By Andrew Hendricks
We used to ridicule Donald Trump’s supporters for their belief that outspoken online Trump advocates were representative of the country as a whole. We thought that their tendency to provide “meme magic” as a surface-level (often conspiratorial or trolling-type) of content was a ridiculous, facile, and even asinine way to engage in politics.
We were wrong. And they were more organized and motivated than we ever gave them credit for.
One social media activity Trump supporters engaged in that was more influential than anyone could have predicted was discussed on a recent episode of the NPR podcast/radio show This American Life:
And when Trump's campaign was at its lowest point, after the Access Hollywood tape came out and Republican leaders were abandoning him, the deplorables swooped in to the rescue. Some of the most popular trolls on Twitter came up with this MAGA3X hashtag. That's Make America Great Again three times. Do three Trump things every day. Hold pro-Trump flash mobs. Get three Trump supporters to the polls. Retweet three Trump-related memes.
We need to do the same, but better. Create your own meme, but when you post it, source to a real news article backing up the point of your meme. Write your own article and source it to real news, not unattributed blogs. CALL YOUR HOUSE AND SENATE REPRESENTATIVES AND LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU’RE NOT HAPPY. If you’re not sure who represents you, here’s a handy little tool to help you find out. All you need to do is plug in your address, and it will show you who represents you on the national and state level, as well as their contact information.
Do three things a day. If all you can bring yourself to do is retweet a well-done story or comment on a news article to argue with someone spreading disinformation, sure, do that. But we all know that upvoting a story on reddit or downvoting someone literally spreading Russian propaganda (whether a Russian shill or a gullible American) is the laziest kind of slacktivism, and not enough to counteract the keyboard warriors fighting on the opposite side of American values. So when you can do more, do more.
Conventional wisdom used to say that no government could stand if as little as 5% of the population opposed it. That thought is heartening in itself, but new research has shown that the threshold is actually much lower. In fact, it takes only 3.5% of the population (about 11 million people in the US) mobilized against a government to dismantle it.
We need to be vigilant in how anti-Trump we are. We need to be smarter than “meme magicians,” but also fight fire with fire. Write an article. Create a meme. Call or write your Congressional representatives. Do these three things every day. If abuses of power go without consequence, the abuser will never stop.
A certain reassuring Martin Luther King Jr. quote has become popular lately. You know, the one that says, “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” Obama was fond of quoting this hopeful message, with the caveat that MLK was not merely saying all will be well. He meant that, with a motivated populace, we can create our moral history. As Jon Favreau, Obama’s former Director of Speechwriting, recalled on his own Trump-watch podcast, Pod Save America, “you’ve gotta put your hands on the beams and do some bending yourself.”
Three actions a day, every day. Call a Representative. Call a Senator. Write a letter. Make a donation to someone anti-Trump running in 2018. Do your part, three times a day. Attend a town hall. Create a town hall and invite your Representative and the media!
The opposition is acting, so must we. Do your part. Do something substantive. And do it three times a day.