A friend of mine asked me yesterday, after reading my article on Hillary Clinton, why I bothered with her, and why I didn’t spend more of my time talking about our president, Donald Trump.
It was a good question.
My initial response to him was that people already know President Trump is ridiculous. He does and says ridiculous things, sometimes on purpose to get better “ratings,” and then the media goes into a frenzy. The reports are full of shock and disbelief. The comment sections are ablaze with debate and discord. The world collectively frowns on Americans for electing this man.
And President Trump continues to do and say as he pleases, with little to no consequence. This is the incessant loop we’ve found ourselves in.
Despite the ranting news anchors and political pundits, things in Washington and across the country seem to be getting increasingly more out of control and further away from any semblance of actually making America great…again. Whatever that actually means.
Also, if I’m being completely honest, Donald Trump exhausts me, and keeping up with his latest gives me a headache.
Still, I’ve taken it upon myself to write about this stuff, so if I’m exhausted just thinking about him, let alone writing about him, that’s my problem. It’s the path I’ve chosen, for some reason.
So, I find myself torn between two different thought streams.
The first? Don’t talk about the ridiculous things he says because that’s exactly what he wants. If you feed the beast, he’ll just grow more powerful. If the media “loves” when he talks about, say, helping to clean up the rubble from the World Trade Center with his own hands, he’ll have to top that statement (read: lie) the next time he decides to speak. That means more hyperbole, more fancy, and more volatility. He’ll never decide to scale back or compose himself at the behest of the “fake news” media. Trump very much subscribes to the idea that any attention – good or bad – is better than no attention. His narcissism dictates that he doesn’t care about the criticism he incurs because he believes himself to be above it all. Not to mention the fact that he is now in a position where he doesn’t really answer to anyone. The obvious problem with this approach is that Donald Trump is now the president of the United States. We, realistically, cannot and should not ignore him.
The second, then, is to talk about him. And talk about him a lot. The risk in remaining silent is normalizing his behavior. Staying silent implies that this is fine. This is not newsworthy. This is not a problem, and we’ve just learned to accept that our president has no sense of diplomacy, decency, refinement, tact, intellect, comprehension, compassion, etc. But it’s fine because our nation is still somewhat functional and we’re not all dead yet.
Well, it’s not ok. It’s not normal. And just because it’s unprecedented, it’s not an improvement upon what was. If something’s never been done before, maybe there’s a reason for that.
It reminds me of this guy I used to know. He would wear the worst outfits sometimes because it was different and no one else was wearing it. I never told him at the time, but there was a reason why no one else was wearing the crap he “scored” at the thrift store. It was ugly.
So, sticking with this incredibly basic analogy, wearing high-top sneakers adorned with glitter and gold chains is like impulsively threatening North Korea with “fire and fury.” It’s not edgy. It’s not hardcore. It’s desperately attention-seeking and inappropriate, and it’s an overall bad idea.
Different isn’t necessarily better. It can be, yes, but this isn’t what “better” looks like. That said, change is vital to any civilization. As the world and its people evolve in their lifestyles, thinking, and values, so should the governing institutions. But change should be thoughtful and deliberate, not “Let’s throw this guy in the White House and see what happens.” There should be purpose behind it – an issue that’s hoping to be resolved, and a vision for what that solution looks like.
So, back to my original conundrum – to speak or not to speak? To inform? To discuss? To offer a possibly different perspective? To explore the other side, even if it means risking stress and a headache?
But also to listen. To empathize, and to care. To question and to ponder. To accept what is and to see what can be improved upon. To understand that rough times do not endure. To dream of a brighter future. To encourage unity. To nurture younger generations and prospective leaders. To continue to live despite adversity. To remember that people inherently seek love and acceptance, rather than hate and division. To recognize the strength that lies within us, especially when we come together.
To do something.
Only through active participation in our world can we impact any kind of change. I realize that I’m in danger of sounding like a left-wing, disconnected, and delusional hippie when I say this, but we’ve got to raise the vibration of this planet, spreading light and operating on a positive, global scale. We’ve got to keep our goals and our vision for the future in mind, and ensure that our actions work towards making them a reality.
A pipe dream? Maybe. But what harm is there in taking a few baby steps?