump has continued to move on his plan to move Jared Kushner right into the White House so that he and Steve Bannon can each have one of his ears.  And I need to be aware of how the media is covering all this, as well as anytime a Democrat pops out of hiding to take a stand.

Second, I will do my best to pass on what I have learned.  Knowledge is going to be the way we arm ourselves in these days when the Trump Swamp is twisting the meaning of things like "fake news" as soon as we have grasped the fact that it exists.  We need to share what we know as quickly and widely as possible.  We need to find ways to share our knowledge with people with whom we don't normally communicate, and in a way that they are willing to hear us.

That does not mean that we should back away from the Democratic values we held during the presidential campaign.  When we try to compromise by giving up any part of what we believe, we fail.  That is what has given the right-wing power.  Rather, we need to recognize, as did Bernie, that most of us have the same concerns -- job security, health care, safety -- and we need to find ways to persuade others that we are all in this together.  That when the rich get richer, we all get poorer.  That when a woman's right to reproductive health care is taken away, men and children also suffer.  That when we attack someone because they are different, we jeopardize all our rights to pursue freedom and happiness.  So, my third goal is to persuade.

To that end, I am not going to beat on myself for not making phone calls, or going to demonstrations, or visiting my representative, or running for office.  These are really important jobs and we need lots more people to take them on.  And there are people out there who will, and some that have not yet but would do it with some information and encouragement.  Because we definitely need people to do all those things.  What I am going to do is continue to write.  I am going to blog, and post on Facebook, send letters to the editor, and learn how to more effectively use Twitter.

There is still a lot of shit hitting the fan, because Trump is a disorganized personality, and a bully, and now he has not just wealth but the power of the presidency.  He has loaded his cabinet and his staff with truly deplorable people, and his media contacts from Fox News to the National Enquirer will continue to paint false pictures of what is going on in Washington.  But we all can keep on top of this.  There may be multi-million dollar media corporations and members of Congress who can be bought with Trump's infamous combination of threats and flattery.  But if we really believe in democracy (and I do) we the people outnumber all them.  We can't change the mind of the angry or truly stupid Trump supporter, but there are a lot of them that were lulled into believing a master con artist, and they will soon recognize the con and be looking to understand what happened and looking for alternatives.  And if we do this right, progressives and Democrats will be there to offer a better choice.


  1. You write. I'll march. We all have our work to do--vigilence is in everyone's job description. Thank's Agnes.