Progressives & Liberals: CTFO
Oh my god, you guys. He’s not even president yet.
I won’t pretend like I wasn’t depressed last week, that I didn’t literally lose sleep that night by waking up two hours before my alarm and then just tossing and turning until it was time to get up. Like many (ok, pretty much all) of my friends, I am anxious about the next four years, especially these first two.
But for Harambe’s sake, please everyone chill the fuck out.
I urge you to keep cool for your own good. We haven’t elected Trump as Supreme Leader, he is not omnipotent, and he doesn’t have 100% support from Congress, even among Republicans, even those who vocally endorsed him. Yes, it’s unlikely (in the extreme) that he’s going to run an administration we approve of, but that doesn’t mean we get to declare the “End of Democracy” already. We’re all going to look super-foolish when this is all over (and it will be over at some point), kinda like we did on the morning of January 1st, 2000, after all of the stuff failed to explode from Y2K.
I keep reading the news, too. I’m worried about what might happen with Obamacare, SCOTUS, and just the general attitude towards minorities on our streets. I know Trump is filling his cabinet by dumping out the Basket of Deplorables into it. I’m keeping an eye on all of it, and yet, somehow, I’m keeping calm.
This is what you do when you lose. You don’t rage quit, you don’t charge your opponent of cheating (sound familiar?) and you definitely don’t start predicting an apocalypse based on their actions. You’re doing two foolish things: 1) attributing far too much power to Trump and Republicans, and 2)setting yourself up to be called out as a false prophet, over and over, further diminishing your footing on the High Ground.
“If you were wrong about Trump rekindling the Great Recession, you’re probably wrong about everything else, too.”
Chances are, some shit is going to go down. We’re going to see some key Republican agenda victories, but it’s not going to be as bad as we want it to be. Admit it: deep down, in our tribalistic core, we do want him to fail catastrophically, because we’re all foaming at the mouth in consternation that somehow we (yes, We the American people) elected him. We want him to fail so the crazy rednecks and racists can see that we were right all along, and they should repent for everything they’ve ever done to piss us off.
But it’s not going to work out like that.
Trump, though buttressed by myriad sycophants and alt-right nuts, is still just one man, the conduit through which all of his (and their) agenda must flow. It flows forth from him and through Congress, and yes some of it will get through because he and they share some commonality, but a lot of it will get stopped by those with the political exposure to understand the consequences of acting like an infant and trying to just grab what you want when you want it. That and Democrats still control critical quantities of Congress, preventing Republicans from ever getting one of those Supermajorities which are so critical for breaking filibusters. Then there’s any number of lobbyists and independent organizations, such as the ACLU, who are out there already preparing for the Fight of the Century, keeping a wary eye on every little facial twitch on Pence’s face.
But I’m not here to reassure you everything is going to be okay, because you’re a smart person. Deep down you know that just declaring something out loud does not make it so. I can say it will be fine, you can say it will be the End Times, and Trump can say it will be the New Guilded Age (because he likes gold things), but probably none of us will be 100% correct. What I am here to tell you is that you’re embarrassing me, yourself, and Progressives and Liberals four years from now. We’re going to look back on our hysteria in 2016 and roll our eyes a little.
Worse than just being Chicken Littles, we’re going to further push away those critical minds we are going to need four years from now. We’ve gotta stop labeling our political opponents as our moral adversaries. Voting for Trump does not a racist make. Voting for Trump does not mean you advocate sexual assault. Voting for Trump does not mean you look forward to the day when you can finish what Hitler started. If you want to know what voting for Trump means, why don’t you ask (nicely) a Trump supporter. Try to understand them a tad, and figure out how the Progressive platform works for them, or should, rather than shouting them down and calling them names. There are two ways to win a war of ideology: kill or convert. As murder is still illegal in the Western World, that leaves us with just one path.
So please, knock it off with the doom and gloom articles. Stop using the hastag #Calexit, stop reposting hyperbolic anti-Trump articles on Facebook, stop speculating with your friends what civil liberties we’ll lose first, and stop calling for the dismantling of the Electoral College (although the idea has some merit, the timing of such a thing just makes us look like whiners).Yes, we’ve suffered a setback, but I would argue that’s entirely our own fault. It’s time to suck it up and get through our grief. It seems as far as most have gotten is Bargaining (if only there was no Electoral College!), but many are still on Anger (the riots) or even Denial (the ones who are still saying “I just can’t believe…”). I sped through Depression last week and I’ve now arrived at Acceptance, and I’m telling you, as the train only goes one way, this is by far the best stop on the line.
If you’re going to protest a Trump presidency (and you better have voted for Hillary if you do, as no other option would have made any difference), make sure it counts. Don’t riot, don’t get in fights, don’t vandalize. Organize. Start a productive movement. Network. Build a coalition that will take back the Senate and the House in 2018. I’m not super-excited about turning our election cycles into a continuous stream of politicking, but for at least this go-round, if you’re going to be so worked up you may as well put it to good use. Make sure your senators and representatives get a call from you, and often. Donate to Progressive causes, purchase subscriptions to honest-to-goodness journalism outlets, and for fuck’s sake, when it comes time: VOTE in the mid-term elections.
Oh, and don’t forget to be kind to your #MAGA neighbors. Their whole opinion of who we are and what we stand for can be swayed almost entirely by what they see in you.
Are we good? You feel your pulse slowing yet? No? Then read this again. I’ll wait.