Logging into social media recently has felt a bit like swimming through a confusing, indistinguishable cocktail. It’s a mixture of angry Tweets, passionate protests, the odd lingering flatlay, amusing gifs, and too much shaming for my liking. I came back to this after a beautiful weekend away to the remote Scottish Highlands, which happened to coincide with Trump’s sparsely populated inauguration. This tiny break from the endless feeds of posts was enough to make me stay quiet for nearly an entire month as one gobsmacking story after another unfolded online.
I felt like anything I posted would seem massively inappropriate, or insignificant; because so much more was going on in the world than the travel stories, interviews and thoughts I would share on my blog. Especially after the scenes emerging at American airports that moved me beyond belief.
We’ve been protesting Trump in Scotland for years, long before he ran for president. To me as a young girl, he was the sleazy American businessman taking over swathes of rural land for his golfing hobby. Fast forward to this week, and I read comments by people complaining that we’re protesting him now as it’s ‘none of our business’. Why would you not want people all over the world standing up with you? And it most certainly is our business.
But that’s not the thing that has annoyed me the most this week. A different kind of shaming has been happening on social media that I’m not okay with. Since when did it become acceptable to tell people what they should and should not be Tweeting or writing about? The beauty of being a blogger and having your own outlet, is that you have the freedom to choose what you say and share. So, when people start publicly shaming others for not speaking out, I become uncomfortable.
One person had it right when they said that not everybody feels safe sharing on social media, and I completely agree with that. Trump is scribbling his signature at such a rate that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the latest developments, and it’s easy to become misinformed very quickly. I find it hard to blame people for not feeling confident enough to speak out on social media. But that does not mean they aren’t speaking out elsewhere, holding discussions, joining protests and supporting others; so I would love it if the shamers could give it a rest. I mean, unless it’s our PM you’re shaming (who’s responsibility it is to speak out), it just doesn’t sit well with me.
That being said, I like many others, don’t feel comfortable staying quiet right now. And I’m possibly one of the most politically quiet people you will meet (for now…). My reasons for staying schtum are lack of confidence in my knowledge of what’s going on; and now more than ever I’m struggling to keep up with the backstories, correlations and opinions flying around. I know I’m not the only one.
So, with that in mind, I thought that instead of picking on the quiet people, I would offer some resources I’ve found helpful to get my head around the whole situation, especially the immigration ban. Reading can be just as powerful as shouting…if not more.
What to read right now:
Let’s get back to basics. What on Earth happened? Read: A handy guide to understanding the immigration ban.
If you don’t understand the impact of this ban, start here. Read: Lives rewritten with the stroke of a pen.
My favourite article on this list. If you don’t read any of the others, read this one. Read: ‘1984’ in 2017 – Exploring why George Orwell’s classic is Amazon’s no.1 best seller.
A scientist at heart, I have a nagging anxiety that just won’t go away about the fate of our environment, and indeed all science. Read: Trump’s immigration ban is already harming American science.
I spoke about shamers, many of whom were targeting influencers – my opinion still stands, but the fashion industry is enormous and their silence is perplexing. Read: Fashion industry remains silent at Trump’s immigration ban.
You don’t have to write about politics, hell no. Man Repeller agree, and they demonstrate a good way of acknowledging events without getting wrapped up in the intricacies of politics. Read: Man Repeller’s role in Trump’s America.
A good place to start if you are interested in becoming more active in resistance. Read: 9 things you can do to resist Trump’s Muslim ban.
If you’re going to protest, do it creatively. Read: An emergency guide to writing protest signs.
P.S. Don’t stop blogging and Tweeting about the things you always have done – that’s why your followers follow you after all!