Four More Tech Tools to Help You Get Involved, Call for Change, and Resist Trump

Boy howdy, I just CANNOT stop writing about Trump, his white nationalist administration and how to resist it all. And this is a technology column! We live in a society, though, where practically everything intersects with technology, including the resistance. From hackers scraping and saving websites as control turns over to Trump, to our National Parks Service going underground to tweet scientific facts, technology is already playing its part and will continue to do so. Today, though, I’m going to focus on three apps made specifically in response to this giant tirefire of an administration and how you can use them.

Callgov.us

This webapp, made by Autostraddle Reader Clara, makes it easy for people to access a call script about an issue and their representatives’ phone numbers. One of the things I love about Callgov is that it has a badge next to each script to let you know how many have already called. It’s so easy to feel isolated as our government begins to erode as a democracy. Even seeing ten people who feel as strongly about something as you do is super helpful. Plus this works in any browser, so you don’t have to have a specific piece of equipment to engage. And if you don’t see a script you feel strongly about, you can create your own! This is a highly satisfying thing to do! Did I mention it was made by an Autostraddle reader? That bumped it right on up to the top of this list.

Visit Callgov.us.

Countable

I’m so into Countable, an app that makes it hella easy to contact your representatives. You put your address in and it shows you your Congressperson and Senators. You can call them with a tap! But if that’s all it did, I wouldn’t be nearly as enthused about it. It also has a newsfeed that tells you things like what’s getting voted on in Congress this week, what the schedule is for cabinet confirmations, and developments on specific issues you follow and care about (I get a lot of education stuff, for instance). You can vote yea or nay on things and put your opinion out there (with a video message, even!) that is then delivered to your representatives. The app lets you follow up with how your elected officials voted on bills (though I checked, it doesn’t tell us about Cabinet nominations they voted on, that you’ll have to do on your own). It even has a local section, where I discovered that New York is deciding whether to provide tampons in school bathrooms (yes, obviously they should). Also the app is pretty. It’s still a bit slow, but they’re working out the kinks.

I will caution you, though — I don’t think this is a substitute for good old-fashioned calling, so use this in conjunction with your phone call regimen.

Download Countable for iOS and Android, completely free.

Boycott Trump

Boycott Trump is a free app that compiles a list of businesses who do business with the Trump family, are owned by the Trump family, or who have high-ranking officials who endorsed Trump. Boycotting is tricky business — not everyone can afford to boycott all the time. But I think we can probably all agree giving up Applebees is fairly doable. There are more than 250 companies in this searchable database. I’m wishing and hoping, though, that there will be a “pinpoint by location” feature in future, so you can take note of the businesses around you! And I’m also hoping that the next iteration comes with a “report business” feature, because damn, there are TONS of tiny businesses that I can’t buy from anymore, and they’re easy to see when I’m out in rural Pennsylvania (they’re probably still sporting a Trump sign), but not as easy to see otherwise.

Download Boycott Trump for iOS or Android.

Make America Kittens Again

But what if you’ve reached the point in your resistance where you can’t look at his face anymore?? I’ve hit that point. And if you’re there too, there’s this excellent Chrome extension called Make America Kittens Again. It’s exactly what you think it is. It replaces photos of Donald Trump with photos of kittens. Why you might ask? Although let’s be real, you already know the real answer is “because internet.” Here’s what Tom Royal, maker of the extension, says about it in the “about” section:

Replaces Donald Trump with kittens. Because:

A) Trump is a disgrace
B) Kittens are lovely, and
C) I couldn’t find a Creative Commons photo of a blobfish to use.

And there you have it! It’s not new, and it might not be expressly coded for the resistance. But damn, is it gonna be helpful in a mental health capacity.

Download the extension here.


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Staff Writer for Autostraddle, Part-time Faculty at The New School (teaching digital storytelling), Managing Editor for Scholar & Feminist Online at Barnard Center for Research On Women. Follow me on Twitter @AEOsworth or on Instagram, also @AEOsworth.

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13 Comments

  1. I’m currently using “Make America Kittens Again” and while it’s great, it changes many pictures that aren’t of Trump into kittens. For example, in an Autostraddle article that showed the side by side comparison of the crowd at Obama’s inauguration vs. Trump’s inauguration it showed up as kittens, and also many pictures of the Women’s March show up as kittens. It’s usually easy to tell what is and isn’t actually a picture of Trump, so you just have to disable it on the page you’re on, and then enable it again when you’re done on the pertinent page.

    Thanks for the round-up! These all look great!

  2. Whenever I want to call my representatives, I get stage fright because I’m not sure I’m doing it right, or if I’m the only one who’s done it, which makes that callgov.us webapp so awesome.

    Also, my senators and representatives are democrats. Sometimes I feel like ‘what’s the use? They’re already on my side’.

    But that’s silly though, right? Everyone needs to be held accountable. And everyone could use encouragement and thanks for creating positive change.

    • Yes still call! If they are a strong advocate for an issue (for example, Kamala Harris being SO outspoken (yay!) against the muslim ban), you can always thank them for that and “up your ask” by saying you hope they will work to do more (whatever that more can be).
      After a particularly controversial vote it can be nice to call up your rep and specifically thank them for voting the way you wanted them too. It is rare for them to get these thank you calls, but they can still be impactful, because they show you are watching.
      Also, keep in mind that even if they agree with you, they have thousands of issues coming at them everyday. The topics that come up most in phone calls (along with bills related to a committee they are on, personal interests, etc) help direct how much time/effort is going into each issue. For example, I feel strongly about abortion rights. I’ve been represented by people before who vote how I’d like but not neccessarily because they are big advocates, but because their caucus is voting that way. By calling, using my talking points to educate them, and visiting their offices to talk to them before a vote/committee meeting (state government), I, along with others like me, can work to turn a passive voting politician to someone who can strongly advocate for the causes.

      I didn’t mean to write so much, I just wanted to point out how important calls can be regardless of your rep’s voting history. Also, I’m so glad there are so many tool to track and everyone is getting engaged. Don’t forget about local and state calls as well, though this can involve slightly more research. 🙂

  3. I would also really, really, really like to advocate for dothething.info. It’s a mailing list with a different curator for each day of the week, founded by someone I know and respect personally. Daily mailings with scripts for calling your reps, or reading, or exercises in activism in bite size pieces (one of my favorites this past week described a breadth and depth component to activism, and asked the readers to do a thought exercise for two issues that matter to them, to write them down, and to take steps to fight for them by volunteering, reading, and donating)

  4. Bit of self promotion, but I’ve been working on and just released an extension called “You’re Fired: A Trump Management System” that is very similar to “Make America Kittens Again”, but it allows you to also revert images to their original format, click and replace any image, as well as choose to replace T***p with images of Bo Obama, trumpets, or flags representing some marginalized groups in this country. There is also a pause feature if you’d like to disable blocking.

    For anyone who feels “Make America Kittens Again” is not quite what they’re looking for, or who wants to help me out with some feedback (I’d *really* love some feedback), please feel free to download “You’re Fired” (it’s totally free).

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/youre-fired-a-trump-manag/gkccpkfioiaddbfaeofmjihlecnjglfn

    PS I hope this doesn’t break any posting guidelines.

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