By Jed Alexander
Former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently poked fun at #45 following an exchange between the two The Apprentice hosts by saying, "Hey Donald I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job. And then people can finally sleep comfortable again. Hmm?" Though no angel himself, the action star turned politician actually made a solid and humorous point, by reassuring the American people (or those who did not vote for him), that the endless tweets, off-handed comments, and lack of overall knowledge, preparation, and experience has created a psychological cost to many, including a bad migraine.
Each day is a new laundry list of mind-numbing activity: #45 blaming Obama for the gas attack in Syria; extreme vetting steps taken with foreigners handing over their phones with social media passwords, financial records, and questions about their ideology; the revoking of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order; the State Department cutting off funding to the UN family planning agency; and on and on and on. When will this orange, dream-like nightmare actually end?
The last time I touched base with you, we examined ways to engage the opposition through social media, either through humorous or factual means, recruitment of potential activists, or making it personal by asking direct questions to the opponent, including the use of stories from one’s own life. What if nothing works? What if you have exhausted all means necessary, and at the same time, physically and mentally exhausted yourself between the daily onslaught of news like I mentioned above or the opponent still not budging, never able to convince them that something like climate change is a real thing, or the rights of anyone who is not white or in the LGBTQ community does matter as much as those who voted for #45?
Yes, you can continue engaging or reaching out and recruiting others who align with your political and social views. If you have the mental and physical capability to do so, by all means, fight the good fight through educating others on social media platforms. Or, if you cannot carry on, you can start to refocus and turn back to what matters in the end: Getting a progressive majority elected at the local and state level. Because in the end, this is what matters the most, and where all the defending, educating, and convincing we have engaged in with the opposition will coalesce and become a reality through actual candidates getting elected. They can quibble all they want.
Let us look at two candidates Code Blue is currently supporting: James Thompson, a civil right attorney and US vet who served as a member of the Presidential Honor Guard and is now running for Congress. The details in this candidate’s personal life would make those #45 supporters shake in their orange boots: He wants to diversify the economy and empower our aviation industry; erasing poverty by improving public schools; and saving the benefits of our own vets. Almost sounds similar to a “Make America Great Again” promise which Thompson is pretty much doing, except fighting for the rights of every human being rather than empty promises, flashy campaign bumper sticker slogans and veneer, and owning the problems instead of assigning the blame.
How about Jacqueline Smith for Clerk of Court in Woodbridge, VA? A woman who has spent her life providing free legal services for those who cannot afford a lawyer, or residents in New Orleans affected by Katrina who had to prove their flooded homes were theirs and Smith stepped in to help them secure their ownership. I would say she is making her fellow Americans a priority and “Great” by putting others needs before her own.
Take a moment, breathe, and refocus your activist energies into the endgame and most important objective of Code Blue, building a progressive majority at the local and state level. If you are able to rally support around the above candidates, in addition to social media engagement, more power to you. It is a bloodless “Civil Civil War” with all-hands on deck for a resistance to this administration and the future of democracy and this country, and yes, the world too. Make a difference inch by inch and remember, it is a marathon not a sprint.
I will check in again next month with a brand new series of suggestions to build your “Activist Toolbox.” By then, perhaps #45 will be a bit tamer due to our work together and his daily list of mind-numbing actions evaporating. And if it is business as usual, with his list expanding, do nothing different. Refer to steps 1, 2, and now 3.