Wednesday, February 15, 2017

TRUMP WATCH #14: How to Survive in a World of All Trump all the Time

For the past 3-weeks or so, it seems that every morning when I open my digital edition of the NYTimes or when I receive notifications from the Washington Post all I see are stories about Trump or about some issue related to him. And when I browse Facebook, much of what I see are posts from FB-friends about him. And when I open emails from my non-FB-using friends, I often find that they’ve sent me links to articles about him and/or are writing about their despair regarding a wide range of his behaviors and pronouncements.

None of this is surprising; it is a big part of what Trump is seeking, what he wants, what he needs: ATTENTION. He can use even the attention that is negative, turning it around, ju-jitsu-like, to attack those he views as his enemies--- the media, judges, protesters, and celebrities & politicians who criticize him--- and to curry favor with his fawning base who just love the way he’s going after immigrants and refugees and Muslims and Mexicans and other “bad hombres.”

However, the real danger of “all Trump all the Time” is the toll it takes on those who are most concerned about the right-wing agenda of Trump and his media and political allies. Every outrageous utterance, every bald-faced lie, every bellicose threat, every constitutionally questionable executive order, every mindless attack on Obama and his legacy, in short everything Trump and his right-wing enablers say or do is a punch to the gut. 

It is infuriating and exhausting, but worse, it is distracting and debilitating--preventing us from having a clear focus on the issues that matter most to us and robbing us of the time and energy we could otherwise apply in actively resisting the right-wing Trump/Bannon agenda.

So, let me urge you to do 3 things for yourself in this Trumpian “brave new world”: 

1. Choose the issues that matter most to you and follow them diligently; i.e., gather and check the facts being presented, try to understand what these facts mean for our country, the world, and people who live anywhere and everywhere; determine what you can do to address the challenges posed by Trump and his right-wing allies and DO IT.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let the tabloids, radio talk shows, all-news TV stations, bloggers and tweeters of the right and left, and SNL carry on about Trump’s tweets, Kellyanne’s gaffes, Sean Spicer’s pathetic defenses of the latest Trumpism, world leaders being entertained at Mar-a-Lago, the cost of Eric Trump’s security while he’s on business trips, or even the cost of security surrounding Trump Tower in NYC. None of these topics deserves the attention you might give it or the anger you might feel about it.

3. If it makes you feel better to occasionally read or hear about any of the more idiotic and ridiculous aspects of Trump world, especially in comedic forms---- SNL, Dunesbury, New Yorker Cartoons, Stephen Colbert, etc--- go for it. The better you feel, the more effective you’ll be in carrying out suggestions 1 and 2 above.

Mea culpa. I feel that in some of my past Trump Watches, I have been guilty of indiscriminate listing of articles that span Trump world from the ridiculous to the profound. Going forward (at least for awhile), I will try to focus on one issue at a time, to help you with suggestion #1 above.

My contribution for today is to recommend that you read an interview with Gary Kasparov, former World Champion Chess Master and Russian dissident, currently living in exile with his family in New York.  I think it may help you survive in a world of “All Trump All the Time.”
A conversation with chess champion Garry Kasparov.

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