How to React Strategically to President Elect Trump
After a week reflecting, here’s how I’d react strategically to President Elect Trump
TRACK 1: If You DID NOT Want Trump Elected
First… grieve. This is an appropriate time to grieve for our humanity, our future, our friends, and our sense of dignity as individuals, families, and society.
Remember though, in your grief and pain, not to follow the example of Trump’s rhetoric, and those who cowardly deny evidence and dignity to others… by calling for, or actively seeking out the infliction of cruelty, abuse, and destruction on those who aren’t like us… and finding ways to justify it as a legitimized reaction of our own real pain, loss, and powerlessness.
That’s what every tyrant… in history… is looking for. And wants in a people. Especially the opposition. That’s a big part of how we got here, how to make it worse, and how we legitimately move closer to the worst possible scenario. We don’t need to recruit for tyranny.
So, what do we need?
We need to take a gawd damn second to figure out how we got here and where the hell we are going. Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat those mistakes.
If you don’t already have a method to do this, here’s mine:
1. Calm the hell down. Your brain literally can’t do complicated and difficult problem solving when stressed. Find a way to calm your nerves and get your mind right. You aren’t denying anything by doing this. Just hit the pause button for a second to think.
You can use humor for this, like the Obama-Biden memes going around. DO NOT STOP HERE… otherwise, you’ve fallen into the same trap of apathy and distraction that got us here.
2. Figure out where you want this country and your life to go. Write it all down. Make it as grand, appealing, and detailed as you’d like. The more specifics the better. It is already all in your head. This is just a way to get it out on paper for you to reflect on.
3. Walk away for a few days. When you come back, take time to reflect on your vision for the future and how you fit into it. This includes:
— Connecting your vision to history more broadly, both to the past before you, and the future after you
— Considering what is most important to the vision. You can’t do everything. What could get cut, and what is essential, when that time comes?
— Are there any unintended consequences? Or anything that realistically could never happen (either based on physics, or how limited time and resources are)? Don’t guess. Know. Do your research.
— Are there references from history that you use as models to follow, or to avoid? What are those, and have you researched them? Are they just childhood impressions, or do you in fact have a well founded and informed grasp of those events, so you can learn to reflect their lessons accurately in your own life?
4. Start making plans on how to accomplish your vision. Set up a meeting with yourself to review, reflect, and update this vision and plan at least weekly. I tend to go hot to start, and then adjust back to weekly once things start moving. I review my plan and progress briefly every day.
5. Within the first two weeks, get feedback. Start with someone you know and trust. If you have mentors, they would be ideal. Spend some time getting outside impressions, and criticism, so that your vision can become stronger and more likely to succeed. Once you get going, get regular feedback from real critics and people who’d disagree. You don’t have to tell them the plans, the details, or what your intentions are. Just honestly float them ideas in agreeable ways, and get their honest feedback. This is the most important intelligence you can get. And one of the hardest parts to do.
6. Make sure you are connected to others, and your vision builds in how you collaborate successfully. No one can do much alone. You will do much more with groups being part of your vision.
The world is a scary place. It’s not heaven. It’s not hell. We’ve come a long way in our last 200,000 years as a species, 10,000 years since agriculture, 200+ as a nation, and 100+ in our latest experiments into technology, production, and social norms. We haven’t gotten where we want to be, but we are making steady progress. This isn’t a guess. Any metric can be looked up, and they’ve all been trending in the right directions for a long time now. It’s not always constant. There are setbacks. I’m hopeful that, despite this setback, we are strong and resilient enough to correct these recent mistakes, and keep moving forward.
Now is not the time to pretend or posture. It’s the time for tough self reflection, planning, and adjusting, to a strategy that can keep us safe and heading in the right direction. Invest your time and energy wisely.
If you need anything, let me know and I’ll do the best I can.
TRACK 2: If You DID Want Trump Elected
If you are shocked by, or don’t believe the authenticity of the hatred, bigotry, and divisiveness of Trump’s rhetoric, and had another reason to vote for him:
1. Let him know that. Let your voice continue to be heard now that he is elected to represent you. He is accountable to you.
2. Let others know that you love and care for them, and you will help and look out for them, whatever comes our way. We may have faith in the robustness of our Democracy and Trump’s good intentions. Nothing is sure yet, and taking the time to comfort a friend would go a long way in the short term.
3. Connect with others who voted for Trump but don’t agree with his extreme policies or rhetoric. It will help you endure the barrage from anyone on the left who sees you as an enemy, and will help keep you aware of any signs that Trump is in fact trying to enact any of these extreme policies you disagree with.
If you DO agree with the either the language or ideas in Trump’s angry, bigoted, and divisive rhetoric… why?
I’m genuinely curious. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this, and heard a lot of varying explanations. Usually, people are angry about something perfectly legitimate but different… like losing a career… a way of living… prospects for a future… and this is the response. They are also words and ideas that don’t negatively effect you, and so, are easy to get behind. I’d ask you to think about what they mean and why you believe them. And I’d be happy to listen and try to understand.
If it’s just an easier pill to swallow, and you are angry, and don’t feel like the system is built in a way for you to be a part of it… you aren’t wrong. However, the people Trump has vilified… are scapegoats for this problem. What he’s said about them and the policies that effect them are real, and could have real consequences to real people. If you don’t want others to go through the same kind of pain you have, it would be worth reflecting on what you really want, and why cruelty towards others isn’t the answer.
Wish you the best.