I once wrote here that “in the psychopath’s world, things are topsy-turvy. The psychopath sees our strengths as flaws, and sees his flaws as strengths. Things like love and trust and compassion make us fools who are easy to manipulate, while their ability to lie, manipulate, and act without remorse makes them strong and superior.”
Hate, and a lack of compassion, make people easy to manipulate, too. And so do frustration and desperation. We just witnessed this firsthand. Because of it, we now live in a world that is more topsy-turvy than ever.
“Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong, when they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”
(Stephen Bannon, top White House adviser to President-elect Donald Trump)
Here we are, in a strange and stupefying “post-fact” world after having been battered relentlessly by a crass, callous, pathologically narcissistic demagogue. It was degrading, exhausting and disgusting. Gaslighting! Brazen lies! Projection! Name-calling! Drama! Distraction! The manipulation was laid on thick and glaringly obvious, but a lot of people fell for it. The only questions now are what damage will be done, and what we can do about it.
Words became more real than reality. Lies overcame the blatantly obvious truth of a severely deficient character.
“It was the triumph of language manipulated to create fear instead of used to create reason, light.”
Karen Bender, author of Refund
Fear and manipulation go perfectly together. Believing someone is the only one who can keep you safe—even if they’re the one who created or heightened your fear in the first place—gives them all of your power.
Don’t let this become the “new normal.” It’s not normal at all. You’ll be hearing and reading plenty of things that “normalize” the new president, but remember that it can be hard for reporters who, unlike opinion writers, are expected to be balanced and objective. The duty to report can normalize speech and behavior that is abnormal — and unacceptable. For example, People magazine did what magazines do. They printed an issue on the new President-elect and his family. They didn’t, however, include in that article the hatred he encouraged and the fear he has inspired. They just made the whole thing seem like business as usual.
Even worse are calls to give the new president “the benefit of the doubt.” We know all too well where that leads us when someone does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, because there is no doubt. We have more than enough evidence. Decades of it, and of course what we saw right before our eyes.
And don’t be fooled into believing you owe him respect because of his position. When someone has no respect for you, you owe none in return.
There are some who are willing to speak the truth, like Charles Blow, in the NY Times article, “No, Trump, We Can’t Just Get Along,” Here are some excerpts:
“… You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything — no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts — to satisfy your ambitions…
I don’t believe you care much at all about this country or your party or the American people. I believe that the only thing you care about is self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. Your strongest allegiance is to your own cupidity….
You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver…
I am not easily duped by dopes…
I have not only an ethical and professional duty to call out how obscene your very existence is at the top of American government; I have a moral obligation to do so.
I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but rather to speak up for truth and honor and inclusion. This isn’t just about you, but also about the moral compass of those who see you for who and what you are, and know the darkness you herald is only held at bay by the lights of truth…
No, Trump, we will not all just get along. For as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity — and certainly this columnist — have an absolute obligation to meet you and your agenda with resistance at every turn.
I know this in my bones, and for that I am thankful.”
“It sucks that your generation has to fight this anew, but it’s not new. We say that to remind you that you have those strengths inside you, and you have them accumulated from previous generations.”
Mohja Kahf, author of The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf
So what do we do now? Fighting bad and regressive policy is important, but instead of just taking a stand AGAINST something, take a stand FOR something. Take a stand because it is right, not because the other side is wrong.
“… it seems the most urgent and essential task is to model the empathy Trump and his followers disavow, to resist convenient and self-serving cliches of cheap rhetoric, to refuse to comply with or keep silent about policies that undermine our essential values and beliefs, to witness, to stay awake.”
Kim Brooks, author of The Houseguest
“When you’re fighting intolerance and hatred — as we appear to be ― spreading empathy is itself a form of fighting, maybe the most effective and radical and lasting kind there is.”
Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You
To help yourself heal from not only the ugliness of the election but from your pre-existing trauma, extend your compassion and empathy to others. This is the perfect time for random acts of kindness. It helped me greatly when I was healing. A cure for a lack of empathy IS empathy—even our own, when we show it to others (and to ourselves). In fact, an article on that very subject is what I’d planned to write before I was thrown for a loop by recent events. It’s even more urgent now. The election (and now, the aftermath) may have left you traumatized. It traumatized a lot of people, and they need your compassion now, more than ever. You may be surprised at what extending your kindness and compassion to others does for them… and for you. This is not a time to shut down—it’s a time to reach out. It may seem as if the dark side won, but it will never truly win. It’s a constant battle, though, and one we must never tire of fighting.
“Given the current climate in our country and the terrible emphasis on hate, rage, and divisiveness, along with many tragic random acts of domestic and international terrorism and violence, it’s so important to counterbalance those traumas by noticing the small and large random acts of kindness. We need to maintain a sense of faith in the inherent goodness of people, and we need to nurture that ideology by looking for ways to show one another that we still care about the wellbeing of our fellow man. So rather than spending hours hypnotized and vicariously traumatized by the horrible news on the Internet or television, go out there and do an act of kindness for someone. Model it for your children so they learn to do it, too. Notice it when you see acts of generosity or compassion. We all need to believe in the possibility of honoring, loving, supporting, and respecting one another regardless of race, creed, color, or religious affiliation. It’s our best hope for healing in the world.” Psychology Today, Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA, Healing Trauma’s Wounds: Noticing Random Acts of Kindness
♥ LOVE TRUMPS HATE. Be the change you want to see in the world.