Boy, has this blog been put off for a while. I have been saying to myself and others for weeks that I needed to have a game plan. A road map. Some kind of mental framework to deal with the incoming administration. People on either side of the aisle would have no trouble agreeing that we’re about to see a major pivot in U.S. politics. For some, this is a change they’ve been waiting 8 years for. For folks like me, it’s a shift that’s casting all kinds of scary shadows. Fear is never a good spot to be making decisions from. Everything gets warped and out of proportion. Then again, I’ve seen some very tangible evidence recently that we should keep the PANIC button at arm’s length.
In my adulthood (and believe me, I use that term loosely), I’ve lived through 16 of 24 years with a democrat as president. The remaining 8 had George W. Bush at the helm, and I think they were a disaster. Could it get any worse than an administration bullying a nation into war for reasons that were utterly false? A war that ultimately cost thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars? Plunging a nation into a needless war is the most damnable thing a leader can do, in my opinion. And whether it’s fair or not to all republicans, George W. Bush is my generation’s reference point for a republican president.
Huge, unmitigated FAIL.
Now with a new republican on the verge of taking power, liberals could be excused for jitters even if it was Mitt Romney. But of course, Romney looks like Ward Cleaver these days. We’re about to have some mashup of JR Ewing and Archie Bunker.
What the F U C K I N G F U C K E T Y F U C K are we in for???
Breathe, Jonathan, breathe. Let’s make our plan. These are My Commandments for The Trump Era.
1. KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
This has become cliche, but is no less true as when the Brits used it back in WWII. Trump will be president. I have accepted it. I’m not happy, but I also refuse to let his election tear me away from my goals and my passions. I’m not going to spend 4 years in freak out mode, trying to decide how to counteract his regime. This is my life, too. I still want to make art, tell stupid jokes on Facebook, raise my kids and love my wife. I will not let politics be the dictator of how I feel or what I want to do.
2. KNOW WHEN AND HOW TO SPEAK UP
If you’re on Facebook enough, you’ve seen one of those posts about how “your political meme totally changed my mind!” I have certainly been guilty of hammering political nails in your Facebook feed. Mea culpa. I’ve resolved to use my blog to air fears and strategies concerning Mr. Trump. It might not be 100% of my content, but I’ll keep it out of my Facebook posts, by and large, because really: that’s not what most of us are on social media for. If you wanna read the blog, you will. If you want to debate me, I welcome it. But we’ll do it “the old fashioned way”-- in person or through direct contact like email. We’re all Americans. We can have civil discourse. I think now more than ever, it’s imperative. Speaking of which…
3. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS
Some people get off on being dicks. The less time I give them, the better. So they will not only get zero keystrokes from me, I resolve to give them zero energy as well.
But we should also remember…
4. GET OUT OF YOUR BUBBLE
I have thought a lot about this since early November. I have several friends, many of them long time buddies, who voted for Trump. I want to stay in touch with their views. I want to hear their voice. They matter too-- even if we will never agree on some issues. I think that’s one of the core pillars of our country: diverging opinions and cultures figuring it out together, in the open. Not sealed up in our ideological boxes. This extends to politics as “entertainment” too. I have begun to wonder whether a steady diet of John Oliver and SNL is entirely good for me. I have no qualms with our leader being lampooned over and over (you’re the most powerful man in the world, dude, get over it) but the undercurrent of derision for people who support Mr. Trump is what has begun to bother me. I want to keep talking to people on all sides of an issue.
5. PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS
It’s much easier to ignore advocacy groups when “your” president is in power. You’re running the show, right? Why worry? I have never been terribly interested in policy details or lobbying efforts, but I do want people fighting the good fight for the next 4 years. So I have decided to give a little money every month to groups that advocate for our environment (my #1 issue) and a little to the ACLU, to make sure we are all protected under the law. One person can’t financially support every advocacy group alone, so whatever issues you care deeply about, consider donating a few bucks regularly to the cause. Also…
6. PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Smiling at a stranger on the street costs nothing. Waving at the car behind you when they let you change lanes? Zero dollars. I am now more determined than ever to do little positive things (and perhaps the occasional BIG positive thing) for no other reason than spreading love. Spend an hour watching cable news and you might come away with the impression that Hate is our national pastime. I’ve had enough. I’d rather do something fun and kind as a lark, than spend the same amount of time and effort focused on division.
I guess that’s it. We’re gonna make it, my fellow Americans! Just keep coming back to your Gloria Gaynor mantra: I WILL SURVIVE!
And if you voted for Mr. Trump, I hope the next four years make you feel a sense of positivity about our country. I really do. And if that happens, share your story with me. Maybe our discussion will become its own blog. Meantime, I’ll be smiling at my studio, making more art, and trying to come up with silly gags for your Facebook feed.