Quite frankly, after the election, I cried. I cried for a couple of days. I tried to watch “The Daily Show” coverage the day after, and it just made me cry again. Hasan Minhaj, one of the correspondents, appeared genuinely frightened about whether his mother would be able to return to the country in March. I read analysis after analysis. I talked to friends. I screamed with one of them at the trees in Roxbury, one sunshiny late fall day, which helped more than I had anticipated. I had been relatively restrained in my political postings during the campaign season, but after the election, I posted even less. Given that I saw Trump supporters compassionately advising others to “Get over it!”, this seemed best, initially.
But while I may have retreated from public view, I was not inactive. I had come to the conclusion that I, as an individual citizen, needed to do more. Much, much, more.
I started by reviewing my charitable and activist donations, removing some after more careful vetting, and adding others, and I now give on a monthly basis. My thinking is this – regular income is good for everyone, including charities There are several major charity watch organizations that monitor groups. My budget isn’t large, but every little bit helps. Hey, it worked for Bernie Sanders.
I decided that I wanted to share more of my reading and activism on social media. While I didn’t want to remove myself from my general Facebook community, I also didn’t care to get into daily discussions with Trump supporters. I thought that would be too annoying for words. In my initial post-election Facebook post, to a group of friends and family I knew were of a liberal bent, I explained briefly that I would like to share with them much more of both my online activism and what I was reading-both investigative reporting and commentary . I gave all those seeing the post the choice of opting out, and it gave me a boost that no one did. This week, I posted a public message inviting any other interested friends to join as well. I was immensely pleased at the positive response. A dozen more friends accepted the invitation, including a couple of conservatives just interested in what I was reading and doing.
And finally, since I planned to share what I was reading, I took a close look at my own sources of information. While I believe in constant vigilance, and actively look for better ways to review my sources of information, I will admit to allowing ‘Zesty Left Wing News’ into my Twitter feed for a time. No one is immune. How could I resist ‘Zesty’? But, while it was not grossly inaccurate, it was mostly rehash, with the added bonus of inflammatory headlines. Bye, bye, ‘Zesty Left Wing News’. There are still ample mainstream sources of information, with signed bylines & accreditation. The NY Times, while it has (justifiably) been criticized recently, is still mostly reliable. The Washington Post is still doing good work, and I find their commentators to be astute, impassioned, and informed. Mother Jones magazine is a terrific alternate news source. The Center for American Progress does excellent investigations into various political and environmental issues. Grist is doing much the same thing, with more focus on human aspects as opposed to the strictly political. These are just a few of the places I am getting my information from. I double-check everything.
The next four years are going to be ugly. Nothing I’ve seen in the public sphere since the election has disabused me of that notion. The Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress are actively seeking to roll back civil rights protections, dismantle and repeal environmental regulations, and deprive millions of their healthcare coverage. And that’s just for starters. Buckle up, buttercups, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.