Happy New Year….
With the recent election the GOP has taken control of the US House, Senate, the Presidency, Supreme Court, the vast majority of governorships and statehouses across the country. Their political control of the nation is nearly complete. For liberals, moderates and some conservatives, the next two years are going to be difficult to stomach politically. How should we deal with this new landscape? What is the best response? What should we focus on while the reactionaries finally get to run the nation? I have a few tips that might help you not only mentally and emotionally handle the next couple of years, but could give you some useful ideas to work on.
1. Ignore Trump
This may be impossible. He’d like it to be impossible. His #1 skill is drawing attention to himself, and he and his staff will employ his considerable talent to draw and rivet press and public attention to his hi-jinx.
But ignore him you must.
He is a compulsive liar
And utterly full of s**t
And a sociopath
What exactly will it gain you to fact-check an attention-seeking compulsive liar for the next four years? He doesn’t care, most of his supporters don’t care, and you’ll wast valuable energy on an activity that provides no tangible benefit to you or your community or nation.
I’m not advocating ignorance of his actions! Be vigilant! But understand a goal of Trump and the GOP is to draw your attention to the laser disco ball of the Trump experience while quiet, buttoned-up staffers busily tunnel under your social security, medicare, wallet, schools and environment.
To deal with a sociopath, think like one.
When you interact with a sociopath, keep your guard up and resist the temptation to talk it out or change the person. (Including his hard-core supporters!)
Remember that sociopaths aren’t motivated by love, but by power, so you want to show them you won’t give them power over you. (That means ignoring them!)
This brings us to the second step of maintaining your sanity during the next 2 years:
2. Pay very close attention to your state, local and Congressional reps for the next year!! (You’ll have less time to worry about Trump)
These are the bodies that have actual impact on your day-to-day life! The President has an outsized influence on foreign policy but very little domestic power.
Take time to look up the bills they are putting up for a vote
Take the time to look up the rules and regs (or repeal of them) they are trying to implement
Get involved with your local and state party chapters
The state and federal GOP know they have 1 year to bum rush as much toxic legislation through that they can. 1 year to accomplish everything they’ve been dreaming of as quickly as possible. Why 1 year? Well year 2 is spent letting the electorate cool off and forget the most egregious actions in time for mid-terms and re-election.
Spend special time paying attention to the organization ALEC. They’ll be writing most of the legislation that your Republican legislature and governor are going to try to pass.
3. Spend less time on social media* / Spend less time watching the MSM
The internet is a double-edged sword. Nowhere is there more information about anything you’d like to know more about. This is unhelpful. Trying to wade through a sea of information and spending precious time and energy sifting through it to find useful, true information is daunting.
The MSM has already proven that they are unable (and unwilling) to act as a check on power of our government. The vast majority of large national media outlets are owned by corporations or families/foundations that need to to turn a profit, not perform journalism.
A comment section of an online article may be an entertaining place to do battle, but very few of the commenters there are interested in learning anything new or having their opinions changed.
In the autocratic plutocracy you now live in, you don’t have time for clickbait, and long protracted Facebook battles over how much President Obama’s vacations cost.
Spend your time being far more choosy about the sources of information that you use. And any source of information needs to be evaluated very closely. Have higher standards!
From the University of Santa Cruz:
“Not all information is created equal. Just because you find information (on the internet) it does not guarantee that it is accurate or good (information). In an academic setting, being able to critically evaluate information is necessary in order to conduct quality research. Each item you find must be evaluated to determine its quality and credibility in order to best support your research.
To evaluate a source consider the following:
Who published the source? Is it a university press or a large reputable publisher? Is it from a government agency? Is the source self-published? What is the purpose of the publication? Where does the information in the source come from? Does the information appear to be valid and well-researched, or is it questionable and unsupported by evidence? Is there a list of references or works cited? What is the quality of these references? Who is the author? What are the author’s credentials (educational background, past writing, experience) in this area? Have you seen the author’s name cited in other sources or bibliographies? Is the content a first-hand account or is it being retold? Primary sources are the raw material of the research process; secondary sources are based on primary sources.
When was the source published? Is the source current or out of date for your topic?
What is the author’s intention? Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda? Is the author’s point of view objective and impartial? Is the language free of emotion-rousing words or bias?”
https://www.propublica.org Is a good place to start!
4. Don’t stay outraged!
You can’t stay outraged for the next 4 years. You’ll harm your mental and physical health. Why do you think some older white men are dropping dead at an alarming rate? 24 years of foaming at the mouth over the Clintons, Obamas and the shadowy liberal agenda are literally killing them. Burning yourself to a cinder emotionally does you and your family no favors.
Stay focused instead. Narrow your outrage to a laser-beam, shorten your playing field. You can’t go crazy over every issue there is. Pick one or two that are most important and become an expert, an advocate, an irritant.
If LGBT rights are the most important thing you are concerned about, become a warrior for that.
If protection of Social Security is the most important thing to you, become a constant irritant to your state and federal officials about that topic.
If wealth and income inequality is the single biggest threat to our nation, then act like it.
The GOP understands this. Their sole focus is funneling wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. That’s it. One or two goals. Guns and abortion are means used to continue to gather and hold political power in order to accomplish their overarching objective. Learn something from them.
Get some more exercise.
Practice calming breathing and meditation exercises.
Spend more time outside.
Take up a new hobby.
Pace yourself. Get strong, stay healthy, stay focused.
Your nation and your neighbors need you.
*except for PlanetPOV of course