Underneath our seeping political wounds over the past 5 years is an unsettled feeling no one on either side knows how to fix.
Because we can’t. Ever.
I’m an optimist and even with my abundance of wishful thinking I’m 100% sure we can’t move past this. By “this,” I mean finding “political common ground” with Trump supporters as we’re charged to do to “heal the nation.”
Don’t misunderstand, we’ll get back to decency and normal partisan political scuffling now that Trump is (almost) off the world stage. But the Trump Factor, aka those who love him, and the rest of us, can never discuss that man again if we want to get back to normal times with our loved ones, neighbors, etc.
This may not be the feel-good answer, but it’s true.
Because if we stop talking about Trump with his supporters we no longer have to feel like we’re trying to convince people that the blue sky they insist is yellow, is in fact, blue. It’s crazy-making to see something others don’t or won’t see.
One of the greatest tragedies of Trumplandia is that there’s no going back.
Now we know who supported him (twice), which includes some of our favorite people in the world. Family, friends, our dry cleaner, our pharmacist, our sweet neighbor (still sweet, btw). For a faction of Trump supporters, it was rabid zealot love from the start.
For others it was an insidious growing tolerance for his string of horrors, a numbing effect if you will, combined with full rejection of the Democrats. Either way, sad.
It’s deeply painful that our once benign political foe, say our opinionated Uncle Frank who used to be relentless with his trickle-down Reaganism vs our grassroots approach, isn’t who you thought he was.
Pre-Trump Uncle Frank was just a different sort of patriot than you or I. Not better or worse, but with an alternate point of view about what he thinks is best for the nation.
Except now Uncle Frank thinks what’s best for the nation is Trump.
A certifiable malignant narcissistic, racist, sexist, xenophobe, demagogue and autocrat in bed with Putin.
A president for who lying to is the norm and for who using superlatives (biggest crowd!) and bullying (loser!) is used to rile and divide rather than to keep calm and inform, as presidents are called to do.
A president who on the daily panicked the world (and his staff) with rogue tweets designed to feed his fragile ego and elevate his delusions of grandeur. It’s not a good strategy to keep people guessing “What next?” on the world stage. It’s a dangerous mind screw.
Trump politically and personally pulverized his own party naysayers until they retreated or crawled up his ass. He knowingly and repeatedly downplayed a deadly pandemic, smirked while he stoked hate in proud racists, and diabolically worked to dismantle democracy.
And in his latest flagrant act of corruption, Trump asked Georgia’s Secretary of State to ‘find’ him votes.
Trump does all this with the smug conceit of a megalomaniac convinced his power transcends the sanctity of facts, the Constitution and civility.
Come on, that person is better than a Democrat?
So no, with all due respect, I can’t reconcile a 2020 Trump vote. And frankly, I don’t want to. Not out of pride, because of my moral compass. Of course I’m no saint. I don’t see myself as better or worse than anyone out there. I’m plenty flawed.
But I’m damn proud that I sensed from the moment Trump mocked a disabled journalist and said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” or that McCain wasn’t a hero because he was captured or that Megan Kelly “had blood coming out of her eyes. Or blood coming out of her where ever,” that I knew in my every cell, that this guy wasn’t presidential material.
This is unquestionably a sick man. A “stable genius” isn’t prone to referring to himself as a stable genius.
Still I’ll never show a hint of unkindness to a Trump supporter. Never. That’s just basic Golden Rule 101. Like with all my opposing views, my disgust or disappointment will never come up in conversation. My relationships are a million times more precious than the Divider-In-Chief’s dark shadow of evil (and evil he is).
It’s easy to say now that Trump’s no longer a grave threat. Although his devout will undoubtedly keep him relevant by rallying his Trumpian views and a 2024 run.
Yet I’ll never forget that Trump voters and too many politicians thought he was a proper role model for our kids. Neither would they if they were honest and dealt with their boatload of cognitive dissonance.
Trump repeatedly showed the emotional maturity of a toddler. He lacked integrity, stability, humility, contrition and a commitment to the truth. He’s nothing more than a schoolyard bully who beat the nation’s soul to a pulp. He’s a psychological abuser I’d kick out of my house, nevermind hire him as president.
It’s an understatement to say our nation wasn’t left A Better People thanks to this president. In time we became a pitied laughing stock the world over.
Lately my small church groups and I have been talking about how to heal the great divide. How we might come together. I have no doubt we can, but not in the way we did before Trumplandia. Instead of facing head-on where we disagree (about Bush, Clinton, Obama) over the dinner table or in moderated town halls, we have to pretend Trumplandia never happened.
This means we politely change the subject if someone brings it up.
Because what I’ve failed to successfully convey in five years of posting about Trump is that the problem doesn’t begin with his partisan politics.
The problem is first and foremost him. His character. The buck stops there. Trump is inherently a very bad person.
This is the sole reason I won’t talk to his supporters about their leader. Because either A) They think he’s a good person or B) They know he isn’t a good person but they don’t care.
It goes without saying that’s not a foundation for a reasonable discussion. I think he’s evil. You don’t. Exactly how do we progress from there?
So if we ever want to remember how life used to feel in politics before Trumplandia, we have to at least pretend it never happened.
Of course we’ll never fully escape Trump’s blustering that the election was stolen. His devout see him as the victimized Chosen one (some literally) and Democrats as a dangerous bunch of radical lefty socialists (despite the President-elect’s clearly moderate platform).
So sadly our Trump vs Never Trump divide will remain a gaping wound best not aggravated into further oozing infection.
So for the love of peace with our Trump-loving friends, family and community, let’s stop talking to them about he who shall not be named.