We 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,