Making Choices for 2017


What a tough year for the world.

I could write a maudlin post about the end of America as we know it or about the many deaths of celebrities we used as role models. It would be easy, and I suspect many better writers than I are doing so even now.

I choose to instead share my plans for the coming year. Particularly how I will be dealing with what I expect will be an overwhelming flood of *NEED* from so many causes and places I believe strongly in: ending racism, women’s equality, gay rights, protecting animals, caring for children, and supporting our civil liberties.  Not to mention the periodic outbreaks of violence and natural disasters that will claim my time, energy, and money.

In the end, it’s all about managing resources.

In 2017, I will be making children my other priority. Whether in Aleppo or Detroit, Somalia or Paris, if a child is in need I will be looking for smart, efficient, ways to assist them.

That doesn’t mean I will ignore all of the other issues. I am human and I have empathy. I will continue to care about how racist our country is and proudly announce that Black Lives Matter. I will continue to care that this country treats half of its citizens as if they are brainless, weak, and amoral, and fund Planned Parenthood so they can keep providing the necessary services that all women need. I will continue to care that there are a group of people who are so frightened of those who love others of the same sex that they will do anything to take away their rights as citizens, and will fund the ACLU so their rights are protected. I will continue to care about protecting my rights as a digital citizen in an era of increasing surveillance and data mining, and therefore the EFF will receive my donations. Moreover, I’ve chosen to be a patron to two artists, to help fulfill my need for beauty.

I already set my goals for this year, but here is my resolution:

I resolve that children are to be protected from adults who would make war on them, bully them, prey upon them, or in any way hurt them. I resolve that I will be one person who will help protect them from others, no matter what form that might take. I will speak up when they cannot, offer money to take care of their needs, and protest those who would do anything — active or passive — who would hurt them.

In doing so, I will remain civil yet firm and rely on facts, not opinions. I grew up in a household that often quoted the 60’s slogan: “If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” and now I’m continuing my work on solving problems, not just narrating them.

Here are some resources for all of the ills I consider important:

  • 5 Ways to Disrupt Racism (a 2+ minute video). It’s from the UK, but is useful for any place you witness racism.
  • The ‘hate map’ from the Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/
  • If you’d like to protest with your wallet, you might find this (oft-updated) spreadsheet of companies that promote or carry Trump merchandise: https://grabyourwallet.org/
  • Wear a safety pin when you are out in public.
  • Find, and support, news sources that report the news, not opinions. You can get started at this article from the Enoch Pratt free library (one of the oldest public libraries in the U.S.). I’ve started following Dan Rather on Facebook, and he thinks highly of the reporting coming out of the Washington Post; Reuters also seems to be pretty accurate, as is BBC.com for world events. I personally like to review the articles at FactCheck.Org on a weekly basis. And, for balance, here is a list of HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE ‘news’ sources.
  • Finally, I offer you Indivisible: A Practical Guide to Resisting the Trump Agenda. I’ll quote from them directly:

We believe that the next four years depend on citizens across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize our fellow citizens. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen.

May 2017 bring about the change we most need to see.

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