Here’s How To Channel All That Anger For Change.
Donald Trump wasn’t elected by people marching down 5th Avenue, he became President through a democratic process we all have access to. Let’s use it.
This is an historic moment — not only because of the person that was elected but because of the divisions that have been laid bare at the hands of the disenfranchised, the depressed, the hopeless and the angry members of this country. The electorate have been left in the dust and Hillary, as all of her supporters vehemently attempted to downplay, was only the embodiment of the cronyism supposedly at the heart of their suffering. The dissections, post-mortems and blaming diatribes abound. There is no need to cover them here.
They are pointless. A complete waste of energy, time and resources.
Yes, it’s understandable to be scared and angry. Mourning has its place but it’s not productive. We all need to get out of bed, throw away the cookie dough, dust off and get to work. Here are some of the best ways to productively protest and have your voices heard.
1. HOLD TRUMP TO HIS OWN PROMISES
Behaving like the Republicans did to Obama defeats his legacy and runs counter to the values he tried to instill. Stonewalling every proposal or policy that comes out of Trump’s administration, for no reason other than that it comes from Trump, is a childish way to protest. And is also a waste of time. We can organize around the plan Trump laid out for his first 100 days. There are a few that span the aisle:
Congressional Term Limits
This is a radical proposal and can be very beneficial for the American people — not so for lobbyists and consultants. There are plenty of change.org petitions about this issue.
Lifetime Ban on White House Officials Lobbying on behalf of a Foreign Government
This was something Hillary was accused of doing while Secretary of State through payments made to The Clinton Foundation to buy access and ultimately influence policy. Whether you believe what she did or not, no White House official should have that power.
End the Offshoring Act
Penalizes companies that lay off American workers and relocate overseas to sell their products back to America tax-free.
American Energy & Infrastructure Act
This is ostensibly about creating ‘tremendous’ amounts of jobs repairing America’s infrastructure. Let’s hold him to that; some of our bridges, airports and interstates haven’t been updated for decades.
Withdraw from the TPP
Of TPP’s 30 chapters, only six deal with traditional trade issues. The website claimed it “will make it easier for American entrepreneurs, farmers, and small business owners to sell Made-In-America products abroad by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes…”
Opponents called it a giveaway to businesses. The fact that it took seven years to complete, almost entirely behind closed doors to the benefit of multi-national corporations, and without any public input smells like good ol’ Coastal Elite collusion to make trillions on the backs of poor, dumb, angry middle class deplorables. Also, Hillary Clinton supported it while Secretary of State, then when the accord concluded and it became public claimed it “didn’t sufficiently support American jobs.” To those that supported Hillary this sounded like shrewd political calculations based on the mood of the electorate. To those that supported Trump…it sounded like the exact same thing.
2. KNOW YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
Emily Ellsworth, former Congressional staffer to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, recently tweeted her personal experience in dealing with his constituency and how they got his office to listen to their concerns:
“Don’t move to Canada…move to a Red State and work on the School Board.” Ana Marie Cox, Real Time with Bill Maher
3. REACH ACROSS IDEOLOGICAL BARRIERS
Facebook has become one of the main sources average people get their news. While that’s not a bad thing, one negative side effect of putting our friends next to our news is that we can easily lose sight of the opinions and concerns of people we don’t know and/or don’t agree with.
The Wall Street Journal recently created a Facebook app, accessible here, that lays ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Facebook side-by-side. Here is a quote from the site:
Facebook’s role in providing Americans with political news has never been stronger — or more controversial. Scholars worry that the social network can create “echo chambers,” where users see posts only from like-minded friends and media sources. Facebook encourages users to “keep an open mind” by seeking out posts that don’t appear in their feeds.
Fake news abounds on the left and right, confirming our bias for or against our candidate of choice. While bubbles might exist in our news feeds, they also seem to exist in our brains. Drew Westen, Emory University professor of Psychology, wrote a book titled The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, where he argues “three things determine how people vote, in this order: their feelings toward the parties and their principles, their feelings toward the candidates, and, if they haven’t decided by then, their feelings toward the candidates’ policy positions.”
Republicans have won re-election every time except once (George H. W. Bush) since Roosevelt. Democrats have only done it twice: Clinton and Obama. It’s important to look at both sides of an issue and the voices that one might not agree with, but to also understand the reason we agree or disagree on an issue at its core — and how our emotions play a part in that decision.
4. DONATE AND VOLUNTEER
Creative services are usually one of the first line items cut from the budget when funding gets tight — but it is no less important in catching eyeballs or conveying complex messages to the public. The Taproot Foundation is set up to allow creative and business types to donate their services pro-bono to the non-profit sector.
For those in the advertising industry there is a Typeform signup sheet making the rounds with the intention of creating a grassroots army of designers, strategists, experience designers and account managers that can be deployed to tackle a creative or branding problem at the request of an organization in need.
John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, has become a valuable voice for raising awareness about the many types of barriers average Americans routinely face. He has dedicated entire shows to long-form, entertaining explorations of school segregation, multi-level marketing, debt collectors, Trump scandals, Hillary scandals and many others.
In his 2016 season finale episode Oliver listed several non-profit organizations that could very possibly come under fire from the Trump administration:
All of these, and many more, deserve and are in desperate need of help from the American people.
Donating time and/or money to any of these organizations would be taking the first step into speaking up and participating in this democracy a large majority of us, including myself, have taken for granted these last 8 years.
We all have power, we all have unique talents. This is not the time to be complacent, to be cynical, to be depressed, to be apocalyptic. We got here by all of those maligned values. It’s time to be positive and participatory, the most dangerous position, more dangerous than Bannon, Trump or any other person, is to throw our hands up and walk back into our bubbles. That time has passed.