Collective Cognitive Dissonance, RumpPunk’d™
– or How Do We Work through “This”?

In psychology, according to Wikipedia, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to their beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas or values.

Some in the US believe Drumpf should be given “a chance” to move from rabid to potentially reasonable — as defined by a mix of conservative Republicans, populist/white power something or others and a close network of those wanting to cash in on winning the exact right minority of national voters for the electoral college victory. We should not let “reasonable” be defined without a conversation, and we should not allow ourselves to be convinced that since we as a nation somehow collectively decided to elect someone with seventh grade behavioral patterns to be President — we must quell our dissonance and accept what is.

And we should be aware of the concept of cognitive dissonance especially for those that did vote for Drumpf, as 2017 will be especially difficult. For there will most likely be in the very near future a moment when they/us will be — RumpPunk’d™. Haven’t heard that phrase? It just might be big in 2017, so see the definition below:

Slang, Verb
Definition: when poor people are used and abused by a wealthy individual
Example: Hey America, the social contract between citizen and nation, a commitment to the commons just got shredded. Hey, you just got RumpPunk’d™! I know it is not funny, and thank the media.

So not “if”, but when we get RumpPunk’d™, when people profit at our populist sentiment expense — how we will respond, how will we talk to each other as citizens who may see the world a bit differently? What might happen is that we will be pit against each other. Poor Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, European White — against poor Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, European Whites. How sad is that? This nation was built on the backs of the working class from all immigrant patterns. Most of us, the 99% that generally come from middle class folks with honorable values, sometime see the world differently based on their upbringing, circumstances. But we are cut from the same cloth. Wealthy individuals can be honorable people, but it takes exercising moral muscles of curiosity, empathy, kindness. Some folks do that workout, some do not. We will see the consequences of the lack of that moral exercise regimen in this new regime.

This may happen bit by bit over the course of the next year. It may be slow, like the frog in the boiling pot. What can we do about it?

We will need to talk to each other without preconceived notions of what it means to be part of our various tribal configurations. We will need to keep our eyes on the ball of patriotism to the concept of our nation, our democracy, our fellow citizens — not to an individual. We will need to dig deep into our spiritual groundings and find goodness in each other, the other. And perhaps we do not do business as usual.

As someone who has worked in the nonprofit sector for a very long time, committed to being part of the social safety net, I am not clear on the appropriate next step when that thing we do together, “government”, shirks their responsibility to care for “the commons”. Can those holding the net together — sew any faster, hold on any tighter, shout for more volunteer help? I sincerely don’t think so. Advocacy groups might do well with respect to fundraising in the new climate, but safety net organizations are about to get hammered. What should be their response? I just might advocate for letting go of the net, standing up, and shouting for a reality check.

So, when we all get RumpPunk’d™, when people profit at our populist sentiment expense, focus your anger and frustration on the right issues, the right people — most likely not your neighbor, not your local cop but an oligarchy that is slowly growing and turning up the heat on the rest of frogs.