No Thank You, Trump America

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It was quiet in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC on election night.

It saddens me to see so much racism and bigotry erupt within days of Donald Trump’s election. Even more disgusting is the way Washington insiders and business luminaries, people who fought so hard against Trump, have flip flopped and suddenly support his presidency, essentially ignoring the intense xenophobia, bigotry and misogyny we have witnessed over the past year. Of course, these people have political and business interests at stake.

I do not. Even if I did have interests at stake, I would not sacrifice my principles and would continue to fight Trump.

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A woman texts and clutches the fence separating the White House and Lafayette Park on election night.

And yet Trumpers say, Give him a chance. We must come together and support him, they say. Worse, some are insistent that people should not protest.

No thank you, Trump America.

Though Trumpers keep trying to stymie public dissatisfaction with the election, more and more protests break out. And with good reason. Telling people to be silent and endure is the beginning of a fascist state. Silence the opposition, and force them to get in line.

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No thank you, Trump America.

I have experienced similar push back every time I have published a photo from election night or a protest photo depicting a scene that is not pro-Trump. The below photo received an extra amount of angst and misogyny on Instagram and in a private Facebook group. In other cases I have been trolled online by pro-Trumpers telling me to move to a different country, or shut up, or to read the bible, or some other form of bullying.

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In all cases I have simply deleted their comments. This is not dialogue, this is more xenophobia, bigotry and misogyny. It borders on fascism and violates protesters’ civil rights.

Not My President

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A despondent woman outside of the White House on election night.

This hateful orange buffoon now elected president is someone I must suffer. The acts of the people he has inspired are Deplorable. I will not give him an open mind because he has given me enough data to make a conclusive decision about his character. He is not my president.

It is unfortunate that so many Americans felt this disenfranchised that they were desperate enough to take this risk on. Our political parties were so weak that they could not come together and meet our country’s needs.

But Trump is a liar. He has lied about bringing back manufacturing jobs, building the wall, kicking out immigrants, and making fat cats like himself pay more taxes. Even if the Trump risk pays off — which it won’t — the impact on civil liberties will create a dark stain on America’s fiber for decades.

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Protest in San Antonio.

After all of Donald Trump’s behavior and deceitful acts over the past year, and continuing lies and backtracking, he needs to earn my respect, not the other way around. His election has destroyed the prestige of the Presidency. Until he behaves his way into a more mindful and respectful disposition for a significant period of time, I will continue to assess Trump as a dangerous narcissist that hoodwinked America.

At the same time, he will be in power for four years. It is what it is. My best recourse is to fight for the protection of civil liberties, and continue to actively seek new and better politicians than what either party is currently offering.

We Must Be Vigilant

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San Antonio protesters.

When George W. Bush won the oval office there was unease in Washington, but things settled in relatively quickly. Then 9-11 hit, and the rest was history. By the time Iraq occurred any pushback against W. was labelled as Un-American, Liberal, or Un-Patriotic. Eventually people became outspoken in spite of W.

Donald Trump and his presidency do not deserve the opportunity that W. got. I have seen more swastikas in the past week than I have in the past decade. I have seen more reports of hate crimes in the past week than I have in the past year, and that’s in spite of Trump’s caustic presidential campaign and the many reports of police violence against African Americans.

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Protest in front of the White House on election night.

Islamic Americans are wondering if it is their turn to flee. Mexican Americans — some who have been here for generations — and other Latin American immigrants — legal and illegal — fear the potential impact on their lives. Women wonder if they will have to fight off pimply white males assaulting them. On and on it goes. It is time to stand up to hate crime at every opportunity.

Trump and that small group of supporters who are using this election as an endorsement of xenophobia, bigotry and misogyny cannot be given mulligan after mulligan. We will lose everything that makes America free and inclusive if we allow that to happen.

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Two men waiting for a Hillary party that never happened in front of the White House.

A word of caution to those who disagree with Trump: We cannot fight hate with hate. Violence destroys the message. Protestors have invoked the swastika as a method of protesting against Trump. I have been the subject of persecution in my past. My relatives in Europe flee-ed the Nazi threat. This is not a casual reference. In fact, it is a hurtful one, one that inspires as much fear and hate in protest as it seeks to combat. The more mindful we can be about our use of symbolism, the more impactful our message will be.

We must say no, we must raise our voice, but we have to take on the principles of Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Peaceful protest is the way. We cannot hurt others to save ourselves. This is something that we must repeat over and over again. Civil disobedience must invoke peaceful change.

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Protest in San Antonio.

Given the amount of vitriol I have already received from hateful pro-Trump supporters, I have closed comments on this blog post. Please continue the conversation with me on social networks.

Wipe the Ledger Clean to Forgive

Forgiving others may be one of the hardest things to do, but it’s equally important. By forgiving, we are forgiven.

The act of forgiveness is often about clearing resentments from the past, perceived and real. That means wiping the ledger, and offering people a second chance. Specifically, give folks a clean slate to live without judgement.

Everyone is human and makes mistakes varying in degrees of sillyness, selfishness, and incompetence. Find me a perfect person, and I’ll find you a liar. When it comes to doing the right thing, we all live in glass houses to some extent.

Judging others and pointing fingers is a very dangerous game. Inevitably, people who spend their time judging others have their own flaws. That includes me.

My friend David likes to remind me that if I want to be forgiven for some of my errors, I need to do the same and let others off the hook. I have to accept people for the good and the bad.

Friday’s post about walking away from relationships generated some great comments. In one response, I stated a willingness to give anyone a chance, and then if I am disappointed or if someone does something crazy, I weigh the positives and the negatives. I am responsible for the outcome of the second chance or misnomer because I made a conscious decision to accept them for who they are, good and bad. No one is perfect, right?

If there is anything nine years of marriage has taught me, it’s to let people off the hook. If I keep score and hold grudges in my relationships, they will always be tenuous.

Forgive, But Don’t Forget

There are some mistakes that cannot and should not be forgotten. For example, it’s hard to overcome criminal acts such as violence and stealing works from people. These are obvious moments that should serve as a warning about second chances.

At the same time, some people do change. There are times when we extend a hand, and try to help someone overcome a terrible burden. But only a fool would do so blindly.

More often than not we’re really dealing with minor wrongs, too. For example, consider the person who undermines their fellows consistently. I might accept them for who they are, and let them off the hook. That doesn’t mean I’m going to volunteer to get shown up again. Far from it, I will wish them well, but avoid teaming with them.

Live and Let Live

There is a big difference between stewing on a resentment, wanting a fair deal, etc., and walking away and wishing someone well. To live and let live, I need to forgive. And then move on, and wish the other person well on their path.

I knew someone several years ago who just trashed me left and right. The trash talking was quite damaging, and I was really angry. At the first opportunity to do so, I cut all ties (which of course produced more trash talking). It has been several years, and I still wish to have no contact with this person. Nothing that I have seen from afar indicates that a new chapter in the relationship would produce a different result.

At the same time, I recently heard that x was expecting a child, their first one. I know the joy of parenthood, and was really quite happy for x. I felt a sense of joy and wished x well in mind and spirit.

Then I went back home, played with Soleil, and wrote another chapter for my next novel.

Live and let live means truly wishing others well, and dropping the rock. This is compassion. They have their path, I have mine, and neither needs to be defined as right or wrong. It just is, and that’s the joy of being human.

Forgiveness finds a basis in accepting others AND ourselves. I can only improve myself, and choose to love those in my life, both the good and the bad. It’s much better to be happy that others have a chance to live life to its fullest, and improve if they want to.

What do you think about forgiveness?

Image by Murrayh77

Tips from Communities Demonstrating Sustainable Technology Adaptation

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The following content is based on original interviews with:

Thank you to all five for taking the time to answer my questions.

These research observations are based on interviews with Care2, Dell’s Idea Storm, the Humane Society of the United States, LinkedIn and Wiser Earth. Each of my five subjects has a different role; one providing professionals with vast social networking capabilities; another dedicated to a social network community focused on change of all kinds; a third smaller social network that works to build a sustainable ethos; the fourth, a major cause whose community is network agnostic and focuses on animal rights, and the fifth, Dell’s Idea Storm, is a community crowdsourcing site that has successfully created more than 400 product ideas for the computer manufacturer.

In the cases of Care2 and LinkedIn, their communities existed well before Twitter and Facebook came to prominence. Dell, The Humane Society and Wiser Earth are newer, with their social efforts started in the last four years. All five of them have successfully kept their communities engaged.

While completely different in scope and scale, all five had remarkable similarities in how they have stayed relevant over the years. Whether it was continuing adapting to the community’s changing technology needs, a relentless focus on mission, or empowering access and information exchange through larger networks, these social networks and communities have done what was necessary to survive and prosper. Here’s a glimpse at some of the common approaches they share towards technology adoption.

LinkedIn has a unique technology approach, investing in new products and data analytics, so that professionals can more easily find one another, connect, and discuss topics they care about. Perhaps the greatest example of this is its groups feature set, which at the time of writing had 600,000 groups, with 1000 groups added everyday and 100,000 professionals joining a group every day. Other examples include its People You May Know service and its new popular Company Profiles.

The Humane Society’s team of six community managers is challenged by what could be called consistant platform flux. They need to continue to adapt their approach on networks like Facebook as the networks evolve, in turn producing new community behaviors. For example, as Facebook newsfeeds become flooded with branded messaging, and it becomes more important to be relevant and selective in the organization’s communications. In addition, the team is always experimenting with the latest tools to see which ones the community adapts to. This includes participating and creating contests and experimenting with geo-location tools.

During the first year of Dell’s Ideastorm the platform and how Ideastorm operated and functioned was continually evolving based on community feedback. Three years later, Dell is in the midst of considering how best to evolve Ideastorm. To ensure the evolution serves the community, the company is conducting conversations with the community that will directly impact direction for future.

For example, Dell community members may suggest a relevant idea, but because a product that would use the concept has just been launched, the company ends up tabling it for months. For the new Idea Storm, Dell has beta tested a feature called “storm sessions.” This rapid conversation topic is for a short period with a deadline and requests specific feedback related to any business matter under consideration. This is being considered as potential solution to the time alignment matter between product launches and idea suggestions.

Care2 keeps its community closely in its technology evolution, and goes to great depths to ensure that there are no surprises when a feature set is unleashed. The network deploys surveys, listen to feedback and analyzes usage data before making product decisions, and then solicits feedback before making significant site changes. Wiser Earth management also adheres closely to the community and polls them for feedback on new features, involving them closely in the process.

Integrating Major Social Networks

To not use beachheads on major social networks is to deny one’s effort access to the larger Fifth Estate. General networks like Twitter and Facebook serve as beachheads to participate in larger community conversations. By engaging in these networks, an organization can draw interested parties into more specific community conversations.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, community members rarely limit their conversation to one network or one topic. Empowering fluid conversation out of specific community conversations only makes sense.

Both Care2 and Wiser Earth integrated Facebook and Twitter connectivity as the networks rose to prominence. Wiser Earth opened WiserEarth’s directory via an API, in a campaign called OpenWiser, and its executive director Peggy Duvette runs their Twitter presence. Care2 deploys community managers operating on Facebook and Twitter, added its petition functionality as an application on Facebook, and has also integrated Stumble Upon into its offering.

While LinkedIn is more of a direct, more professional competitor to Facebook, it, too integrated Twitter capabilities into its status update offering. This offering creates a popular feature that turns the LinkedIn updates into tweets, and profession tweets into status posts using the #in hashtag.

As one of the network agnostic player of the five, the Humane Society also plays on both networks. But the organization is mindful that things can change, “It’s important to not focus on the technology, but on the people,” said Carie Lewis. “Build a loyal community so if Facebook disappears and you’re forced to go somewhere else, they will follow.” Dell has integrated Facebook into Idea Storm.

Deeper analysis of these players and their technology use, as well as how these five players address community conversations will be included in my next book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate (the follow up to Now Is Gone, which is almost out of print). Comments may be used in the final edition. You can download the first drafted chapter of the new edition — Welcome to the Fifth Estate — for free.