My kids and I were eagerly awaiting the snow showers predicted yesterday. You see, it rarely snows here. We’re talking once a year this happens. Any time there’s enough snow to play in, it’s a big deal to the point where it’s practically a holiday.
We were able to bundle up, get outside and walk to get some hot cocoa and play in the snow before the freezing rain started. My daughter said it was the best day ever, so that tells you how special snow days are here. Most of us in the PNW who live west of the Cascade mountains have NO IDEA how to drive safely in this weather, and the cities are not well-prepared to manage the slippery road conditions, so if you come visit when this happens be prepared for life to come to a standstill.
I’m not going to lie, beyond the fun in the snow, it’s been a discouraging week for me. I’ve vacillated between binge reading depressing news about DT’s cabinet appointees and burying myself in laundry, kids’ activities and cooking/baking (ok some wine and ice cream too, like I said, I’m not going to lie) for distraction. What I have barely been doing is the research I need to do for the next post I was planning about immigration. I have found a swarm of articles that aren’t exactly what I am looking for and I haven’t really dug in to the actual research or writing. For that reason the post will have to wait although it is one I am passionate about.
I think one of the main struggles recurring in my thoughts this election and post-election is the concept that facts are not important anymore when it comes to American politics or American perspectives of reality. Dan Rather (who I suggest you follow on Facebook if you don’t already) said it best this week in his Facebook post. DT lies frequently and contradicts himself, yet he and his surrogates push this narrative that there is no such thing as facts anymore, so what does it matter. The couple major issues that come to mind where there is a disconnect are denying that the economy has improved vastly under Obama and climate change denial. Dan Rather nails his response:
“The reality is that all of modern society, from the way your cell phone hooks up to your wi-fi, to the way the rain funnels into the storm drain, to the way your freezer keeps your ice cream frozen is based on facts. It’s because smart people went to school and learned facts, collaborated to figure things out. And they wrote them down so that other people would know those facts and be able to build on them. That’s how science works. That’s how technology works. That’s how modernity works.”
He makes the valid point that most of the people denying that facts exist anymore won’t want to go to a post-truth doctor, or go to a post-truth auto mechanic when their brakes fail. Denying truth or science is done selectively for political and financial gain and it is dangerous. This is something that needs to be resisted at the personal, community and societal level. It is encouraging to me that I know so many parents and educators out there who will continue to instill a love of learning and information in their children. I also know many science and technology lovers who know what’s up. The challenge for me is how to confront this in fellow Americans when decisions need to be made in order to run the country. Please share your thoughts in the comments or on social media about how you think we can change minds. Or maybe you think it’s more about organizing and mobilizing people who already agree that facts matter. Let me know.
I have been additionally troubled by news that Russia had hacked the election databases in various states pre-election (here’s a Department of Homeland Security statement). Here’s a Washington Post article about the warning the U.S. sent Russia about those hacks. I was then troubled more when I read that Russia was behind some of the fake news being spread leading up to the election. I am happy to read this morning that Obama ordered sweeping review of international hacking tied to U.S. elections. Like President Obama said, we may have moved into new territory here and it’s important to get as full a picture as possible moving forward in order to ensure a fair election process the public can trust. Shortly after Obama ordered the review, I was alerted to this Washington Post article that says a CIA assessment found that indeed Russia was trying to help Trump win the election. All Americans and citizens of other countries for that matter should be concerned about this development. In the interest of citizens being able to trust their voting systems, this needs to be figured out and there needs to be election reform to ensure that we can trust our elections and that foreign countries don’t covertly influence them. Did Russia succeed in influencing the election directly? Or just indirectly via fake news?
In order to feel more empowered and optimistic this week I thought I’d remind myself of all the people out there who were already working toward a more just and better world and all who are are energized now to join them post-election to make positive changes. I thought I’d share a few of the pages I follow in order to find causes and actions I can take part of. Check them out and pick one or two that speak to you.
Today I just joined Van Jones’ Love Army. You may recognize him as a CNN political commentator. His responses to the election have spoken to me, and I like the ideas I see on The Dream Corps’ site which started the Love Army. I like the concepts I’ve read so far about exploring messy truths by talking across divides, and also building new alliances to start working toward progress on big issues. One of Dream Corps’ initiatives is Green for All which strives to, “…make sure people of color have a place and a voice in the climate movement. That our neighborhoods are strong, resilient, and healthy. That as the clean energy economy grows, it brings jobs and opportunity to our communities.” This is something I’ve been thinking about lately, whether the green movement was working to be inclusive, so it piqued my interest. Check out all their initiatives and what Van Jones has to say about how to stop Trump.
I am signing up for a self-study with She Should Run that takes you through the steps of running for office. This isn’t to say I plan on running at least not in the near future, but what I would love to do is work to support women (or anyone) who would be a quality candidate for public office. I am sure it’s information that can help me move into organizing and leadership roles in the future.
When I found it, I used Mashable’s list of 7 useful sites and apps to help you organize in Trump’s America like a reference guide for me to check off each item as I signed up and downloaded each and every one. My favorites are Wall of Us (they email you four concrete steps you can take to resist Trump every week) and Countable (an app that helps you track bills and communicate with your representatives).
There are more ways to get involved that I will discuss next time. This post was pretty long considering the aforementioned avoidance of working on the blog! As always I welcome your comments here on the blog, on social media or in person. Thanks for reading and sticking with me through a hard week.