Everybody loves a trier

This year has opened a new and interesting chapter in my life. For the first time in a long time, I have almost complete freedom to pursue my own passions, with few obligations outside of my job. At the same time, the Trump administration is inspiring a greater level of activism and engagement from people across the political left, and there are a multitude of new organizations and movements to support and join.

In theory, I should be on cloud nine. After all, politics:me what college basketball:the South, YouTube:teenagers, and the State Fair:Minnesotans. This could be my moment to really get involved, make a difference, and create the kind of change I’ve been longing for – this is not an exaggeration – for most of my life.

In practice, however, this year has been a quiet lesson in the distance between our ideal selves and our actual selves. Yes, I have gotten involved, trying to flip CA39, registering voters, canvassing, and calling my reps to protest bad policy and legislation. I even briefly tried starting a coalition of sorts (of which this blog was one of the original tools). But what I’m learning, as I endeavor to become a paragon of political engagement, is that what I wish I was good at doing is not, sadly, what I am actually good at doing.

Here is what I wish I was good at:

  • Engaging the masses in a deep-probing exploration of policy.
  • Writing persuasive blog and fb posts that people want to post and re-post.
  • Organizing ordinary people to effect positive social change.

Here is what I am actually good at: Continue reading

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Let’s Call It… The Redirect

I have a rallying cry for people who living in opposition in the US. Whenever the president goes out of his way to incite racial hatred, demean private citizens, or stir false controversy, let’s turn away. Rather than posting and re-posting what he said, rather than losing sleep and focus or feeling defeated, rather than analyzing and arguing over his specious bullsh**, let’s practice the difficult art of differentiation, separating what he wants to be important from what we know truly is. Let us elevate the things that matter most, the things that make a difference, and the things that lead us to greater power, justice, and well being.

I am not saying this man’s toxic personality should be ignored. If you need to lose your sh** from time to time, then go on a good rant. Lord knows, I do. But I have been reflecting a lot lately on what we lose when we amplify his issues (racial divisions, religious bigotry, and, um, racial divisions) on his timetable. We have important work to do (including on those very issues), and where we can, we should exercise control over the narrative. No, we can’t change where the media puts its focus, but we can change Continue reading

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