Some surprising characters are taking the lead
Image via Merriam-Webster
We’re only five days into Trump’s presidency (technically three since he took the weekend off), and the new commander-in-chief has already signed executive orders to cripple international health care, suppress evidence of global warming, advance construction on the Dakota pipelines, and restrict Muslims from entering the country. For those who wanted to give him a chance, that ship has sailed, and now we must fight to uphold democratic values. Amidst the outright lies and strategic confusion, that much has become abundantly clear.
While the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, and Women’s March organizers are leading resistance movements on the ground, we’ve seen some surprising characters take the lead online. Twitter user Kitty Chandler posted a tweet that quickly went viral, writing, “The year is 2017. America is a tire fire. The resistance is led by Teen Vogue, Badlands National Park, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.”
The year is 2017. America is a tire fire. The resistance is led by Teen Vogue, Badlands National Park, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.— Kitty Chandler (@Kitty Chandler) 1485297444
This statement is as true as it is darkly funny. Before Trump took the oath of office, Teen Vogue’s Lauren Duca wrote an op-ed outlining the tactics Trump uses to gaslight Americans, rendering us confused, divided, and powerless. Following the wide spread of her piece, Duca went on Tucker Carlson’s show to defend a tweet in which she acknowledged Ivanka Trump’s “sinister complicity in aiding the most aggressively anti-woman candidate of our time.” While the interview began amicably enough (for Fox News standards), it quickly devolved when Carlson abandoned thoughtful discussion in favor of personal attacks.
Twitter users were quick defend Duca, praising her calm fortitude and ability to confront Carlson’s rampant misogyny under pressure. Duca represents just one facet of Teen Vogue’s commitment to resisting Trump’s dangerous policies, primarily thanks to the guidance of its editor in chief, Elaine Welteroth, who assumed the position this past May. The 29-year-old became Condé Nast’s youngest-ever editor in chief and one of the few women of color to hold such a powerful role in media. Under her guidance, Teen Vogue has provided unflinching coverage of the Standing Rock protest, Mike Pence’s troubling record on LGBTQ rights, and Muslim identity in the time of Trump’s rise to power. Perhaps as importantly, the outlet has proven that young people can be just as invested in politics as they are in pop culture.
More subtly, Merriam-Webster has joined the resistance by mocking Trump for misspelling words and calling out Kellyanne Conway for diluting them. Not one to shy away from abuses of language, the dictionary’s tweet about Trump misspelling “unprecedented” received support in the form of nearly 30,000 retweets.
Good morning! The #WordOfTheDay is...not 'unpresidented'. We don't enter that word. That's a new one. https://t.co/BJ45AtMNu4— Merriam-Webster (@Merriam-Webster) 1481982085
*whispers into the void* In contemporary use, fact is understood to refer to something with actual existence. https://t.co/gCKRZZm23c— Merriam-Webster (@Merriam-Webster) 1485298231
Perhaps the Twitter account to prove most surprising—but also most necessary—is the rogue handle of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS). After the Trump administration issued a gag order on scientists and researchers, Badlands National Park defiantly tweeted facts about climate change. Other users noticed, so when the tweets quickly disappeared, all eyes were on the NPS for its next move.
They may have forced Badlands National Park Twitter to take down the tweets… but we got screenshots https://t.co/FLluNZgn02— Steve Climaco (@Steve Climaco) 1485297145
In less than 24 hours, the Alt U.S. National Park Service was born. The NPS launched its alternative Twitter account by calling out Trump directly for attempting to silence climate change scientists and promising to stand by fellow resisters. As of Wednesday, the NPS has more than 600,000 followers.
Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out.— NOT ALT WORLD (@NOT ALT WORLD) 1485298503
Respect goes out to our brothers and sisters at the @BadlandsNPS. When they silence you, we will speak for you.— NOT ALT WORLD (@NOT ALT WORLD) 1485298935
The National Park Service’s witty, ruthless handling of despotic tactics prove we need to stand by our nation’s brightest if we have any hope of progressing as a species. Taking to Twitter and defying a capricious ruler who threatens to incite a modern police state may not seem like much from the outset, but the only way to drown out hate and misinformation is to turn up the volume on the truth.