Positive Reinforcement.

Recent weeks have seen a rise in anti-semitic actions, a few nonsensical responses from the presidential administration, and finally an actual statement of condemnation.

This final action was a step in the right direction. It was good. It was a start.

And yet, the overwhelming response from the left seemed to be complaints about why it took so long and the lack of even more action.

In short, the President literally did exactly what had been requested of him for the past few weeks. And then was roundly criticized for not doing more.

So, I’d like to propose a change in the liberal response to the President. But in today’s political climate, I’m not sure that I can present my proposed change in a nonpartisan way that anyone will accept as valid. Therefore, I’ve created two versions of the same proposal; select the one that is skewed to your liking:

Option 1. For The Angry Liberal

We all know that Trump is a narcissistic demagogue who responds well to praise. Much like a small child. So, instead of criticizing him at every turn, pushing him to ignore critical voices entirely and rely only upon his dangerous inner circle, perhaps we could attempt to shower him with adoration when he does something right. We can then have a shot at moving from his list of enemies to his list of friendlies. And he might, someday, actually consider the feedback to be thoughtful and not “fake.” And he might act accordingly. Yes, that’s a lot of maybes, but it’s a shot. This President doesn’t have deeply-held beliefs of his own; he relies on feedback from adoring fans. Let’s use that.

Option 2. For The MAGA crowd

We, on the left, have been far too critical of every little thing that Trump does. Whatever he does — even this early on in his term — we meet with disdain. We instead assume that every little action is a step toward authoritarianism, autocracy, and a total meltdown of our democracy. As a result, we risk the administration and a vast swath of the country tuning us out. Let’s stop that. Instead, let’s focus on actions. If there’s an opportunity for partnership, let’s go for it. If the administration does something right, let’s actually say it. Out loud. Because if we want to encourage the administration to act toward our goals, or at least temper the rhetoric, the we need to start with our own actions.

These options may seem different, but they’re not.

At the end of the day, endless resistance to every action (even those with which we agree!) may be politically advantageous, but it’s not good for the country.

Our focus needs to remain on our United States.

I, for one, am not ready to give up on that concept quite yet.

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