Wag The Dog: Trump’s Leaving The Paris Accord & Tsar-A-Largo

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It seems like there is a growing possibility that instead of attacking North Korea as we all feared, Donald Trump instead pulled out of the Paris Accord as a kind of value free wag the dog. Instead of killing millions of people in the short term to save his administration, he put the lives of billions at risk in the long term.

One trap that is too easy for people like me to fall into is the notion that Trump finally, finally did something so egregious that he will face some sort of political consequence. It is far too easy for people like me to throw up our hands in giddy outrage, and think that there’s no way that Trump can recover from his latest screw up.

But given his strategy is to pander to a base that is surreal in its hysterics and unwillingness to have any connection to reality, and given how that base has almost absolute sway over the Vichy Republican Establishment, it seem as though Trump will not only survive but prosper politically.

That’s the whole point of all of this. People like me get angry, people who support Trump are ecstatic and everyone is distracted from the horrific agenda that the Trump Administration is pushing through Congress. There comes a point, however, when this cycle has to be broken. There comes a point when The Resistance can’t be distracted from the goal at hand: finding out the truth about the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians that hacked into the American political cycle in 2016. That’s where we need to focus our political might and political questions.

Of course, there is the very real possibility that given how callow and Vichy the Republicans are a this point, we could literally find evidence of direct collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians and that still wouldn’t be enough to make them raise an eyebrow. They would simply shrug and say no laws were broken and if you really are all that upset about it, come back in 2018 and flip Congress.

That, in itself, is an outrage because such thinking only leads to a chronic Constitutional crisis that will flare up now and again. What’s more, in the 18 months we would have to wait, there would be plenty — plenty — of opportunity for the now illegitimate Trump Administration to do get into all sorts of mischief. Out of sheer desperation, there is a chance they might do something significantly more desperate than simply pull out of a treaty.

Leaving the Paris Accord might not be the last straw politically for the Trump Administration, but merely the first step. If it sees that it has successfully waged the dog with such a distraction, it may feel forced to take the strategy to the next level and actually do as we all fear and actually get people killed by starting a real war with real lives at risk in Korea or Iran.

This is not some idle, imaginary situation. It seems a very real possibility that if the gross malfeasance of the Trump Administration to date is any indication, they won’t blink an eye to use whatever means necessary to push through their hateful agenda.

That I’m getting so worked up about this proves I’m right. Trump is using the Paris Accord departure to piss people like me off, while fluffing the base. All Steve Bannon cares about is placating the base and if there is one thing that core 30% of the population that makes up Trumplandia loves, is seeing the liberal Washington Establishment run around like a chicken with its head cut off.

So, you can explain to me all you like how Trump’s reasoning for leaving the Paris Accord is complete and total bullshit, that’s besides the point. Trumplandia elected Trump to stir the pot, and the more Trump does just that, the more Trumplandia gets a raging hard-on.

That’s why we really need to cool it about getting so upset about the Paris Accord. We have to prioritize. We need to put issues in something akin to triage. And while it may hurt to do this, to not be so angry about leaving the Paris Accord, it’s far more important that we focus absolutely on Tsar-a-Largo.

Proving collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, while not criminal, would be a very effective hammer against the Vichy Republicans in 2018 and would likely eventually result in impeachment proceedings. Remember, impeachment is a political act and so collusion and the coverup of such collusion would likely rise to the bar of an impeachable act. And that doesn’t even begin to address all the crazy bullshit Trump has done since he got elected.

Hence, I would suggest we keep our eyes on the prize. Don’t get distracted. Don’t allow Trump to wag the dog through his decision to leave the Paris Accord. Keep your powder dry and get ready for the real fight, the fight that may eventually bring Trump down at last.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of the Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Today Was Surreal, Even In The Age Of Trumplandia

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

We have grown accustomed to surreal things happening in this Age of Trumplandia, but today was even more surreal than usual. The big news, of course, was Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. In a Rose Garden address, he gave a pretty bullshit filled explanation for why he did it. It’s my impression that he, as usual, use the opportunity to explain how great and wonderful his administration has been to date. I don’t know this for a fact because I couldn’t bear to watch the address and so I got my information about it second hand from Twitter.

Generally, Twitter was aghast at Trump’s decision. One thing I’ve been reminded over and over again of late, however, is that just because Trump’s lost Twitter — at least the portion of it I follow — doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have a lot of hardcore followers — Trumplandia, if you will.

So the people of The Resistance on Twitter can circle jerk their anger at Trump all they want to, if they want to effect change, if they want to do anything about Trumplandia, they’re going to have go outside their comfort zone and wade into the surreal crazy waters where Trump is still popular. I say that to myself as much as I do anyone else. It’s tough though, really tough.

Meanwhile, in other surreal news, Devin Nunes, who allegedly had recused himself from leading the House investigation into Tsar-a-Largo, apparently issued some subpoenas not to get to the bottom of that problem, but of another problem dear to his heart — the notion that there was some evil “unmasking” that took place on the part of the Obama Administration. It really is enough to make you say, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

Put these two events together and you really have a surreal day. We can laugh all we want to at covfefe, but the time for laugher or rage is over. We need to start getting a lot more serious about how we act towards Trumplandia. We need to realize that there is a very real chance that Trump will eventually manage to mitigate, if not overcome his staggering malfeasance to such an extent that he is able to take the damage he’s inflicting on the nation at home and abroad to the next level.

There are alarming signs that he may be able to do just that sooner rather than later. No enormous bombshells have gone off for a few days and he continues to mull a major shake up of White House staff. As people keep saying, a fish rots from its head, so there is also the possibility that Trump can shake things all he wants and his personal inability to be a good president will get in the way.

One thing we can not assume, and that’s the Trump is going anywhere anytime soon. He’s not quitting and he’s not getting impeached. And even if he did get impeached, he’s probably not going to be convicted. We’re stuck with him. We’re stuck with him for at least a sold two years, and I only mention that because the 2018 mid-terms are the first opportunity The Resistance has to do anything about Trump.

But history does not go in a straight line. Russians could hack into the election system again. Trump could wag the dog in the DPRK or Iran. Any number of different things could happen would allow Trump to ease on past the 2018 mid-terms and sprint to 2020 and beyond. That’s why we have to stop raging and start engaging. That’s why we have to stop laughing at Trump and start taking his policies seriously.

The sooner we do these things, the sooner we can put Trumplandia behind us and get to work making America great again, the greatest it had before January 20, 2017.

The Damage Wrought By The Trump Administration May Be Irrevocable

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The truly frightening thing about the Trump Administration is the damage it inflicts upon the United States both domestically and internationally may be irrevocable. The damage might have been mitigated if Congress wasn’t run by Vichy Republicans, but, alas, that’s just not the case.

With Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accords, the United States has now begun a dangerous, unprecedented journey into unprecedented and turbulent waters. What’s worse, for the residents of Trumplandia, they see Trump’s decision to pull out of the accords as yet another campaign promise kept.

All of this is pretty surreal to me. The very people who 20 or 30 years ago would have called for the head of anyone who so willfully played into the strategic aims of the Russians, now applaud someone who seems hell bent on completely upending some pretty core beliefs that the people we once considered the Part of Reagan were supposed to hold so dear.

Again, I have to reflect on how similar all of this is to Vichy France. This is a truly bizarre situation politically and it’s even more bizarre given that it takes four years to get out of the Paris Accords and we won’t be officially out of them until the day after election day in 2020.

What concerns me the most is that while we’re all so busy falloning over the latest comical screw up on the part of Donald Trump, we’re going to totally miss the significant, long-term damage Trump is going to inflict upon us. The only thing I can compare this to is a even more damaging version of the Reagan Revolution of 1981 that caused so much harm to the American middle class.

We may very look back at this period as the moment when not only did America grow sicker, poorer and less educated, but we lurched towards an semi-imperial autocratic form of government, with the Constitutionally mandated open presidential seat every eight years being the only thing the only thing that prevent us from conspicuously no longer being a republic.

The truly horrific quality to all of this is there a slow-moving train crash quality to it all. We can see what is happening, but because of the callow, complicit nature of the Vichy Republicans, there is little, if nothing, we can do in real terms to stop what we’re seeing and experiencing.

With America in retreat, there now exists a moral power vacuum. A land rush is now happening as different regional powers struggle and jostle to figure out where they stand in this new reality. Even if the United States at some point in the future came roaring back through effective leadership, the damage is already done. And that doesn’t even begin to address the chaos we’ll have to live through should the DPRK attack South Korea or Russia attack Ukraine in a general war.

So, this has stopped being funny to me. I’m not saying I won’t laugh when Stephen Colbert tears into Trump during his monologue, but we’ve reached the point where there is officially a serious edge to things. We have a mad, tyrannical emperor on our hands whose only check is his own egregious incompetence and active malfeasance.

If there’s anything we can do to fix this situation, it is to actively use our rights while we still have them. Don’t rage, engage. Keep fighting the good fight. Don’t lose hope. I would like to think that the American spirit is stronger even than a president with unchecked power because of the surreal obsequiousness of his party.

Americans aren’t Russians, so you can spout all the political theory you like at me about how easy it will be for Trump to inflict a “managed democracy” on the United States through the tried and true methods of a modern autocracy, I just don’t buy it.

I’m not saying that Trump will be impeached. Nor am I saying that even if he is impeached that he will be convicted. I am saying, however, that while I honesty do fear for the fate of the Republic, that I fear my long-standing worry that Trump is an existential threat to its continued success is being realized, I also have an innate hope that we’ll bounce back a lot quicker than anyone might expect.

I just don’t see the American people standing for the dystopian reality that is too easy for me to project. It just seems like something’s gotta give eventually. I don’t know what it will be, but it seems like even if we’re living in an autocracy now, that the traditional ebb and flow of American politics will simply be too great for it to last.

We survived the Civil War, we survived Prohibition and we’ll survive this.

I hope.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Let’s Face It, Trump Probably Isn’t Going To Get Impeached

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

A cold hard fact of modern American politics is the Republicans are so complicit, so Vichy in their support for the possibly treasonous administration of Donald Trump that we’re stuck with Trump for a solid two years, if not longer.

The conditions that have brought us to this point are so complex that they probably would require a few fairly long books to fully detail. The United States is so politically polarized — and the Right so well organized when it comes to a culture of faux victimization — that even if it’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump personally colluded with the Russians, he just ain’t getting impeached anytime soon.

And I am not one who believes there is any assurance that there will be a “Blue Wave” in 2018. It could be that there will be a lot talk but for various reasons nothing will happen. That two, four, six years from now we’ll still be talking about how if only this or that thing happened Trump will be impeached.

What’s more, remember that even if Trump was impeached by the House, it doesn’t mean he would be convicted by the Senate. That’s something that’s never happened in our nation’s history and since Trump will never resign, his conviction would be the only way to get rid of him.

We’re entering a surreal time in our nation’s political history where we’re so polarized that while about half the nation is openly talking about collusion, treason and impeachment then conviction, the other half think it’s just an evil plot by unpatriotic loser liberals who are looking for a reason to explain their unexpected Electoral College loss.

It’s all enough to leave you bewildered.

Even worse from my point of view, there’s no reason to believe Trump won’t right his personal ship of state and not only survive, but prosper. He may very well serve out his term and manage to use his weirdly adroit political skill to get Mike Pence elected as his successor.

A lot of my worry about this possible scenario comes from the division and weakness of The Resistance. The Democratic Party is split between the liberal Hillary Clinton wing and the social democratic Bernie Sanders wing and it’s easy to imagine that rift opening up to such an extent that a major center-Left independent candidate would run in 2020 and we’d really be fucked.

History rarely goes in a straight line, so there are any number of different ways things might play out. An unexpected strong candidate out of left field like Jon Stewart might throw a lot of my personal assumptions out the window.

But my main concern is that the United States isn’t a liberal democracy anymore. That we’ve entered a new epoch in our history where the only thing that prevents us from being a semi-imperial autocracy is the fact that there’s an assured open presidential seat every eight years. When the final political history of the United States is written that quirk of our Constitutional system may be seen as the thing that made it more difficult for us to realize that we had finally evolved out of our traditional republican roots.

The really scary thing about the Trump Administration is there is a real risk that it will do irrevocable harm to the country in ways that may take generations to fix. Our decades old reputation as the moral leader of the free world may be gone for good. It might require some exceptional leadership on the part of future presidents to bring that back and the system we have now is so corrupt that it’s unlikely that is going to happen anytime soon.

If it weren’t for that particular aspect, the Trump Administration wouldn’t be so scary. The thing about Trump is it’s too easy to fall into the trap of falloning him when he tweets something like covfefe to such an extent that we totally lose sight of him leaving the Paris Accords or appointing psychopathic Federal judges or whatever. The amount of damage Trump can inflict on the republic is so wide and deep that it is breathtaking.

What’s even more disheartening is there is really no recourse other than being politically engaged. As I have begun to say at every opportunity: Don’t rage, engage. Do your civic duty on an individual level to help, even in a small way, the continuance of our civil society. Don’t assume that just because someone disagrees with you that they are trolling you. Vote. Protest. Speak out when given the opportunity. Call your Representative and Senator on a regular basis.

The strength of American civil society is pretty much all we got at this point. It may take generations for the full impact of the Trump Administration to be fully understood. But don’t have any regrets. Don’t look back and realize you didn’t do your part to prevent a dystopia from being not just the thing of fanciful dreams, but a very cold, hard reality.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

How To Kill Twitter & Disrupt The Newspaper Business While Saving The Republic

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Trumplandia is very much a product of social media and more specifically Twitter. The case could be made that the combination of Russian hacking, Trump campaign collusion along with Twitter and FOX News made the crucial difference when it came to the outcome of the election.

In other words, the system failed and now we have a celebrity Twitter troll with a penchant for the Russians as president.

So, after that sinks in, let’s think about what the problems with Twitter are and how to fix them.

It seems as though there are two major problems with Twitter: how easy it is to peddle fake news and how the fact that you only have 140 characters make it difficult to carry on an intelligent conversation. As I have articulated at great length on Instagram, I have a pretty clear vision of how to fix those two problems while adding any number of features that no one asked for.

The crux of my vision is verified accounts would have more power than the average users. People with verified accounts could create things I call Groups. Within Groups would be Discussions would be threaded discussions that allowed for more cogent debate than currently found on Twitter or even Reddit or Facebook. As I have repeatedly said, what I want is to bring back the core concepts of Usenet in such a way that some of the features that we lost over the years would be brought back.

We really need to address the issue of fake news and I think giving verified account holders some sense that they were stake holders would cause them to produce more content that would hopefully flood the zone and crowd out fake news. This, of course, doesn’t address that Right Wing Nut Jobs believe what they want to believe and their anger at the status quo is so surreal in nature that I may be fooling myself.

Now, imagine that a newspaper company like Tronc was to create this Twitter Killer. I am of the opinion that the only way to disrupt the newspaper business is from within, so it’s possible that Tronc could fund a startup and that startup would turn around and disrupt the newspaper business by re-imagining what a newspaper was from the ground up.

In my vision of things, a newspaper company like Tronc would detach its writers from the print product, make them verified account holders in a new social media platform and not only save the newspaper business but the Republic as well.

Something needs to be done, is all I’m saying. We’re in dire straights right now and only by doing something dramatic can we dig ourselves out of this hole we find ourselves in. If we don’t figure out how to prevent the Russians from hacking our elections system, they are going to do it again.

Trumplandia & The Fate Of Ukraine

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It is difficult not to see the ultimate end-game of Donald Trump’s Russophila eventually being a strategic sell out of Ukraine. It just seems as though soon enough Putin will use whatever leverage he has on Trump to get what he really wants — land.

Of course, it will be dressed up any number of different ways. Trump will say he’s making America great again through strong bi-lateral ties with Russia after a face-to-face meet and greet. But the cold hard reality will be that Putin will be given a free hand to attack Ukraine in an unprecedented manner.

Given that even if collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia is proven the Vichy Republicans won’t blink and eye, it makes total sense that they would also lie down should Trump shake Putin’s hand and nod that it’s ok for the Russians to eat a third of Ukraine.

I don’t know the exact way this would go down, of course. It might be that Trump would incite a war with the DPRK and in the subsequent confusion the Russians would attack Ukraine and then we would have something marketed by the American press as World War 3. That’s how serious all of this is.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the issue of NATO. What would happen if any of the Baltic states were attacked by Russia and yet Trump sat on his hands if they invoked Article 5 which requires all NATO members to defend each other if one is attacked? That is some pretty momentous stuff That is the kind of stuff that kind of boggles the mind.

We’re in the midst of pretty astonishing events on a geo-political level. There now is an enormous power vacuum on the world stage and different nations are jostling to figure out who gets additional power. It goes without saying that such confusion and uncertainty is how wars start.

All of this is even more staggering for me, a child of the Cold War when it was the Republicans who accused the Democrats of being soft on Russia. The idea that Republicans would be so callow, so absolute in their desire to obtain and retain power that they would, in effect, become Vichy Republicans is tragic, to say the least.

What’s worse is there doesn’t seem to be any easy way out. The Republican Party is now at a rhetorical dead end. There doesn’t seem to be any way for them to get out now that they have decided to follow Trump anywhere he leads them. The power of the Trumplandia base over the Vichy Republicans is seemingly so absolute as to be surreal.

Hence, I don’t have much hope when it comes to the fate of Ukraine. Things are kind of calm right now in eastern Ukraine, but that could change at any moment. And, really, the only thing that makes me reluctant to think the Russians won’t strike against Ukraine in a general war is how small the Russian economy is. It is, as I understand it, smaller than Italy. So, it would be difficult for Putin to use hard power on Ukraine in a way whereby he could not only obtain a big chunk of Ukraine, but keep it long-term.

The reason why I say this is, much like what happened in the 1980s with Afghanistan, if Ukraine was invaded by the Russian army in a big way, the country would be flooded with arms from all over the globe, even if, sadly, they did not come from the United States.

Of course, if Trump was to hide in his Fortress of Solitude and not use America’s traditional moral leadership to inspire the Ukrainians, everything would be significantly more complicated. Really, our only hope at this point is to flip Congress in 2018. That is by no means assured, so we’ll just have to wait and see. I would be lying to you if I didn’t see this, from a geopolitical standpoint, as pretty scary stuff.

But hopefully everything will work out in the long run. There are no assurances it will, but you have to have hope.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Vichy Republicans & Their Big Meh At Trump’s Collusion With The Russians

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

If there is any central event that signifies how fucked the United States is because of the rise of Trumplandia it’s the fact that as we careen towards the very real possibility of proved collusion between the Russians and the 2016 Trump campaign, there’s a growing chorus of people on the Right who shrug and say: So what, no laws were broken.

That’s pretty much the core belief of Trumplandia. There is no shame, no sense of how bad something might look as long as you win and keep power.

This intertwines quiet well with the absolute complete inability to recognize the repeated, staggering hypocrisy that members of the Right have to engage in on a daily basis to maintain their absolute support for their Dear Leader, Donald Trump.

Trumpandia citizens rail about liberal celebrities telling them how to vote, then turn around and vote for a celebrity. They make the use of a private email server on the part of Hillary Clinton a huge campaign issue, then their Dear Leader asks world leaders to call him on his personal insecure cellphone. The list goes on and on.

But the idea that even if we prove collusion that it doesn’t matter because no laws were broken really takes the cake. It seems to me that this is the first step in the defense of Donald Trump down the road once collusion is, in fact, proven.

This brings up an interesting point. The Right acts as if they’re so fucking oppressed and yet they are on a hair trigger to attack any screw up on the part of the Left. President Obama gets caught on a hot mic once that he will have more flexibility with them diplomatically after the election and Right Wing Nut Jobs try to compare that to could have been a wide-ranging, sweeping collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign in 2016.

Let that sink in for a moment.

All of this, of course, gets even more murky when you realize that the Vichy Republicans are so complicit this collusion that it is highly unlikely there would be any consquences even politically for Trump should it be proven beyond a doubt that there was active collusion with the Russians. It goes without saying that had Hillary Clinton’s campaign done anything like that, there would be hell to pay.

So all of this makes the rise of Trumplandia even more dire. It makes even more urgent that Congress flip in 2018. But given the shameless nature of the Republicans and the very methods that they actively use to prevent voting, it is a possible there will be no “Blue Wave.” It could be that we’re no longer a democracy at all. It could be that Trump will be proven to be, on an ethical level a traitor, but on a legal level not so much.

As I keep saying, the only thing I can compare this to is Vichy France. That’s the only time in the last 100 years or so where a nation was prostrate to another nation in such a willful manner. Also, if anything shows how we need to stop falloning Trump everytime he makes a stupid typo on Twitter, this is it.

I know it makes us feel better to get a good laugh from the boorish behavior of the president, but we need to wake up. We need to start taking all of this a lot more seriously. Instead of laughing, we should be figuring out more effective ways to combat Trumplandia.

So, as I keep saying, don’t rage, engage. Think of constructive ways you can engage in the political process to help save this nation that we all hold so dear. We no longer have to worry about the prospect of a dystopian future, we now live in a very dystopian present.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Tsar-A-Largo: Trump Is A Quisling

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

When people are openly talking about the leader of the free world maybe being a Russian agent, we got a problem. But that’s pretty much what one of my favorite writers, Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine, is suggesting this piece at the magazine’s website.

What Chait can’t quite figure out, though, is if Trump is a willful participant in treason, or if he’s just so stupid and easily influenced by flattery that it just seems that way.

The latest huge amount of smoke in this growing scandal, which I refer to as Tsar-a-Largo, is the weird backchannel that Trump’s ever-silent son-in-law Jared Kushner wants to setup with the Russians during the transition. It’s all very weird.

The whole thing is murky and there are no easy answers. It is chilling, however, that Trump is pretty much doing exactly what you would think a quisling would do in this situation: he’s trying to destroy the post WWII liberal order that has kept us from all dying in WWIII.

But now we’re having to brace ourselves for some extraordinary times. Some pretty weird things are going to happen in the coming days and there are no easy answers, in large part because the Vichy Republicans simply refuse to do their Constitutional duty and be a check and balance on the presidency.

It’s just not going to happen anytime soon. We’re all very screwed, it seems.

What Do The Russians Have On Trump?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Well, well, well, this is interesting. CNN is reporting that U.S. intelligence agencies overheard the Russians saying they had “derogatory” information on Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Time to pull out this age old favorite:

The CNN report says, specifically:

One source described the information as financial in nature and said the discussion centered on whether the Russians had leverage over Trump’s inner circle. The source said the intercepted communications suggested to US intelligence that Russians believed “they had the ability to influence the administration through the derogatory information.”

But the sources, privy to the descriptions of the communications written by US intelligence, cautioned the Russian claims to one another “could have been exaggerated or even made up” as part of a disinformation campaign that the Russians did during the election.

This is yet another instance of where they’re smoke there’s fire. There comes a point when you have to believe that there may be, in fact, something to all of this Russia stuff. The true sad aspect of it all is that candidate Trump did not even try to hide his Russophila. He was quiet clear that he had a thing for Russia and yet the residents of Trumplandia still voted for him.

That, if nothing else, says that the waters of Trumplandia run deep in the American psyche and it is going to take a lot more than any of us possibly imagine to get rid of Trump. He’s just not going anywhere, potentially for eight years.

We’re going to have to start figuring out ways to mitigate the damage Trump can inflict personally on the Republic. Really, the only thing I can think of off the top of my head is, again: Don’t rage, engage. In other words, don’t just get mad.

There is going to come a point when we’re going to have to stop thinking every time someone disagrees with you that they’re trying to troll you. If we can’t get past that fallacy, we’re all completely fucked.

The Vision Thing: ‘Be Engaged, Not Outraged’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have given it some though and it seems as though for all this talk of not being outraged, there is an easy response: “Be engaged, not outraged.”

In other words, instead of getting angry all the time over the latest bigoted, misogynist, racist thing that has happened in Trumplandia, use whatever talent you have to combat it. For me, that’s doing this site. I am a pretty good writer, photographer and organizer. I am good at articulating a vision.

As Trumplandia and Tsar-a-Largo grinds on, the only way we can effectively prevent ourselves from being burnt out is to engage. Push the urge to be angry all the time aside and be energized and engaged in an effort to make the world a better place, to defeat Trumplandia once and for all.

If that means leaving your online cocoon and talking to someone who disagrees with you, so be it. That is probably one of the major problems we have a society right now. People simply refuse to talk to someone who disagrees with them because they think they’re trolling them.

At least in my personal experience, I think maybe that’s a scar from the Russian hacking of our election last year. We were mentally violated by a deluge of paid trolls and bots that were designed to make us fell unsafe online. It’s really tough after such an experience not to retreat to a “safe place” and avoid anyone who disagrees with you. But the crux of civil society is debate between people who disagree, so we can’t give up hope just yet. If we do, then our foe Russia has won even more than just the election of Donald Trump.

So, this site’s vision is to be a place to inform you, entertain you and maybe get you engaged instead of outraged. I have all kinds of cool daydreams that could become a reality with a little help. I really like what the folks of Crooked Media are going, but they aren’t doing enough in my opinion. All they do are weekly podcasts and I need and want something that happens significantly more often. Like on a daily, hourly basis if not even more than that. News seems to break so much these days, it would be nice to have a site that you immedately went to read up on it. Now, of course, Twitter pretty much serves that purpose to some extent, but I guess I’d like something a bit more long form. And since nothing really exists, I guess I feel like creating it myself.

On a personal note, I can’t do this alone if my vision is to become a reality. I need someone to help me. I can’t pay — at least right now — but I do have a decent amount of publishing experience and you could probably leverage your work on this site to get a paying job down the road. At least, that’s the delusion I tell myself when I think it’s possible someone might help me.

Yet, I would like to think maybe someone, somewhere might be willing to put in a minimal amount of effort to help me. All I really need is someone willing to write a little bit to supplement the writing that I do. More importantly, should this site take off — which I seriously doubt it will — I am going to need some donations of some sort for bandwidth, marketing and improving site appearance.

Yet I have very low expectations. Very low indeed. Unless something dramatic happens, I’ll get bored of this soon enough and move on to something else. But it’s definitely fun while it lasts.