In the last two weeks, The Trump administration and the Republican majority have begun a demolition of the last eight years. These actions aim to level any progress made during the Obama administration and while that progress is subjective, it wasn't based in totalitarian executive order. For two terms now, we in the political sphere have watched Republican conservatives find fault with almost every major achievement and revel in every mishap.
It's now time for them to, as they promised, hack away at everything they found so detrimental. And they are armed with sharp machetes. Everything from education with newly appointed and highly unqualified SoE Betsy DeVos to preventative health care under the Affordable Care Act are on the chopping block while black and brown people stand to lose liberties long fought for. As Congress—The Senate and the House begin voting on Trump’s nominees for his presidential cabinet, I'm right on that list, googling each name and clicking “follow.”
I find myself now, more than ever during the election cycle, checking and rechecking lists of prominent conservative figure. What's ultimately shocking is how many of my peers are not doing this. At 29, I’m fully aware that I’m not the adult I wished had paid attention to political dealings. I also see the cycle of dissonance and naivety wash over my friends and family. How many of them have cocooned themselves into disbelief and denial, down to the point of not following or googling their new federal representatives, is stunning.
I’ve also noticed with extreme displeasure that people have begun threatening to unfriend those following Republican politicians and even Trump himself. As advocates, activists, and allies, we can't possibly hold officials accountable if we all but ignore their existence, especially online where our society is reflected.
I know tho, ya’ll…following all these bass ackwards folks is daunting! I initially began following Trump and his picks on a separate account because I couldn't bring myself to see the other side of things mixed within my own very radical, blacktivist-centered private accounts. It was a good decision as it allowed me to slowly condition myself to see the similarities and differences between extreme left and alt-right political strategy while allowing me to control the severity of this surreal dystopian reality.
I cannot stress how vital it is that we diligently keep a watchful eye on these fresh scoundrels trickling into office. The old ones weren’t problem-free, but now more than ever, our new administration will be utilizing social media to spin a narrative. A narrative they now have executive control over. The houses will be holding late night vote sessions again. Trump will be up in the wee hours signing documents before “the people” arise from their slumbers. For those with the ability to do so, having a finger on the pulse is important to staying informed and involved.
It's time to follow every seat holder and watch their activities.
It’s time to hunker down and watch them try it with this ain’t-shit propaganda, fam.
I speak to my beloved millennial peers especially when I say, gone are the days of only following favorite politicians. This has nothing to do with supporting or even appreciating these people. Their brands demand you watch their asses night and day. In order to resist STOP ignoring Fox News and pretending it doesn't exist beyond clever memes and late night comedy pundit jokes. This positioning only disrupts one's understanding of what a large chunk of the country believes to be true. What the power majority of this country believes to be true. It's better to be fully immersed than practice dangerous forms of escapism. “Facts” no longer apply in Trump America and to know how much they don't, the world has got to see, read, and hear the lies straight from the horse's mouths.
A complete list of recently confirmed cabinet members can be found here. If a seat holder does not have a social media presence, their department's social media platforms are the next to follow. While the new administrator has been quiet on near 600 appointments and only vaguely clear on picks of around 26 nominees, this list expands on nominees both official and speculative:
Department of Defense: James N. "Mad Dog" Mattis
Department of Treasury: Steven Mnuchin
Department of Transportation: Elaine L. Chao
Department of Health and Human Services: Tom Price
Department of Commerce: Wilbur Ross
Department of Education: Betsy DeVos
United Nations Ambassador: Nikki Haley
Department of Housing and Urban Development: Dr. Ben Carson
Central Intelligence Agency: Mike Pompeo
Attorney General: Jeff Sessions
Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus
Chief Strategist: Stephen K. Bannon
Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson
As of February the list of unfilled positions still extends to key departments:
Unfilled Cabinet Positions (not including ambassadorship appointees):
Director of National Intelligence
Department of the Interior
Department of Agriculture
Department of Labor
Department of Energy
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Homeland Security
Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Trade Representative
Following politicians on social media as a form of radical activism isn't the ONLY act that should be taken. Be accountable by joining local advocacy and activist collectives. Mark local town hall meetings on a calendar far in advance. Call representatives, making sure you are reaching out to the right branches and departments. As Jezebel writer Emily Ellsworth mentions in her informative piece on how to contact your representatives
“Be informed about who your member of Congress is and what role they play in the federal government. Do not call your House of Representatives member asking for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, because those hearings happen in the Senate—call your senator instead.”
The reality of dealing with the political occupation of the alt-right is daunting. For many, a first response is to use and then abuse the act of escapism by crafting an online reality void of problematic figures. An unsustainable coping mechanism in any avenue of life. Our social media, a reflection of our offline society, needs a wake up call. For our online communities this means resisting the urge to bubble and deny the existence of this party.
Adele Thomas is a Phoenix-based writer, doula, mother and social media consultant. She is a regular contributor to Roaring Gold and her work can also be seen on Kinfolk Kollective, Racebaitr and other online publications. Her portfolio can be found at Adele The Writer. More Adele: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram