View from the Left – The Upside of a Trump Presidency

I’m up early because it’s hard to sleep these days.

Work is fantastic and home life is good, but I’m constantly thinking about what’s happening to our country. As I lay awake, I realized, there has been something good that’s happened within our family and it extends to several of my friendships. We’re talking again. In a meaningful, purposeful way.

News of the day.

Growing up, Katie and I had this routine of coming together and I would always say, “Okay, news of the day,” and that would trigger her sharing highlights from her day and me mine. It was like our own little BuzzFeed. Headlines, stories, gossip, me sharing works stories, she’d share school stories, it didn’t matter it was how we connected. Then she got older and got a phone, then a car and honestly, finding time to talk became harder.

And then Trump decided to run for President.

We started connecting again. It started slowly because surely this was comedy and there he said funny things and made little sense. But when he won, it changed everything. It was time to talk and talk we did. I’ve spent the last month (is it a month yet?) talking with her every night explaining what’s been happening, how government works and what we can do to effect change. At the same time, she’s become (for her age) a voracious consumer of information, attenuating to headlines and going deep to really understand what’s true and what’s hyperbole or propaganda (the real words for fake news).

Oh yeah, I suppose we qualify as “the liberal elite”.

As a liberal elite family – I believe we qualify because we live in California, I have a master’s degree and she’s already in college – we are fiercely American. We believe in human rights, civil rights, democracy, freedom and a global economy. Katie’s traveled to more countries than I have and she’s interested in a career in journalism (I couldn’t be more proud, I think The Fourth Estate may well save us in the end).

While I fear what might happen to us based on the actions of the Trump Administration, I couldn’t be more grateful for the unintended consequence: we’ve put down our phones, come out of our homes, come together with our families, friends and community to stand up for what truly does make America great.

Mr. Trump, I fear your slogan, “Make America Great Again” is going to be your epitaph. It’s what we’ll all say after you and Bannon and anyone who rules by fear and intimidation are gone from office. Thank God it’s over, let’s make America great again.

Wrist Strong with Stephen Colbert on Our Trip to Washington DC

I read a headline today that caught my attention, “How Do People Find the Time to Watch Television?” Boy, I ask myself that all the time. I should quickly tell you that this great headline was in a blog I read called TechDirt which is a hot read of you like tech, law and culture. Anyway, back to television.

The point of the article was about a shift we are all making from passive media to interactive media. For me, it really is the difference between having content spewed at you and actually finding a way to make it personal and relevant to your life. And as I thought about it, this is what’s been happening around our house. It’s totally cool and I have a very recent example!

My eight year old daughter has been very engaged with this year’s election. Like so many of her older peers, she loves Obama and really wants him to win. Her interest in politics has been nourished by the media (we watch Good Morning America during breakfast). We decided to turn it into a trip to Washington DC for spring break. With her growing interest in government and the process, it seemed like a natural fit.

In DC, we spent a great deal of time in the Senate buildings – did you know there are three? – and visited Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton’s office. The staff in both offices were very kind and open to having a family drift in and check things out. Katie was truly excited to be that close to the candidates. It made something she has seen on television very real.

Signing Barack’s book was memorable.

Clinton’s office is a beautiful butter yellow. Very feminine.

We also stopped at the National Portrait Gallery – a place we might have missed if it hadn’t been television – because we had to see a very important portrait. No, not George Washington. Not Thomas Jefferson (have you ever noticed his profile looks remarkably similar to Steve Carell?). No this man focuses on “truthiness.” If you watch Comedy Central you know I am talking about Stephen Colbert.


Jefferson and Carell share a profile – can you see it?

 

Because she watches the occasional Colbert Report, she knew his portrait would be hanging near the bathroom in the National Portrait Gallery while we were there. So we added the Gallery to our itinerary and took a photo of her showing her Wrist Strong (her wrist was anything but – it was broken) with Stephen’s portrait. Once again, TV came to life.

When Colbert broke his wrist, he founded Wrist Strong! We salute him!

 

So what does this all mean? That my kid watches too much television? No, she really doesn’t but her mom is a current events junkie. What I think it does mean for today’s youth, the gap between what they see on television and what is real is much smaller. They might actually put TV more in perspective than what it was when I grew up. That interaction is an important component of their media experience – be it online or in person – and they believe they have the power to question, interpret and participate.

I bet these kinds of things are happening in your house too. Pay attention. See what you notice. And then please, share your stories.