Instead of Resisting the Trump- loyalist Radical Right, it’s Time to Rise Above Them

Regardless of impeachment conviction or acquittal, the dangerous ideology will continue to live among us

Erika Anne Sauter
Feb 13 · 6 min read
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

COVID-19 and the Midwest Snowpocalyse 2021 has reduced my connection with the outside world to a corner of my hundred-year-old farmhouse.

The view from where the desk sits looks over the pond and across Iowa’s winter back drop. A false sense of security, it feels serene, calm and intimate.

On day two of ex-president Trump’s impeachment trial, the temperature dips to -18 degrees and over four feet of snow covers the ground. I’d just returned indoors from feeding the wildlife when my husband asked, “How does Trump have so much power over so many Republican senators?”

“Trump isn’t the one with the power,” I responded. “They fear the constituents who voted for them, and rightfully so.

The 2016 election birthed a new political party. It’s not just the Democrats and the common sense conservatives anymore. The Trump-loyalist radical right is here to stay. We’re at a whole new level of government corruption and destruction in our country.

How helpful is this for the American people? Not at all. But we’re not victims either. We The People who freely elected officials without questioning their ability to pass the basic U.S. Naturalization Citizen test have to ask ourselves, what were we thinking?

Aren’t they supposed to be working for us?

The Trump-loyalist party refuses to play by the rules of democracy. Their primary aim is to pin the American people against one another, and it’s working. Their purpose is to get us riled up and pissed off and revolt. They use social media bots to get into our heads.

However, the one thing they failed to consider is that most of us are better people than they think. Many of us know the difference between right and wrong and that Nazism isn’t our thing, but we also need to pick up our game on how we get our message out.

We need to reevaluate our approach.

Do not engage.

It’s easy to get tangled up in the battleground of social media. Trust me, I know. Every time I see a Trump-loyalist leave a comment about their freedom, it takes restraint to not respond with, “I assure you as someone who fought for your freedoms, I didn’t fight for the freedom to pose a public health risk.”

We will not get through to them, so give it up. We’re only perpetuating the problem when we engage. It’s a battle either side can’t win. When two sides demand they’re right, it strangles any room to move forward.

I don’t control Facebook and Twitter users or anyone else other than myself. Instead, I use what power I have, which is leading by example. As a reporter who lives my coverage area, it’s widely known who I am. That’s why everyone will see a mask on my face, even when I’m standing 20 feet away from people outdoors.

If we want the Trump-loyalist to change their behavior, we’re going to have to change ours. Don’t be the guy who wastes two hours trying to get through to someone whose goal is to not hear you. And by not engaging, we’ve robbed them of their ability to assault us. We’ve set a boundary, and an example.

Build a relationship with your state senator and house representative.

2020 was the first time in my adult life that I voted blue down the entire ballot of the local, state and national election. Unfortunately, too many of my fellow Iowans voted solid red.

Regardless of party preference, I reached out and developed relationships with my state senator and house representative to ensure they hear my voice. No matter what, we’re going to have to work together.

Our state lawmakers are our neighbors or community members who we elected by us to represent us in our home state. Use dialog that welcomes conversation and be resolute and consistent.

If we want our voices heard and our message received, ground zero is the place to start. We are spending way too much time focused on our federal government. Those who we elect as local and state officials are our line of defense against the newly birthed Trump-loyalist party.

Change begins right here at home, as proven by the people of Georgia, Stacey Abrams and Lauren Groh-Wargo, and U.S. Senators Ossoff and Warnock.

Start emailing. Start calling. Start building those relationships.

Build trust by using your local newspaper.

I’m not about to deny that social media doesn’t have the power to create a movement. The world witnessed the extent of that power on Jan. 6, the day of the U.S. Capitol insurrection. But that only proves the damage it causes. We will get nowhere lashing out in 280 characters at a time into a void equally frustrated as we are.

There’s another platform we have access too were we can speak up in our own communities, where we have the power to educate or speak our minds. We can submit letters to the editor in local newspapers across the state.

National media outlets spin a narrative that local newsprint journalism is dead. This is a farce. According to a 2017 NPR Weekend Edition, small-town newspapers maintained community trust regardless of Trump’s attempts to suppress the American people’s First Amendment rights with his fake claims of “FAKE NEWS!”

I live in Iowa, where according to the Iowa Newspaper Association, there are over 300 local newspapers across the state and believe it or not, citizens read the newspaper. If they didn’t, I would be unemployed.

Most of these publications invite reader submissions. My boss, who owns a regional, independent newspaper, prints every one we receive. We serve over 14,000 subscribers, and that doesn’t include newsstand sales. To some, this may sound like a small number, but that’s over 70% of households in our coverage area.

There’s no limit on how many newspapers we can submit the same letter to the editor. In fact, the more we do, the wider reach we have.

Get involved.

It’s so uncool to run our mouths without the willingness to put in the work. Don’t be a Marjorie Taylor Greene who clearly did not do the research on space laser beams before spouting off that they started forest fires back in 2018.

Every crack and crevice of our country is suffering crises. We’re exposed to pandemic, economic and political fatigue daily. We will not resolve it by debating with an alternate reality on Facebook.

Any hope we have depends on us putting in the work. It’s hard work, but we have to do it if we’re going to build back a system that acknowledges all citizens and not just those at the top of the chain of intimidating.

There are several ways to get involved whether it’s by joining your local political party chapter, activist groups, hosting a virtual town hall to discuss issues that concern you, et cetera.

Pay attention. Educate yourself. Get involved. Take part. Get to work. This isn’t about politics. It’s about us, We The People.

Check yourself.

At some point, despite which side of the fence we stand, we’re going to have to ask ourselves, what’s my role in all of this insanity? How can I be a better person? How can I contribute to positive change?

In the beginning of the pandemic, back in the Tiger King days, I went 111 days without a day off. It displaced our editorial staff from one another. It was day 112 when I succumbed to the exhaustion and trauma.

As drained and bitter, as I was, it gave me the opportunity to reevaluate how I can set healthy boundaries, and focus on what I needed to do to stop rolling over in the morning, opening my laptop and saturating myself deep in pure insanity.

I designated a spot in my home and that’s where my work and the news stays. There’s now a door that separates me from the outside world. My first cup of coffee is no longer spent catching up on yesterday’s highlights. It’s now spent stretching and meditating, petting cats and admiring the majestic view outside my window.

I provided myself the space to reflect on our current crises and issues that are most important to me and members in my community. It’s made quite a difference to no longer come out of the gate feeling frustrated and filled with outrage each day.

Ready. Set. Go.

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Erika Anne Sauter

Written by

Behavioral science ed/ reporter in Eastern Iowa. Informed and opinionated. My hobbies include petting cats, research & farming.

Politically Speaking

We all view the world through a unique lens. Politics is in literally everything from our churches to our social organizations to news events and crime to our governments. This is the place to share your view, regardless of your political leanings: all are welcome.

Erika Anne Sauter

Written by

Behavioral science ed/ reporter in Eastern Iowa. Informed and opinionated. My hobbies include petting cats, research & farming.

Politically Speaking

We all view the world through a unique lens. Politics is in literally everything from our churches to our social organizations to news events and crime to our governments. This is the place to share your view, regardless of your political leanings: all are welcome.

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