If there’s ever a time to work out how I’m feeling—it’s now. So many times over the last week, I’ve felt despaired, depressed, hopeless and lost. While so many of my friends have expressed anger and rage over the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, I’ve felt confused and numb.
I’ve seen social media statuses, read group texts and have been involved in personal conversations detailing the actions like-minded individuals opposed to Trump are doing to resist or make their voices heard. Some of the most popular actions include donating to organizations that are likely to be attacked by Trump’s Administration, like Planned Parenthood or Every Town for Gun Safety, or joining a protest.
Those are all great options. I already donate to the organizations listed above – and a few more – and will likely join a protest at some point. But for now, I’m still working on figuring out my emotions. That numb depressed thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah…It’s real.
As things have evolved – and as I have evolved – over the last week, I realized one of the most important things I can do for myself, for my community and for my country is to become as educated as possible on what is going on, and to not feed into the culture of misinformation and misrepresentation of facts that have plagued so much of the political discourse in our country.
Truth be told, this is a hard pill to swallow. I’m guilty of sharing items on social media that I haven’t read. More than that, I’ve come to realize that there is a lot about our country's political system, history, and politics in general that I don’t actually know. Information has been available, but I, for some reason or another, haven’t sought out clear, precise answers. I’ve either ignored the situation, relied on what others have told me, or just gone along with what I’ve always believed to be “true” without actually doing research.
Therefore, I’ve made these pledges to myself (and by default, to friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers and those who follow me on social media):
- I will not share articles or information on social media channels that I haven’t fully read.
- As painful as it is, I will stay abreast of news developments related to Trump, his transition and his future Administration, and will rely on a wide variety of reliable news sources for this information.
- I will do my best to rely on my training as a journalist to vet articles, look up definitions I don’t understand, and corroborate what I read and hear from multiple sources to make sure I fully understand what I am reading/researching and ensure I am in the best position to engage politically.
- Accountability is important. As a citizen of the United States, if I’m to hold my elected leaders accountable, I need to be accountable.
- I want to lead by example.
- I want people to know that they can trust me.
- I do not want to be ashamed of what I don’t know. Sharing this will help me own my own insecurities and, hopefully, inspire others to ask questions and not feel bad for thinking they should know something they don’t.