“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” – Ellie Wiesel
I’ve spent the last 24 hours trying to think of an example – in real life or fiction – where the team that is supposed to win relaxes and doesn’t prepare enough, and the underdog comes along and beats the favorite. Maybe the tortoise and the hare, or when Buster Douglas stunned Mike Tyson, Apollo Creed vs. Rocky in the original movie, or any number of sports upsets. I couldn’t settle on just one. But the greatest real life example – the one that we will be telling our grandchildren about – is when Hillary Clinton got trounced by Donald Trump and lost the presidency. Say what you want about the popular vote – and that definitely matters – but she got trounced. She grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. We are all now living with those consequences, even the people that voted for Trump, though they may not know it yet.
I’m not too proud to admit that up until very recently – most notably since I’ve had kids – I wasn’t very political. Not at all. I won’t tell you the last time I voted prior to voting in this year’s election. I was too busy with work, too busy to really care. And while I didn’t support much of anything President Bush did, at that point in my life, it didn’t really have an impact on me – that is to say enough of an impact to bring me to action. I was wrong, but so were a lot of other people. And now…now I find myself spending every moment I have consuming the latest news, and in my own way being part of the resistance. He woke the sleeping giant.
As a father and an optimist (mostly), I want what I write to be hopeful. I know many of my friends have a feeling of hopelessness, but I’ve been so encouraged by what I’ve seen from so many of other friends – the marches, the donations, the postings on social media that are calls to action and pleas for sanity. At first I was annoyed by Facebook, but now I truly believe it is part of the resistance (and I admittedly go back and forth on this). That’s how I got to see with my own eyes a number of my friends protesting President Trump’s immigration Executive Order at the San Francisco airport.
We, the people, do have power, and should feel empowered, and even proud of what we’re doing. And that doesn’t mean you have to march or protest. You can use the one thing that speaks louder than anything else…money. You see, I believe that two things run the world and they are in never-ending conflict – love and power. To a great extent, power comes from money (see Trump’s cabinet of billionaires). You have both. And there are simple things you can do. When Lyft gives $1 million to the ACLU, while Uber doesn’t abide by the taxi strike at JFK, well, maybe you should use Lyft more. AirBnB offers free housing to those impacted by the immigration ban… maybe you should use it the next time you travel.
Did you notice that Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg were incredibly quiet until very recently? Did you see Sheryl – a clear and vocal leader of the modern woman’s movement– at any of the marches? I sure didn’t. But the criticism started and guess what…she just came out against Trump’s global anti-abortion policy. I see Sergey Brin, a founder of Google, at the SFO protest and my first thought was perhaps I should change my browser or use Google Photos. Businesses understand something very important…people are watching and we’re fickle. I love Coca-Cola more than anything, but if they did or said something (hypothetically of course) that was against my values, I would drop them in a minute (Not Chick Fil A – there is nothing they can do and boy have they tried). Money talks. Use yours wisely.
I’ve been following the work of a Twitter group called “Sleeping Giants.” They figured out something very simple and cost-effective. Many companies advertise on Breitbart News, but don’t know they do because of the way algorthims are set up. So, this group contacts them via Twitter and let’s them know and tells them they might want to block their ads from being used on Breitbart’s site, the assumption being this will hurt the site’s advertising revenue.
This is an incredible time in our country. It’s scary but it is also encouraging. It feels like the battle between light and darkness is happening all around us. I know – I am certain – that history will not be kind to those that are on the wrong side. I want my children to be proud of me and what I’ve written here when they are older. Can the same be said for the 270+ GOP members of Congress who remain silent on this issue?
Martin Luther King Jr. said about the civil rights movement, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
So, as I sit here writing this while thousands protest in airports and cities around the country, I’m thinking about President Trump’s words about our country (copied of course from the villain Bane from The Dark Knight Rises). He said he’s going to “give it back to you…the people.”
And I can’t help but think that is exactly what he is doing.
He is giving the country back to the people.
Unfortunately for him, it’s not to the people he intended.