The TV resistance is guaranteeing a 2020 Trump victory
Real resistance is about issues. When people protested the Vietnam War, they were not protesting because they felt personally offended by something Nixon said one day. When people protested the Iraq War they were not protesting George Bush’s personality. When people protest against pipelines, oil rigs in the Arctic, or fracking in their communities, it is because of a deeply held, personal connection to the world around them.
When Trump was elected, from the initial flood of people into the streets, it looked as though the American populace was paying attention again. But “the resistance,” may have always been less about issues and more about Trump’s persona. And the outrage over Trump has been co-opted by the news media, packaged and sold to Americans inclined to resist.
Anyone personally offended by Trump can hijack the news cycle, often for days. Cable and print news is more concerned about this than all of the offenses that are being perpetrated on our world at war, our environment in crisis, and our barely functioning system of government.
We are living in Reality TV Land, where people actually form opinions about the petty intricacies of what one semi-celebrity said to another on Bravo, E! or WE TV. I’m guilty myself; these sorts of shows can be addicting.
So it makes perfect sense that CNN spends days and days discussing how the widow of a fallen soldier interpreted what our Reality TV president, who she never liked to begin with, said to her. Of course she would find offense in any form of condolence he gave her. And of course her friend and her representative in Florida, who also personally does not like Trump, would stoke this indignation in the media.
In Reality TV Land, it makes twisted sense that CNN would host anyone they could find to scream that what Trump or one of his surrogates said is every kind of “ism” they can think of. This gets ratings. Never mind the details of how the four Americans died in Niger. It’s outrage over what Trump said that is “Breaking News.”
But this TV resistance is assistance not resistance. Every time a hot mic amplifies someone’s personal disgust over something Donald Trump said or tweeted, Trump only grows stronger. If you think this is not the case, we only need to look to the very recent past to see that if this form of resistance continues, it will only lead to a Trump victory in 2020.
How could Trump’s casual musings to Billy Bush over how he treated women not lead to his demise? No one believed that his outrageous comments about a Mexican rapist, a chunky beauty queen, a Muslim-American Gold Star family, and a “bleeding” debate moderator (Meagan Kelly) would not bring about his undoing. Everyone on TV and social media was taking umbrage loudly 24 hours a day about all of it. He couldn’t possibly become president.
Denial is not just a river in Wisconsin.
I believe that all the publicity and public debate over his remarks made him more popular then, and they are making him more popular now. All of this daily he-said, she-said about what he said is giving those who support Trump, and all of those silent ones on the fence, reason to jump in behind him again.
If you think that this silent voting block has gone away — the people who do not talk about their support for the president, and who do not answer the way they truly feel in polls — to quote the late Joan Rivers, “Oh, grow up.” The polls were wrong in 2016 and they are most likely wrong about Trump’s popularity now.
So, if you are not satisfied with this television facade of resistance, and want to actually resist, start holding the media to account. Write or tweet to news shows and editorial boards to please, stick to only the issues and not about what Trump says or tweets on any given day. The underlying issues that Trump talks about may be newsworthy (or not), but focusing solely on what Trump says about them is only helping him.
Continue to protest and write to your representatives to advocate for a cleaner earth, a more equitable health insurance system and a fairer economic system in general, and less violent intervention in the world. This and more is what really matters, not what he said.