This week Trump granted the Russians their biggest prize yet by withdrawing from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Now the Russians have a free hand to test and develop cheap tactical nukes, weapons for which we have no use and no plans, whose purpose is to intimidate the Baltic states and Europe. Our European allies are now officially alone, and our last ready tools for limiting the Russians’ expansion of their nuclear arsenal have been destroyed.
It’s the same week that supposedly “pro-life” activists spun up their propaganda machine to spew lies about new abortion bills in Virginia and New York. Meanwhile, administration officials acknowledged in an ACLU lawsuit that the government cannot locate the immigrant children sent off to concentration camps. “Pro-life” activists, who unleashed this regime on the world, were silent. It is undeniable now that the pro-life movement will inflict any and all necessary harm to living human beings to achieve their dream of universal forced birth.
Texas Republicans launched a brazen voter purge aimed at limiting Democratic gains in 2020. Their campaign was aided by air-cover from Trump, who Tweeted a discredited lie about illegal votes in the state.
Andrew Wheeler, the coal industry lobbyist who now runs the EPA, just appointed a collection of climate trolls to the agency’s Science Advisory Board. One of the new appointments, Alabama professor John Cristy, is that state’s official climatologist. Bet you didn’t know they had one. Would you be surprised to learn that he also earned a degree from a Baptist seminary? If you’re under 30, you’ve never experienced a month below Earth’s long-term average temperature. But don’t worry, your planet is in the hands of faithful religious believers.
As if that weren’t enough, Trump is touting solid job creation numbers as evidence that Americans’ deal with the Devil is paying off. Here’s what job creation actually looks like since 1995.
Can you spot the Trump miracle in this graph? Of course you can, if you believe The Leader!
Damage is piling up and relief from this unfolding disaster hangs beyond the horizon. The tide has irrevocably turned against this regime and its collaborators, but like life in Europe in 1944, the worst remains ahead. For those of us who genuinely care about this country, people who were proud to be Americans and felt an investment in this country’s future, the damage is personal. It’s like living in a beautiful old home rotting away from leaking pipes and vandalism.
Sustained anger can feed paranoia. Alternatively, it can build determination. The latter will be badly needed, as cleaning up the damage from this regime will likely take decades. A focus on long-term outcomes, rather than an obsession with the day-by-day casualty report makes a key difference. How do we manage the burden of rage fatigue?
For the love of all that’s decent and holy, turn off cable news. It’s a mania machine, a civic cancer tuned to stoke momentary passion at the expense of clarity or vision. Round the clock cable news has all the health value of Mountain Dew.
Stop trying to engage your enemies. Don’t waste breath yelling at them or listening to them. We do not live in a healthy democracy. Your political opponents in the Republican Party do not have your interests at heart. Most of them, like Sarah Huckabee Sanders, are convinced they’re hearing the voice of God himself in Donald Trump. Anyone who remains sympathetic to this regime at this point won’t be moved by any rational argument. People who care about civic discourse and civility don’t lose track of the children they kidnapped and placed in concentration camps. Every second of engagement with Republicans will produce frustration and pointless anger. If you fail to out-organize, out-maneuver, and out-vote them, then your country has a very troubled future. Focus your energy on what matters, and it isn’t them.
Be careful with social media. Despite its increasingly poor reputation, social media platforms are the most powerful tool for political organization ever invented. Use them for practical purposes, building connections and coordination with allies. Distrust it always as a source of information. Pause before you retweet or repost. Take a few breaths before you believe anything you read online. Even the most committed journalistic sources make mistakes in the moment. Time is the ally of truth.
Avoid all sources of outrage porn. When lynch mobs assemble around unsubstantive allegations of misbehavior, like Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook photos, move slowly and with caution. Those scenarios are likely to produce bitter regrets. Hovering from one social media outrage to the next undermines focus and takes a toll on mental health. It also leaves you vulnerable to manipulation and disinformation.
Get connected to politics where you live. Not just your county or your town, but your precinct. Know your neighborhood. If you have detailed opinions about matters of national or international politics and you don’t know the name of your city councilman, you are adrift without an anchor. Winning an online flame-war and losing your precinct means you lost, period. Keeping your feet on the ground in the real world of local issues is a powerful mediating force that tempers political anger, forging it into action.
Most of all, prepare for the long haul. It’s unlikely that Trump will even be on the ballot in 2020, but we have to keep his memory alive. People who sold their souls to protect this administration must not be allowed to whitewash their crimes. Wherever Trump is in 2028, he must remain squarely on the ballot in rhetorical terms.
Rehabilitating our country will take patience born of slow-smoldering rage. Ration it. Keep it banked by reason, good sense and historical perspective. Avoid being swept into the virtual-reality of social media mobs by staying tied to concrete realities in the place where you live. Don’t hold out hope for a quick fix. For many of us this will be the work of a lifetime, built on patience, grit, sacrifice and hope. Breath. Slow down. Brace for a long haul.