Thought Catalog
January 20, 2017

I Hate To Break It To You, But Moaning About Trump On Your Facebook Isn’t Doing A Damn Thing

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What is the issue?
Pixabay / markusspiske
Pixabay / markusspiske

So, Trump is now officially President.

That’s kind of weird to type. I bet it’s even more weird to read. Or maybe not, because there’s little doubt that over the past few months you’ve been inundated with countless articles, Facebook status updates, tweets, Instagram posts, and Tomi Lahren hot takes to have settled on the fact that Trump is officially President.

And really, what’s one more article about him going to hurt?

But I’d like to think that this isn’t your typical Trump article. But honestly, I don’t read many articles about Trump, so I can’t tell you if that’s true or not. It’s really just my thoughts on what got us here, and what we can in turn start to do about it.

So what the hell did get us to this point?

Really, have you truly stopped to think to yourself what actually got us to the point where the United States of America, the greatest country in the history of the world, would elect a man who has openly and unapologetically been racist, misogynistic, mocking, and a homophobe?

Sure, you’ve probably watched some videos. Maybe some news. But have you actually thought about it? Spent some time getting inside your own head, taken the pulse of those around you, and tried to work through this situation as a whole?

If I were a betting man, which I most certainly am, I would say you probably haven’t. And I think that itself is part of the problem.

Trump is a product of our environment today. Namely, the environment of the information age in which we know anything and everything.

We have access to more information than people could’ve dreamed of 20 years ago, and encounter more information about the workings of our government, society, and life as a whole in the span of a week than most people used to during an entire year. Maybe even a decade.

And that exposure to information doesn’t come without consequence. Namely, the consequence being that we become more divided than ever, because we’re all convinced we’re right.

Surely you’ve seen this play out on Facebook while you troll through a thread that’s hundreds of comments deep. It’s like everyone keeps slinging facts at one another.

This has been an ongoing trend throughout much of the past 6-7 years, but I think really came to a boiling point over this election cycle. We were so inundated with information about Crooked Hillary, the shady Clintons, and the ineffective nature of our government that we couldn’t bear the thought of seeing someone like that in office.

And the ironic part about all of this is that our wealth of information led us to electing a man who eschewed all of it. He and his campaign team recognized that while we humans love to pretend that we love facts, cold hard rationality, and being level headed, we’re really just guided by emotions. We let our emotions guide us, and then use facts to our convenience to justify those very emotions.

Trump and his team knew this, and they ran a campaign built on this. And this did it beautifully. So what do we do now?

My Facebook feed, which is definitely a bit left leaning, seems to be mourning the death of our country right now. This, to me, seems like a hyperbolic response.

There’s no doubting the fact that our new President might be one of the most horrifying men to step into office. I would never question his brash and offensive nature, nor would I ever hope to make light of the fact that he has legitimately offended millions of minorities based solely on skin color or sexual orientation.

All of this is not okay. They are actions that are unbecoming of a man who is about to lead the free world, and they are inexcusable. But, and I want to be very clear here:

Bitching to your echo chamber of Facebook friends is going to do very little about this.

You see, with all the good that social media and the Internet has done for us, it has also given us this false sense of reality. We think that by putting something out onto our social media platforms we have the potential to reach the masses and in turn bring about change. And in some lucky cases, this is true.

But more often than not, this stuff falls woefully short. Why?

Put simply, your social media networks are going to reflect your preferences. The sites you visit are likely ones that you visit because they reinforce your beliefs, not because they challenge them. This is a carefully designed feature of Google, Facebook, and every other major site on the Internet to make the user experience more pleasurable.

And while it works really well for helping you find more dog memes that you enjoy, it doesn’t work well for political activism.

Before we go any further, sure, I know that you probably have people you argue with online. But thanks to psychological phenomenon known as the backfire effect, even that likely does very little good.

Every time you hit send and publish your thoughts about Trump and his wall into the ephemeral void, chances are it’s falling on ears that are going to agree with you. And that doesn’t really do a damn thing.

I take that back. It creates a false sense of action within you. It leads you to believe you’re actually doing something when you’re not.

So, what should you really do?

Are you starting to understand just how pointless posting on social media can be when it comes to how much you hate the President? Good. Cut that out. You have better things to do in your life.
Seriously, you really do. I promise you that there is far more to your life than staring at an iPhone screen and loving or hating status updates. And this isn’t meant to be some anti social media diatribe, either. I love social media. I just don’t love the false sense of activism it’s inspired.

Instead of tricking yourself into thinking you’ve done something by writing out a pithy status update, go forth into your immediate world and bring about as much change as you possibly can.

This isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to feel foreign, and even a little weird at first. It might require standing up for someone because they’re being heckled on the subway. It might require walking up to one of your LGBT brothers or sisters and giving them a random hug and telling them that you love them and you care about being an ally for them.

It might require showing an inordinate amount of love and respect to the women in your life so they recognize that not all men feel like they have the right to grab them by the pussy.

Once again, some of this might feel foreign to some of us. And that’s okay. That’s the point. Because if the election of Donald Trump has done anything, it has created a counter point. A shining example of how men should NOT act in our world.

And the best part about all of this is that it doesn’t harm you in any way. It does nothing but bring more happiness and joy into this world. It shows all of those around you that you are radically inclusive and loving with your actions, and that is where real change comes from.

Those actions speak volumes about you as a person. People see that. Random strangers see it. Your friends see them. Your family sees them.That’s where the real power is. You become the antithesis of the hate that has filled our news cycle and newsfeed for months on end. And by becoming the antithesis of that, you become a shining beacon of hope for those around you.

And maybe, just maybe, it inspires them to go forth and do the same in their own lives. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go help some elderly woman on the subway. TC mark