Trump was elected. My goal now is to help people who need it. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
But how do I choose what to do? Someone once compared learning how to be an activist like leveling up a character in a game. When you start at first level, all you can do is cast “wear safety pin”. That’s a great start, but you’re not going to kill the evil dragon with it.
So you learn other spells, like “join committee”, or “read book”. Eventually, you learn so many spells that one day, you realize you’ve leveled up. Keep at this long enough, and you can now fight that evil dragon.
I know myself and if I try to level up without external motivations, I’ll let things drop. So I hope that making my plans public will help keep me honest and on track. Even if no one actually reads this, the fact that it exists will give me the motivation I need. Maybe you’ll be inspired to do the same.
Here’s a list of things I am doing or plan to start doing in the near future:
RailsBridge (and RailsBridge Boston) is an organization that focuses on teaching underrepresented people in tech to program. I have been a TA at a few events and was recently invited to be an organizer. I’m helping with the next event in January.
I have been mentoring people one at a time for about a year, but this last week I took on one more mentee. I’m focusing on a similar group as RailsBridge, underrepresented people in tech.
I joined a diversity/inclusion group through a local Unitarian church. Their goal is to “foster diversity and inclusion at the church, in Massachusetts, and beyond.” They hold meetings every week or so (I think) to talk about issues surrounding race, social class, gender, age, and more.
Reading The Righteous Mind
I heard about this book on a podcast and it piqued my interested. It’s about how the political left and right view morality differently. From the book’s introduction:
My hope is that this book will make conversations about morality, politics, and religion more common, more civil, and more fun, even in mixed company.
Seems useful. My hope is to better understand the people I disagree with so I can then focus on the best ways to talk with them, not at them.
Paying attention to what matters
I want to try and make sure I focus my limited attention on substance not fluff. There are enough terrible events right now to fill a garbage dump, and it’s not going to start smelling sweeter. But not all of them are worth my time. John Gruber summed this up well in his recent post:
Twitter is full of people talking about Mike Pence getting booed by the audience at Hamilton last night. Now Trump himself is tweeting about it, focusing news media on the incident. Booing is not meaningful opposition. But it has served to distract from a legitimate scandal: Trump settling a fraud lawsuit for $25 million yesterday. The smart opposition is focused on that today.
First, I want to be able to recognize the right issues instead of the fluff. Once I can do that, I want to make sure I boost those stories instead of non-stories.
Taking breaks from Twitter
Twitter can enable great things, but the constant emergency state that it can produce is too much sometimes. I took a break from Twitter all of last week. I had a lot more energy to accomplish everything in this blog post, and just felt a lot better. I’m not quitting Twitter or all social networks, but I’ll likely be taking more breaks.
This is a lot, but I have a lot of life left to accomplish it. I’m sure I’ll learn more about how to level up as I go. For now, we’ll see how this goes.