Written by Guest Contributor Dr. Mike
My head explodes every time I think about the next four years under Chancellor Trump. As I sit here my wife prepares to march with thousands in Portland to support women’s issues. I’m still numb. It feels too soon to share with others… but here it goes.
The dark lord is here, but Harry Potter’s MIA, so we’ll have to work in more subtle and collaborative ways. Humor can’t cover the stench of this presidency, like watching Jon Stewart did for eight years of W. Even SNL, John Oliver and Bill Maher won’t ease the agony. We need to feel this pain and work in positive ways. This is not a time for violence; rather we need to hold hands with our neighbors and walk them through the mess our electoral college got us into.
So many things Trump could do with his position of not being accepted in Democratic or Republican establishments. A total rogue, free of concern and facts, could break through the ice and get universal healthcare. How ironic this would be—a Democratic president passes a Republican plan only to have a Republican “trump” it with universal coverage! I would gladly call it “Trumpcare” if it were a decent plan. But alas, I realize this is going to be a shitshow and I need to deal with it.
Thus I propose a five-step plan for coping with this dilemma. As Michelle Obama said, “when they go low we go high”–it is an attempt to make others around me aware of the terrible predicament we are in. Trump voters are not deplorable. They are frustrated Americans who believed someone was listening. So we must listen. And like Gandhi we must make our civil protest with intelligence and order. That’s why I take a page from Melania Trump and plagiarize Dale Carnegie, calling it, “How to win friends and influence people”.
- Using the “go high” philosophy I Googled the thesaurus to find more terms for our predicament. I immediately look up alternatives for the word “fucked.” All are clearly sexual and while interesting and not gender specific, what I really wanted was more words for “doomed.” I’m trying not to be too erudite, while remaining sophisticated enough to show contempt respectfully. Options include: cursed, damned, menaced, kissed-by-death, unfortunate. I told my children that there was always a better word for any swear word, but I now realize that was wrong. “Fucked” is sometimes the right word. However, we need to use our words carefully and save the f-bomb for major impact and only in like-minded company.
- During the Obama years, I found the concept of false equivalencies daunting to relay to many people who believe that both sides do bad things equally. To combat this popular, yet asinine narrative, I push the concept that there are many different views: why limit ourselves to just two? Can you not be fiscally conservative and yet still believe in equal rights for all? Just because you believe abortion is wrong, should you deprive a family whose daughter was raped of the possibility of voluntarily and legally ending the pregnancy? If you can get them to take one step on their own, they may learn to think more independently. They may not instantly admit that you are right, but if we continue speaking to them we can wear them down with kindness.
- We must fight Trump and others’ narcissism with genuine concern for our communities and other people. I ask: is it fair to pay someone for unemployment? If the answer is yes, then ask for how long? Do they think that Medicare and Social Security is socialism? And also: if one person misuses food stamps to pay for cigarettes and 100 others use it to keep from starving, is it worth continuing the program? Socratic questions can flip the script when talking to these Trumpistas.
- As an owner of a small business with 34 employees, many of whom voted for Trump, I often ask a simple question: Would you rather work for a Democrat who believes in fair pay, health/dental/eye care, pension and vacation/sick pay, or a Republican like Trump who wants people to work for a minimum wage, with no benefits and no unions? Then ask them how would that apply to your elected officials?
- Above all be respectful. It is generally not advisable to talk religion or politics with people you do not know well, but when your community is at stake you cannot be silent. Vote, subscribe to both local and national newspapers, and act locally. Get under the skin of Republicans you know who didn’t realize they made a pact with the devil. We need them to help us forge a new and brighter future.
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