We’re Being Blitzed: A Combat Guide

We’re being manipulated.

I know. It’s easy to look down on Trump and point to his pettiness, his small hands and mind, his lies, and his deplorable actions. A little too easy.

Consider the roller coaster of emotions. So many highs and lows that many of us are already “taking a break” from social media: the one place where we can gather, share info, and organize.

We’re being taken on a ride designed to wear us out and isolate us from each other. That’s because we are stronger together, and they want us weak.

This started out as a survival guide but it became more than that. Here’s a combat guide to save America.

Save your energy

Forget Trump. He’s a straw man, and he’ll be discarded when he’s used up. Same with the people who voted for him. Truth is: they’re just as manipulated as we are, but they have different triggers.

Knee jerk reactions can be manipulated. Someone very smart is using this against us. Don’t let yourself be manipulated.

1. Control your reaction.

Stop getting enraged every time you hear about something new Trump did. It’s exhausting you, and it’s playing into the hands of whoever is actually pulling the orange puppet strings.

I’m not telling you to ignore or normalize. Just don’t let your reactions control you. Harness it for energy. Do not let it deplete your energy.

2. Don’t take the bait.

Don’t rush to comment or argue. This builds up the rage, even if you’re agreeing. Anger is addictive and wastes your energy.

Listen to this Tara Brach talk about the thrill of anger. Train yourself to resist the urge. I know it’s tempting. But would you rather yell at someone who won’t change their mind or actually make a difference?

3. Protect your space.

Set privacy to whatever makes you feel comfortable for your personal social media accounts.

Report people who post inflammatory or derogatory comments. You can do this on your own posts, as well as other people’s posts. Do it every time you see it. It’s better than wasting your time arguing.

If you’re an admin on a Facebook page, you can turn off commenting on posts. Go to the upper right corner of the post and click the dropdown arrow for the menu options.

For personal posts, I haven’t found a way to turn off comments. If you know, please tell me!

4. Check your sources.

I miss 2015, when we were all just liking cute puppy videos. We didn’t really have to check where the video came from then. We have a new job now. Think before you share.

Report questionable publishers. One big clue is if there are pop-up or a ton of click ads. Another clue is if they don’t cite sources. Here are the sources I trust:

  • Politicians’ verified social media accounts and press releases
  • The New York Times
  • The Atlantic
  • The Washington Post
  • Daily Kos
  • The Intercept
  • Established progressive organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU

5. Be kind to yourself.

There’s a lot going on. I’m not perfect. I react or make fun or argue. But I’m through beating myself up over it. That’s doing somebody else’s dirty work for them. Instead, I’ll do the best I can each time, accept I’m not perfect, and move on.

6. Be kind to others.

There’s a difference between spreading the word on important facts and using what you know to make someone else feel bad.

I have friends who are pro life. It’s hard not to jump to hating them for wanting to take away people’s right to choose what happens to their own bodies. I have friends who are black and call me out on not being “woke” enough. It’s hard not to get defensive and feel unappreciated for what I HAVE been doing.

Truth is, we will never agree on everything 100 percent. Life ain’t that easy. Stop the cycle of attacking each other. If we fight each other, we’re wasting energy.

7. Let the petty stuff go.

Please stop pointing out the dumb grammar and spelling mistakes. I write for a living. It bugs me too. It’s also a stereotype about liberals that’s being used against us. You wanna be right for a second or save your energy for something important?

Bottom line: Do what’s right for you. Ignore the rest.

That saves a lot of energy. This gives you control over your actions. Now we can get scary.

Focus your energy

Prioritize what’s important to you. The blitz attack is creating so many issues all at once that we’re pulled in many different directions and disorganized. This adds to our sense of powerlessness.

Again, and I say this with pleasure, forget Trump.

We are stronger together. That doesn’t mean the entire country has to act on a single issue. Use all the energy you save from not arguing and spend it on the cause you care about.

1. Set your boundaries.

Decide how much time you can dedicate. Calendar it. It’ll be tempting to react to whatever posts are getting shared that day by your friends. Resist the urge (use the “Save your energy” section as needed). Don’t burn out.

2. Choose your cause.

Organize and save reading material for your dedicated time. Bookmark the posts your friends shared. Read the roundup lists from Amy Siskind. Watch John Oliver and take notes.

Mark which issues you want to fight for. Those are your action items. Yes, other things matter. But you are choosing the things that fit your life. You’re more effective this way.

3. Take action.

Here’s an awesome guide from former congressional staffers about how to get involved in the democratic process.

Join a grassroots group that does the research and fact-checking for you. Project 1461 provides one daily action, explains the reasoning, and has a clear editorial policy. Full disclosure: my friend started it, and I’m so proud of her. We never thought we’d become activists, but then 2016 happened.

Take care of yourself

I like the metaphor of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. Also the one about this being a marathon, not a sprint (although I’m a sprinter, so I’m thinking of this time as a series of sprints with walking/resting in between… whatever works).

Point is, I love metaphors.

Real point is, take care of yourself. Change takes time and energy. You will add the most by giving back to yourself.

1. Meditate.

I listen to Tara Brach. A lot. Check out this talk about how to replace fear as motivation.

2. Do your chores.

It’s the mundane stuff that gets ya. It’s surprisingly reaffirming. When I have a big pile of laundry, it feels annoying and daunting. But then I start folding, one thing at a time. And it gets done. It reminds me that each little action I take adds up. I may not be rich or famous, but I can make a difference.

3. Choose a mantra.

If it’s about something you hate, turn it into a statement about what you stand for.

Here’s where I started:

I refuse to get burned out. I refuse to be overwhelmed. I refuse be manipulated.

I turned that into:

I choose how I act. I can make a difference. I will make this world a better place.

4. Have fun.

Do something that recharges you every week. Here are some ideas:

  • Quiet time reading
  • Knitting
  • Running
  • Seeing good friends
  • Binge watching baby sea otter videos on YouTube

Make time for it. No guilt. Take care of yourself.

Too long, didn’t read: key points

  1. Don’t take the bait
  2. Check your sources
  3. Make time for yourself
  4. Choose what’s important
  5. Act on that
  6. We are strong
  7. We are stronger together

Let’s do this

Make no mistake, we are in a war for our freedoms. Our peacetime habits are being used against us, but we can fight back.

You are stronger than you ever imagined. You can do this! ✊🏼