“The top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets.” No wonder we’re living in a post-truth society.
Today, my action was to subscribe to Mother Jones, one of many outlets working hard to explore and report issues. Their private prison investigation alone is plenty of reason to subscribe, but their coverage is generally very thorough and interesting. They rely heavily on reader donations and subscriptions. A subscription, for both print and digital, is $12.00.
But I can’t just subscribe. I have to put in the work of reading the articles, learning from them, and sharing. It’s no use supporting intelligent journalism if I’m not going to read it.
Time to go read.
President-Elect Trump has selected neo-Nazi Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist. This is a terrible idea. In an administration full of terrible ideas, this is one of the worst. So today’s tiny step was to call my elected representatives and ask them to oppose Steve Bannon’s appointment. My representatives are all Republicans.
This is, roughly, the script I used:
I am a constituent calling to let [name] know about my concerns about the Trump presidency.
I know [name] will be working closely with the Trump administration, so I am relying on [name] to use his influence with the Trump administration to ensure that President-Elect Trump works for all Americans.
I am concened that the appointment of Steve Bannon signals a fascist direction. He is endorsed by David Duke and is openly racist, misogynistic, and a neo-nazi. Steve Bannon does not represent my values. He does not represent Utah’s values. And I hope [name] will make it clear that Steve Bannon does not represent his values, either.
Senator Hatch and Representative Chaffetz’s offices were polite and friendly. Senator Lee’s office corrected my assumption that Senator Lee will be working with Trump; Senator Lee, it seems, repeatedly called for Trump to step down and shares my concerns.
It was quick, easy, and painless to call. Maybe you’d like to call your representatives?
I’ve also signed the Southern Poverty Law Center’s anti-Bannon petition.
Before I can contact my elected officials, I need to know who they are. Turns out, there are a lot of ’em. Today’s tiny step: collect all the contact information for my various elected officials.
Here are the links I found to help you compile your own list.
Commoncause.org makes it easy to get a list of elected officials: just enter your zip code. It tells me my US Senators, my US Representative, and my state Senator and Representative. It includes links to their sites for more information.
Don’t forget your county government. Enter your zip code, get a list of your county elected officials and links for more information.
Find your city government. This information is much less centralized, so I don’t have a handy link for you, but it should be very easy to find.
Got all that information? Good. We’re going to need it.
Once you’ve got all the information, read this storify to find out how to contact your representatives the most effectively.
The old Zen proverb.
Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
Turns out enlightenment and the fascist apocalypse have that much in common. And there’s a hell of a lot of wood that needs chopping now. There are a thousand ways to resist: protest, write to elected officials, support organizations doing this work already, educate yourself, take care of yourself, create despite the motherfuckers. There are a thousand issues to work on: LGBTQ rights, immigration, dismantling white supremacy and the patriarchy, protecting the environment, reproductive rights, health care, election reform. There are a thousand organizations and people who desperately need your time, your energy, and your money.
I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what’s the most important. I don’t know what actions are the most useful. But I do know that not doing anything is not going to be effective.
So what I’m going to do is: look for one small thing I can do each day, within my geographical, budgetary, and other limits. I’ll post about it here, and you can join me; or you can tell me what action you took today. I believe in the power of tiny steps. Let’s take some. Let’s take some tiny steps together.
With Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit makes a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable. Drawing on her decades of activism and a wide reading of environmental, cultural, and political history, Solnit argued that radicals have a long, neglected history of transformative victories, that the positive consequences of our acts are not always immediately seen, directly knowable, or even measurable, and that pessimism and despair rest on an unwarranted confidence about what is going to happen next.
Let’s get chopping.