#AltGov is dead. It actually has been for a long time but no one has had the balls to say it out loud. Sure, the anonymous accounts are still doing their thing and it’s great that they are around…but it is a skeleton of what it used to be due to egos, poor communication, and a lack of structure.
Our watershed moment was when we had went viral soon after Trump’s inauguration. When the Trump Administration went after @alt_uscis in March 2017, we came together. It was a second wave, but a wave that gave legitimacy to the things we were posting. We were pissing them off — and we still do.
What began as an unorganized group of individuals — truly a grassroots movement of sorts — suddenly became tight knit and some structure began to form. We had opportunities to work with some of the biggest players in national politics. We were offered interviews. We were offered products. Early on we laid down some ground rules: 1. anonymity 2. no money enters our hands. Every time we raised money for a cause the money went straight to that cause. We were proud of it and it became part of our personal and group ethics.
I started to float around ideas for really building out some structure. I had a vision of building a coalition of individuals from several areas of interest involving government agencies. Whether people were actually government employees or not didn’t matter; it was always about providing useful information and providing levity — like we were an anonymous version of The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight, but we interacted with each other and had fun despite the shit surrounding us. Problems began soon after this proposition. Chaos agents began filtering in from the outside who demanded that we don’t form any structure. “No one should be in charge!” despite my recommendation of a flat structure with common goals and ethical guidelines. Soon those chaos agents took over and that was really where #AltGov ended. Myself and a few others didn’t want to have to deal with the bullshit and attempting to herd a bunch of cats.
Today it is truly a shell of what it was. Those same chaos agents have claimed the name #AltGov as their own. What was supposed to be a cause to fight for turned into some weird fraternity or social club. Prior ethical understandings have gone out of the window with people begging for money for personal expenses. This isn’t just a recent phenomenon…it’s been happening awhile. They’ve tarnished what was a good thing and most have gone their own ways. There’s still a few of us around from those early days. We’re still doing our thing (mostly on our own).
I look back and wonder where we went wrong or what we could have done differently. Maybe we should have joined up with some of the most powerful politicians in the country. Perhaps that would made people realize the impact we could have had with proper structure and guidance. Maybe I could have been more aggressive in ensuring those chaos agents had a smaller voice for the common good of the group.
I do regret some of it. I never planned any of this but I still have a responsibility on my shoulders to make sure we can fight back against misinformation and disinformation. The part I haven’t even realized yet is that if Biden wins, we still have a long way to go to fix things that have been broken long before Trump. I’m still going to be needed and I had planned on just disappearing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk away while my country continues to deteriorate. Believe me, I want to. I’ve spent way too much time on this little project. I don’t know what things will look like in November and beyond. I’ve thought about dropping the #AltGov title and starting something else, with real leadership, real values, and real impact. I’ve got a couple of ideas up my sleeve. Either way, I’ll still be here whether #AltGov or not.
And remember to get out and vote. Your country depends on it.