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Gamify Your Activism: The Trump Calendar and Sesame Street

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Gamify Your Activism: The Trump Calendar and Sesame Street

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Political resistance requires endurance. Every day we see stories about people feeling anxiety and fatigue under the Trump regime. The struggle is real, but there are ways of rewarding yourself in little ways that can make all the difference.

One of the most ingenious ideas that we’ve seen lately to motivate activism is the Trump Calendar. Our friends, the Trowbridges, introduced us to this concept. They printed up calendars where each day of the week features the smug, leering mug of #45. They keep a stack of cute stickers nearby. Each day they can cover his face with one. However, there are rules to the game. They are only allowed to slap that sticker on if they have done something to resist his agenda that day.

It’s like an advent calendar, except the gift is a sticker smack-down each day!

Did you call a legislator? Congrats! Trump is getting smacked with a rainbow!

Did you send a letter of support to an activist? Look out, Trump! Incoming unicorn!

Did you donate to a lobby or charity? Bye bye, Trump-face, hello, puppy-face!

Having this document of your activities doesn’t just motivate you each day. At the end of the month, you get to look back and be reminded of the incremental actions you took to benefit others. When the new month starts…well, seeing rows of Trump is a bit gross. It is also a new month of opportunities. How you define activism and resistance are up to you. The important thing is to stay energized, no matter what you do.

Sticker it to the man!

Sesame Street and the Power of Games

Humans are wired for a reward-based, gamified approach to tasks, like the Trump Calendar. To quote Mary Poppins, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. It’s a technique used by educators, as well. By incorporating lessons and games, retention and interest are both increased. It works for adults as well as kids.

Perhaps no one does this better than Sesame Street. From their little sing-a-long segments to more story-driven pieces, Sesame Street is designed to make learning and doing a joy. They don’t just stick to math and vocabulary. They add in lessons about compassion, community, and civic pride.

A perfect and apt example is a classic episode featuring the swindling developer grouch, Donald Grump. In that episode, the dastard tricks Oscar the Grouch into signing away his home so he can build Grump Tower. Kids are taught to read the fine print, stand up for members of your community, and even count to 40 in one short segment.

No wonder Trump is coming after Public Broadcasting and Sesame Street. The last thing he wants is for people to learn compassion or to know what they are signing when dealing with him.

Sesame Street and the Trumps have had another apt clash this month. It has comer to light that the Trumps totally flubbed plans for the White House Easter Egg Roll. They ordered eggs late and will be shrinking the event. Just days after calling for PBS to be cut, they also belatedly requested that a character from Sesame Street attend the event. Usually, there are several characters, but this year only one will be attending. A sign of things to come, if Trump has his way.

Enter the Alt-Egg Lady

In a related, inspiring story, Washington Post just ran a story about Natalie Rebetsky. She’s an English teacher, mother, and devoted fan of the Egg Roll for years and years. She realized early on that this year’s event would probably be a disaster. Sure enough, it seems that the White House can’t read a calendar. They didn’t order their commemorative eggs for the event until the last minute.

For the first time, Rebetsky could not see herself enjoying the official commemorative egg, which she has collected for years. She took matters into her own hands and turned her passion for the event toward activism.

Rebetsky contacted the same company that makes the official eggs and ordered a batch of 1,000 wooden eggs, painted and inscribed with the words: “Protect Our Children’s Future.” The “Alt-Eggs” have been selling like crazy and Rebetsky has been shipping them nationwide from her home. So far, she has raised $13,000! The net proceeds will go to two programs Trump wants to cut: PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. Maybe Oscar can keep his home after all.

Every little bit counts, especially as Trump and his administration are finding every little way they can to curb expression, education, and compassion. Whether you are stickering up a Trump calendar or organizing something more complicated, your activism can be a source of delight. Even if it comes with a lot of extra work (as Rebetsky can attest) you will feel more energized rather than fatigued.

#Resist, persist and have fun doing it, Divaland!


Team Diva

Team Diva

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