Progress In the Time of Resistance

We can’t let the Trump circus derail our goals

Since election day, I - like many - have been glued to my social media feeds commiserating with friends and sharing articles, perspectives and outrage about Trump and the threat he represents. A few of these friends have been relentless and seem to have become almost full-time at tracking and disseminating key articles, helping drive the social media resistance. This effort is important, and for me, consuming it has been time well spent — even therapeutic. And I believe this type of resistance has made an impact. That said, I have recently begun to wonder how much this activity is helping us achieve our long-term goals to create the world we want.

Does it make sense for us to spend all our civic time, energy and free brain space chasing Trump around and reacting to him? I believe we should meet Trump’s chaos with a focused, disciplined and organized effort designed to protect the essential pillars of our society. We should strengthen the infrastructure needed to ensure we don’t move backwards. We cannot allow the Trump circus to distract us so much that we lose sight — or worse, lose altogether — the people, process and rules we have in place today to preserve our healthy democracy.

Let’s turn our attention and — more importantly — our support here so we know our democracy is protected:

  1. The rule of law. The ACLU, NRDC, MALDEF and others have a long history of winning important legal battles for individual freedom and environmental protection. They are designed to be ready to fight in court and ensure the rule rule of law prevails. We can support these legal efforts with our money. We should set a recurring monthly donation to these and other legal entities.
  2. A free and independent press. We need to have organized efforts to fact check and support journalists who are constantly trying to report facts in a deluge of falsehoods and distraction. We should support the organizations, like Media Matters, doing this and share their findings widely.
  3. The freedom to assemble and speak. The protests have been inspiring and effective to date. And we need to protest to hold politicians accountable at every level and counter bad ideas and policy when they emerge. To continue to have impact, these mass demonstrations of force and dissent need to be unrelenting but also used judiciously.
  4. Competitive elections. We need to make sure we have great candidates for office in 2018 and we all give our time, energy and money to get them elected.

With these crucial bases in place we can redirect our remaining resources, energies and daily attention. The good news is we already have a plan in place for the road forward. The world chose its path long before Trump came onto the scene.

In 2015, 193 countries decided to take on 17 planet-wide goals that we wanted to make significant progress on over the next 15 years. These UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development provide the roadmap for all of us to direct our significant resources, talents and energy towards.

In 2016, we also agreed in Paris to put the world on an aggressive path to a low carbon future where humanity could thrive. And citizens, governments and businesses agreed to do their part. We need to not only continue down this path, we need to accelerate it.

So, while governments and politics may continue to be in stasis as we wrestle with how to react to the massive changes taking place in society, we can still harness the resources of the private sector and the commitment and power of people to move humanity forward. Each of us in our civic life, our businesses, investments and philanthropy can do our part to move forward on the global goals.

I know I don’t want to look up four years from now or god forbid eight years from now and see it as a time we squandered and stalled. We need to harness the unprecedented energy created in the resistance to Trump and channel it into creating the world we want to live in.

Together, we can stop Trump, protect our democracy and move the world forward at the same time. We can resist and make progress.