Not too long ago, somebody I followed on Twitter was wondering basically where and how our dystopian novel hero would arise. A decade or so ago it seemed we were getting fed a steady diet of dystopian young adult novels and movies, and now here we are seeing the evolution of religious-pandering, right-stealing, corporate swamp-building kleptocracy, and so what are we doing about it besides wringing our hands?
Well making phone calls doesn’t make much for action heroes, but I guess I’m too privileged to start blowing shit up, or too old and fat to be an action hero anyway . . . or maybe I still believe we haven’t quite gone over the precipice yet, and that it’s not too late for raising our voices and demonstrating and asking our representatives to actually represent us instead of their corporate sponsors. I’m probably naïve, but what the heck.
So my answer to the question “What moved you from outrage to action” was 5calls.org, because it basically took away every excuse I had for sitting on my butt and doing nothing. (Obviously 5calls shares my biases, so I don’t know what you do to be more civic-minded if your biases lean in a different direction from mine. I suppose issues are issues, so you could still use 5calls but change the script to reflect your POV. I customize all my scripts anyway.)
Some other online resources that I’ve been using include Town Hall Project and Indivisible. Which brings me to another point. It’s not heroic to spend five minutes making a few phone calls. It’s slightly better than nothing, is what it is. But what is more heroic is the people who are organizing these and other resources, along with the people organizing marches and protests and other actual civic action. And the people setting the example. A big part of what’s gotten me started is watching my friend Mike, who has formed a local resistance group and updates a facebook page with scripts every day on the major issues that are of interest to his group. I don’t live in his area, but I get his updates anyway, and each day’s update comes with an unspoken question from me to myself: What the hell are you doing, Joe?
And to bring this all the way back around to the title of this blog post, no, I’m not grateful to Donald Trump for a single thing, but it’s interesting that all of these years I could have been a more active, vocal supporter of the things I believe in. I donated money to politicians and to causes and groups whose mission I believed in, but I never called anybody, and I never showed up anywhere. I’m reminded a bit about how I got to know my neighbors in Miami so much better after Hurricane Andrew destroyed all our houses and we had to pitch together to share resources. Maybe it takes a disaster, like Donald Trump, to make us see what we’re capable of.