My Mother is Donald Trump
Illogical arguments, quick to point out the flaws in others to justify their own actions, a hatred for anyone who uses their own tactics against them, bad hair, down to every last detail my mother is Donald Trump. I’ve spent not just a few months, but a lifetime figuring out how to deal with that kind of a person.
The guiding mantra for my life is this: everyone is doing what they think is justified and moral. No one is intentionally evil. If you frame everyone’s actions in this light, you can always see their logic and can argue effectively if you disagree. The extent to which we can empathize with the motives of others is the driving factor in our ability to form relationships with others and the world.
One of the most oft recalled stories of my childhood is the time my mother chased my sister around our home, hitting her repeatedly with a wooden spoon while yelling at her to stop crying. What my sister had done to instigate the incident was no longer relevant, though I remember clearly how small it was. Instead, my sister was crying, screaming, as my mother thrashed her with that stick until she eventually collapsed on the floor still screaming, her voice too hoarse to make any sound. My mother continued to beat her until the lesson had been learned.
My mother’s initial overreaction transformed the event into one in which she was instantly undoubtedly in the wrong. The only way to rationalize her own madness was to demonize even the expression of anguish from my sister, to be angered by just the notion that her own anger was in error, effectively twisting the events, trivializing my sister’s suffering and vindictively making things worse for her in a sadistic “You think you’re suffering? I’ll show you suffering” kind of way. My father, for his part, reasoned that we knew our mother tended to react this way, yet we provoked her anyway. We had only ourselves to blame for her rage, and he saw nothing wrong with holding my sister down while my mother beat her.
I managed to avoid that wrath for most of my teenage years, but my sister was not so lucky. She would always argue, logically, that it wasn’t right, that it didn’t make sense, that she had done nothing so serious as to warrant this abuse. For years she argued, correct and righteous. And for years I fell asleep and woke to the sound of my sister’s screams from the next room.
The horrifying reality is that the mentality that lead my mother to justify child abuse is the same one that motivates Donald Trump.
This is the political reality we live in. Any attempt at what would normally be a logical argument will be met with an overwhelming and irrational response. To himself, claims of “fake news” are Donald Trump’s method of demonizing otherwise rational discourse. Taunts of “snowflake” are in fact means to trivialize suffering. These are, if not the words of a tyrant, the thoughts of a man unhinged, clinging to any scrap of twisted abusive reasoning to avoid the truth: that his intentions are wicked and his actions are abhorrent. To admit one wrongdoing in a cloud of deceit is to admit that every action, past and present, is a target for scrutiny. For his own sanity he cannot evaluate his life in that way. This is why you can’t reason with him, because the only way to maintain a core of morality is to blindly ignore the ways in which he has wronged others, and instead to transmute their suffering into perceived aggression. We will be forever defeated in any attempts to change him, for as long as he has even one supporter he can verify that he’s not crazy or delusional. No direct logical argument can prevail.
The problem presented is this: if you can’t change his mind or have a productive conversation, how do you affect positive change? The answer is simple, but I fear it requires more self control than we can collectively muster. To win, you have to negate him in every way. News outlets have to stop quoting the administration and start printing only real researched fact. Panel discussions in which the administration’s viewpoint is considered must cease to exist. We need to collectively call Trump on his bullshit and shut him up. The ability to rationalize an illogical argument is removed if you do not let the irrational argue their case.
We need to talk about what they’re not taking about, and never talk about or acknowledge the things they want to talk about.
It may sound simplistic, but the base of the argument is about controlling the dialog. Trump has used Twitter since the beginning of his campaign as the ultimate form of controlling the dialog. He can say whatever he likes unchecked, and any amount of support is proof that the opposition is composed merely of “haters.” As president, he can say whatever he wants unchecked and he has a team of people who are paid to support him. Fact checking doesn’t work because it meets the madness head on. We need to change the conversation and stop falling for Trump’s misdirection game because his words are a trap and he will lure you in with his mad words and beat you until you can no longer scream.
The only way to win is not to play.
Trust me, my mother is Donald Trump, and I’ve spent my entire life playing this game. Don’t let Trump control the conversation. Don’t let him win. It’s that simple.