That makes me sad. Sadder than anything he has done besides make us hate him. Hating him gives him power over us.
Many who hate him will never meet him. Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that his persona would be less repulsive if we know him; my guess is the opposite. I’m saying that it makes me sad that such a self-destructive emotion can be triggered in us by someone we’ve never even met.
More sadness: Hate is more contagious than any germ, because media can’t transmit a virus.
Where is the outrage? That’s a question I can stomach OK. But if I’m reading psychology right, rage is a motivating emotion. I can understand if many of us think we have no other way to express that than by unproductive tribalistic hate in solidarity. But I cannot be anything except sad when that expression deepens or spreads poison.
I don’t want to be deeply affected by an administration that will eventually pass into history with very little effect left behind. Go ahead and lambaste me about all the damage he is doing. By my reading of history, the damage done by bad leaders is inextricably due in part to the strong emotions evoked in a populace. Rage is making us complicit in Trump’s ill work. Hate and unproductive outrage are doing the deeper damage to our nation’s soul.
I beg Trump-haters to look past their confirmation biases and tribalism and more deeply to their individual souls. Hate and unproductive outrage are not good for a person’s soul, so cannot be for the soul of our nation.
I beg Trump-haters to remember that half our nation elected him. That means the person to our left or right was just as likely to vote for as against. Anti-Trumpism leaves their mistaken support no way out. If they are ashamed, our hatred motivates their defenses, not a pause, nor honest reflection, nor reconsideration. If their conversion is not our wish, then what is? Is it more important for us to be on the right side than to be a good for our own selves and our country? If it is, that makes me sad too, because that’s basely unpatriotic.
Trump voters can’t hear any willingness to engage them over our shouts of vitriol. We have nothing to gain by rancor and shouting but the affirmation of our tribe, which of course we already have; where is the value in hating and unproductive rage? Nowhere. We’re unpatriotic (after all, he was elected by our democratic republic), and we’re hypocrites.
Do we honestly feel better after expressing these emotions destructively? Outrage is a motivating emotion, and we are certainly motivating–motivating people against us to be more defensively against us. Motivating more division. Killing America’s soul.
In a decade or so, I think history may look back on this administration and extol its remarkable and timely value to our country. Trump electors got to express their fear, anger, and disenfranchisement. And Trump haters got a scapegoat they needed to do the same thing. I suppose if we all get to pour out our poison, at least it doesn’t stay inside us.
Neil D. 2020-03-17