Alright… suppose we get exactly what we want and Trump gets his ass handed to him on November 3, and his last full day is scheduled for January 19, 2021? After he’s gone, then what? I mean, sure, we’ll be relieved that the government will again be in the hands of sane people, and we can start our journey back to something resembling normal, but really, what do we do.
We need a plan.
Following the election and the inaugurations of Joe Biden as President (I’ll be able to remove the quotes!) and Kamala Harris as the nation’s first woman Vice President, we will have to figure out a way to move forward as a country and recover from the Trump Nightmare we have lived through for four years.
For example, what the hell do we do about the Trumpers? While their hero will be gone, millions of the most deplorable people in our nation will still be here, and they have already been emboldened. It’s not very realistic to expect them to simply go away, and keep their white anger and overt racism under wraps. They are also not the types of people we can safely ignore. Like it or not, we have to figure out a way to work with them. There are not enough of them to decide elections, as long as we good people start voting every time we’re supposed to. However, there are enough of them to make us nervous. And since they love making us nervous, we can;’t expect them to simply crawl back under the rock they came from. Besides, most of them spawn, so they have children and/or grandchildren, which means ignoring them means this kind of shit happens again and again.
We have some history to learn from, if we bother to look at it…
Consider; following World War I, which was called “The Great War” because no one at the time could think of a war that was worse. Europe was in shambles and millions were dead. So, the Western powers took the opportunity to stick it to Germany for causing such a terrible war, and they responded with the Treaty of Versailles, which caused Germany lots of pain, which led to a lot of resentment on the part of the German people. This led to the rise of the Nazis and Hitler, which led to another war that was in many ways worse than the “Great War.”
In other words, we kicked Germany’s ass in the war and then kicked them again while they were down, and it led to a second war, along with the attempted extermination of people who weren’t properly “Aryan.” Tens of millions of people were killed in that war, which came about because we decided that kicking their asses was insufficient, so we rubbed their noses in it. Essentially, we justified their hatred and resentment, and they became even more hateful and resentful.
I know a lot of people will consider it awful that I am comparing Trump cultists to Nazis, but really, is it that far off? Many of Donald Trump’s faithful fans are proudly white supremacists, who think their whiteness makes them better than anyone else, especially those who are not as pale as we are.
After World War II, the United States took a different tack, and reconciled with both Germany and Japan and helped them rebuild into economic powerhouses. Now, they are among the more progressive democracies in the world, which is why Trump hates them and “loves” North Korea.
There is a cliche that seems to apply here. Pardon me for sending sappy, but it gets this way:
“You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
It’s true. It means, if you treat pissed-off people as if they’re sub-human, they are far more likely to become sub-human. On the other hand, if you simply treat them as fellow humans, you can often get them to act civilly and you may have a fighting chance to change their minds. Now, I’m not stupid; hardcore Trump fans have been assholes since long before Donald Trump entered politics. However, they are also Americans and swear they are “patriots” above all. I know their definition of “patriot” is severely warped, but I believe there is a possibility of redefining the term in a way that even Trumpers can accept.
Part of this effort will require all of us to stop writing off the “Deep South” and to start reaching out to the poor and minorities in those states, as a way of making them more prosperous in the future. They have been extremely poor states for a very long time, and we would do better if we reached out to them and offered them a better way to do things. And since (hopefully) Trump will be gone and the GOP will be a minority party in the federal government, we’ll be better able to send help where it needs to go. And over the next few election cycles, we can make sure Democrats take over more state governments, thus getting them away from the cycle of state-level economic suicide the GOP has sold to so many states over the years. Instead of confiscating money from California and New York taxpayers and sending it to Mississippi and Alabama, perhaps they can instead borrow the Blue states’ skill at balancing budgets and providing job training and higher wages to families.
In the meantime, we can also just legislate against bullying and racism to the extent possible, while making such actions socially unacceptable, the same way as we all made the “N-Word” an unacceptable curse word that most people don’t have the guts to either write or say out loud anymore.
By making poor red states less horrible places to live, we will manage to make most of the pissed-off white people who follow Trump a bit less pissed-off. With a little more self-esteem, they may actually become less obnoxious. With a little more real confidence replace their false bravado, they may lose their veneer as bullies and they may actually become decent people.
And let’s be real; I am not delusional enough to believe they would do anything for the rest of us if roles were reversed. They hate us and they feel poor joy when “liberals” are upset. However, if we’re going to highlight the fact that these people are horrible, we have to be much better than they are. I’m not asking anyone to love Trump and his cultists. All I’m asking is that we acknowledge they exist, and stop deluding ourselves into believing that a period of silence from these assholes means they have been vanquished. I’m not asking that everyone become a Christian, but it seems to me that following some of the teachings of Christ, to turn the other cheek, may be of major benefit to most Americans.
The reaction to Trump should be a greater love for this country, love for the people who were victimized by Trump and love for the democratic process, which turned us into what used to be the envy of the world. It’s not necessary t hate Trump, and it’s not necessary to hate Trump supporters. In fact, you should only hate what they stand for, and only enough to make sure we never elect a schmuck to major political office ever again. We have before us what should be a major motivation to vote in every election, and little more. Therefore, hating anyone is kinda pointless, so ease up and prepare to make a better country and a better society. And we are only better as long as we welcome people, not when we reject them and try to piss them off.
Also published on Medium.