by Shelton Bumgarner
It is easy to get outraged by the malfeasance and autocratic nature of Trump. It’s really easy. And, yet, we’ve reached the point where we can no longer be angry all the time. It’s what they want. They want to wear us out to such an extent that the United States becomes a “managed democracy” like Russia.
What I suggest is instead of being outraged, by energized.
Channel all that outrage into constructive means of political engagement. It doesn’t have to be a lot — it could be simply having an intelligent debate — in real life! — with someone who disagrees with you. It could be voting in a special election. Just stay engaged. Don’t tune out and let Trumplandia spread even farther across the land.
But it’s difficult to do this, I know. I was angry for a long, long time and alienated numerous people that in hindsight I regret having alienated. Or not. I guess now that I’ve calmed down some, I see how only by bridging the divide between myself and members of Trumplandia will anything change.
So, people like me need to stop blaming Trumplandia voters and we need to begin to figure out how to get to the root of the problem. Hell, we need to figure out what the root of the problem is to begin with. It’s still a mystery to me.
Every explanation people have given me for why Trumplandia exists at all simply doesn’t make any sense. Maybe it boils down to something even more basic than any of us dare contemplate — the great man theory of history. It could be that Donald Trump through sheer force of will exploited deep, dark things in the American psyche that none of us realized still existed.
It didn’t help that not only was Hillary Clinton a horrible candidate, she faced the headwinds of misogyny and Russian meddling. Throw in the traditional ebb and flow of American politics and once Trump got past the primaries, it was pretty much inevitable he would win the general election.
But let’s go back to outrage. At least one Trump voter has told me that everytime I expressed outrage on Facebook Live, it only made them want to vote for Trump more. I find that to be a puzzling, to say the least, line of reasoning. It seems as though Trumplandia is a guttural grunt in the general direction of a mythical time in America’s recent past when it was “great.”
I still can’t figure out when, exactly, that was and why we would want to go back to it given my belief that America is great now. Or, at least, was, until Trump grabbed it by the genitals.
So, don’t get angry. Whatever you do, don’t get angry. Get engaged. Try to bridge the divide between The Resistance and Trumplandia. We have a long, long, long road ahead of us and the sooner we trade in our outrage for engagment, the sooner maybe we can go back to normal.