Outrage, Dialogue, and Freelance Writers

by Anne Wayman

Outrage, Dialogue, and Freelance WritersWe freelance writers are in a unique position. We have the ability to move people with our stories. We can persuade people to do things differently. We can help build bridges of understanding.

It probably won’t surprise those who follow this blog that I’m outraged and frightened by this first week of President Trump’s actions. So I’m doing two things:

  • I’m expressing my outrage through petitions, calls to congress, marching in the Woman’s March, etc. 
  • I’m also working at really listening to Trump supporters, and talking with them. So far this is mostly on forums.

Breaking out of my bubble

I am willing to listen and consider carefully what’s being said. I really meant what I said in How This Writer Helped Elect Trump Through Carelessness. And I find being outraged a whole lot easier than really listening and talking. It’s easier talking with folks I know agree with me and I know far more people who think like I do than I know those who don’t.



There is so much I don’t understand. For example, I’ve been reading what the women who supported Trump have to say about his ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ remark. Apparently many are simply not outraged, and buy the idea of locker room talk. Okay, that’s a difference of opinion and experience.

But what about the denial of science? A couple of years ago I spent more than a few hours talking with someone who mostly denies that humans are contributing to climate change. I took me along time to realize he wasn’t denying the changes, just the cause. That worried me because it limits, perhaps, how much we can work to reduce the damage. I still don’t agree with him, nor him with me, but I learned some things I didn’t know which is always valuable.

Gag orders on science, however, appall me. The ACLU puts some legal perspective on this in Government Employees Get to Have Opinions, Too which is an interesting read. There is also a petition circulating urging transparency. It can’t hurt to sign one.

I also love the response of some rogue National Park Rangers and have subscribed to “AltUSNatParkService” on twitter. And I doubt if I’ll ever accept the concept of “alternative facts,” but if someone wants to explain that to me, I’ll listen.

Use your writing voice!

I’m urging all my readers, no matter if they are liberal or progressive like me, or something else to use their writing ability to express reasoned outrage and to reach out to those we disagree with. The former may actually change some minds, and the latter will increase understanding.

Make sense? Let us all know in comments.

Write well and often,

disaster



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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy Strain January 26, 2017 at 8:39 pm

I’m guilty as well of taking the easy way out. Rather than engage in the conversations that would crop up on my social media feeds whenever I posted about a ‘controversial’ topic that I thought was self-evident, I just backed out on the pretense that I simply don’t have time to devote to the conversation. Part of the struggle I have is when to take time to discuss the issues and when to back out of the conversation simply because we cannot agree on the underlying facts. I really don’t have time to go back and educate someone on the full history of the U.S. and I resent the accusation that because I am a former journalist, I must lie. Pride of profession meant I investigated everything I printed and insisted on more than one reliable source for claims. The propagandist approach of deny, distort, and distract is certainly in full effect among less scrupulous pundits. Any suggestions on how to engage without warfare on these points?
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Anne Wayman January 27, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Not yet, Wendy… but I’m working on it. I caught myself getting really angry with someone today… apologized, explained O didn’t have the capacity and we set an appointment for Tuesday… I know we disagree… I want to understand more of his thinking. I was feeling thin because I’d had a fruitful but productive conversation with another person I love and disagree with on many things… I hung in there, but I was exhausted. So I’m just learning this myself. Let’s stay in touch – I think signed up for your newsletter… and I think I found your fb page… all my contact info is on this site and several others. We may never agree – but it seems we can at least learn from each other, which isn’t a bad thing.

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Sue Chehrenegar January 26, 2017 at 6:28 pm

I did not understand why supporters of the women’s march were mad at those news channels that decided to cover the interfaith service on Saturday. I enjoyed watching that coverage. During the rest of the day those news channels scheduled lots of time for coverage of the women’s march.

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Anne Wayman January 27, 2017 at 4:16 pm

Sue, I didn’t know this had happened… I think coverage of an interfaith service is a grand idea and I’m glad it happened. Where was it? And yes, there was lots of coverage of the women’s march… I was annoyed that so much of the media called it an anti-Trump march… wasn’t anti anything or anyone…not where I was… was about stuff we probably all want, peace, a save environment, good schools, etc. etc.

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Sue Chehrenegar January 28, 2017 at 9:54 am

The interfaith service took place at the Washington Cathedral one week ago today. Our new President was there, following the tradition established by George Washington. I enjoyed watching the reactions made by one of President Trump’s granddaughters as clergy from different religions came up the aisle between the pews.

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Anne Wayman January 30, 2017 at 7:59 am

Lovely… were the granddaughters surprised?

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Anne Wayman February 5, 2017 at 8:49 am

Thanks for the explanation, Sue… I’ll bet that was interesting.

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Paula Hendrickson January 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm

I’m a lifelong independent, so I can’t understand how or why either party can think it’s in the best interest of the nation to do anything possible to thwart everything the other side wants to do. The end result is a massive sea change like the one we’re going through.

But here’s the thing: You don’t accomplish anything with gag orders, blatantly citing “alternative facts,” and stripping people of basic human rights. Unless you’re trying to create a totalitarian state.

Most people have one or two big issues that determine which politicians (or parties) they support. For me, as a self-employed person who’s had to pay for my own health insurance for 20 years, health insurnace is my big issue.

I’m not stupid. There are flaws in the ACA. But without it I wouldn’t be able to afford insurance. Even before Obamacare my premiums often went up 40% or more per year (the only times I didn’t switch was if the hikes were 20% or less)—often while reducing the already spotty coverage. If the ACA is abolished without an affordable and comprehensive alternative in place—I will no longer have access to healthcare.

I truly hope the new president meant it when he said he wanted health insurance for everyone, but I don’t see how rushing to abolish the ACA will fix anything. It’s too complex an issue to rush.

I hope most people on all areas the political spectrum can agree on one thing: we all want what’s best for the nation.

We just need to drop the rhetoric and start listening to each other. There is common ground if we look hard enough and realize we’re all entitled to different opinions.

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Cheryl January 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Ladies, I’m sorry, but I am a fervent Trump supporter. This country was on the verge of being lost forever and is being brought back. No borders=No country. Trump is for jobs, law and order, helping the inner cities, improving education, standing against radical Islamic terrorism which murder people in horrific ways, bringing back jobs, standing against the elite of the world who want to create a NWO at the expense of any not in their club, improving the economy, bringing back jobs (hmmm, I said that three times, I guess it’s important) and going back to the original intent of the Constitution. The stock market has boomed. People are encouraged. Writers should be busy in the years ahead as new businesses need B2C or B2B articles. I really don’t understand the hysteria. Of course, I am well aware of the fact that years ago, this was stated, that the purpose of the “journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to villify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary.” (John Swinton) So a lot of that definitely happened during the pre-election days as is proved out by the fact that all the “experts” were wrong (lied). As for climate change, Lord Monckton, who is both a former British politician and a mathematician has found the fatal flaw in the climate change story. It is being vetted by proper scientific channels and should be published in definitive scientific publications some time in the future. Be of good cheer. Things are not as bad as some would make them out to be.
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Anne Wayman January 26, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Cheryl… ouch… and I’m glad you’re here. It may surprise you that I’m a vaccine skeptic… largely because of the number of vaccines. As I understand it the thimerosal is a derivative of mercury and has been almost completely eliminated http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228#tox and I had no idea Trump had tapped RFK Jr. to form a commission to look into it. I’m glad that happened.

As far as the raid on the CDC, well http://www.snopes.com/fbi-raids-cdc-vaccine-data/

We disagree on many things… and I’m glad you’re speaking out…

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Kate Swindlehurst January 26, 2017 at 11:40 am

I think you’re absolutely right. I share your outrage and yes we have to express this but this is the easy bit. We need to go further, listen to those whose views we disagree with, talk to them, engage with them. Like you I’m happier in my bubble – but I do want to understand and learn – and, if I still think I’m right, hope that through dialogue I can change minds.

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Anne Wayman January 26, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Thanks, Kate. We’re simpatico it seems.

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