It’s morning. Regardless of the hour it is like waking from a hazy sleep. For years, despite my fervor for political discussions and the delight and relish in a healthy debate, I let myself fall into a Rumpelstiltskin type of dream state believing that our country was on the right course. I didn’t need to join in at my district at home, I didn’t read as much news even though the newspaper was delivered daily. I excused the memes my friends posted on social media as irritating but, whatever, it is their view.
And then I woke up. On November 9th to be exact. I woke up to realize that the haze that had been shifting over the past year had dissipated to reveal the dawn of a new day. A new world. A new world full of uncertainty, anger, frustration, ebullition, confusion. No one really spoke about Trump but here he was. It was a done deal. There was no getting around the fact that he was to be number 45.
I proceeded through the steps of grief quickly and ended up solidly in anger and disbelief for a week or so. Fiery comments on social media, not substantiated by any thing other than my self-entitled opinions when a friend suggested that I take time and wait and comment on Trump after he’s had one week in office. Give him that. It felt like a prison sentence to be sure, but I agreed. It was the best thing for me really and here’s why. You couldn’t be just angry. You had to become resolved. Those are two completely different things. Anger – about the election, the Comey decision, the rhetoric, the administration that is now in power – being angry wasn’t productive. It felt good, no doubt, but it was lacking completely in any productiveness for myself or anyone within miles of me personally, professionally, emotionally, digitally. Something else needed to take anger’s place.
I resolved for the first time in a long time to do something. What to do I wasn’t sure. I started with posts on my personal social media reviewing the Constitution, article by article, section by section. This would give me some relief. What it provided instead was education, and insight. The Constitution came to a conclusion and I didn’t necessarily feel better so I asked myself, “What’s next?”. What now? I started reading. Reading articles on my social media, sharing articles on social media, commenting on social media – all the while averting specific comments about the new President. I noticed that all my news was very liberal in nature. That’s not right. First rule in college was read all points of view to create an informed opinion. Where is the opposing view? I had to search it out. If I’m having this issue – others must be as well. It was about this time that the fake news story exposes became rampant and we realized that the duping and propagandistic nature of our news slapped me in the face. Unacceptable. Beyond the fake news became the Niagara Falls of news spilling over my social media, email accounts, friend’s texts, my news source – it needed to stop. It didn’t need to stop – it simply needed a better navigation.
I needed a way to control the way I take in digital news. We devised a plan to bring about a better news stream for people to digest over time in the hopes that if we are seeing all sides of a story or a topic, we could comprehend without condoning and have a conversation. This was possible.
On Friday, January 20, 2017, I was on a flight with women in their pink hats, or pink scarves, or t-shirts going to stand and confirm for America at large that we are not a second thought in our society. We are not cattle. We are not property. We are more than the sum total of our parts. We are concerned about more than the sum of our parts.
Today will be a day of incredible speeches, camaraderie, determination, and hope. But what will Sunday bring? While political protest affirms the voice that we share in unison, on Sunday we each stand alone to create the next step? What will you read in your social media? Will you go beyond, to that one website that provides news that you don’t condone but know that you need to comprehend? Will you talk to someone in line at the grocery store, at the office, at home, on social media, at happy hour about the issues of the day? An article you read? A comment on social media that you shared? An article or blog post here? What will you do to stretch the conversation, accepting first the ability to comprehend another person’s point of view before expressing your own? Where will you give your time or talent? Will you fall into a haze on Sunday or will you, with bright eyes, insist that for not one more day will you let the divide that stands between us now not be mitigated by the actions that you take today.
Saturday will be inspiring. Sunday? Only you can say. As for me, I will be hard at work. Join us.