Note: Comments are now well over 200. That means if you want to see all the comments, including those nested under others, you have to go to the bottom of the page and click on “load more.” You may have to do this several times. // Jim
Oh nonsense, show Drumpf no quarter! He is president in name and legality only. If by whatever means an abomination seizes power it is our civic duty to never stop screaming it from the highest mountain. His path should be made as difficult to traverse as legally possible!
-- CrisP, Comment on Resolutions, Stonekettle Station
Those are some of the more … polite things I’ve been called over the last 24 hours.
That last one is my favorite. Sell out. I’ve apparently given up my unbeholden indie ways and caved into the man, gone mainstream for a paycheck. In my defense, I’m paying two mortgages and the fourth year of my son’s college tuition and I moved across the continent to take care of my ailing mother-in-law. Baby’s gotta eat, man.
Moral Cowardice, he said.
And then he compared me to Neville Chamberlain and boy howdy, that stings.
Moral cowardice from my gated white privilege community (that’s actually how they advertised it on the brochure: weekly Knee Bending Appeasement seminars at the community center. Also, Wednesdays are Bingo Night).
I assume he’s responding to Resolutions, the essay I posted here to kick off the new year and the abbreviated version I posted on my Facebook page. I assume this, but can’t be certain. I would have kept Mr. Holden’s message private and asked him to clarify his comment, but he blocked any further communications immediately after sending the message.
It seems he called me a coward and then ran away – the equivalent of driving past my house and throwing a bag of flaming dog shit out the window without slowing down.
Like you do when you’re man of … moral courage.
I suggested that we resolve to be the people we say we are.
Be the people we say we are.
That’s my new year’s resolution: try to be the people we say we are.
This is apparently called “normalization.”
Oh my God! Not normalization! Anything but normalization! It’s normalization, everybody! Normalization.
And we can’t play nice with that.
Normalization: the latest entry in buzzword bingo.
Normalization is the – literal – Trump Card. Toss out “normalization” in any group of lefties discussing how to face the coming years and, bam! your liberal opponents are shamed into silence, shut down. You win. Shout it in righteous fury: This is not normal, damn it! Just keep shouting that. It’s not an actual strategy. It’s not any kind of actual plan. It provides no guidance toward any effective action whatsoever. But goddamn it feels good. It sounds decisive, doesn’t it? This will not stand! This is not normal! We will resist!
I hate to bust your bubble, but if you look around, if you’re paying attention, well, you’re going to discover an unpleasant truth. To wit: this is normal.
This. Is. Normal.
If it wasn’t, if this wasn’t normal, then we wouldn’t have to fight so hard every single day for reproductive rights, for LGBT rights, for Black Lives, for freedom from oppressive religion, for peace, for justice, for equality, for education, for healthcare, for adequate food and clean water and breathable air.
Ignoring it, ignoring that sea of red in the middle of the country, the KKK and neo-Nazis unashamed front and center at national political rallies, social media full of hate and invective, open racism and misogyny and xenophobia, pretending that’s not the normal state for much of America, refusing to acknowledge it and face it head on instead of with ineffectual bluster and catch phrases, well, that’s why you’re looking at President elect Donald Trump right now.
This is normal.
That’s the whole goddamned problem.
In point of fact, from the context, my responders think this should be normal. It should be their normality, that’s what they are saying, that hate and false news and conspiracy theories and dirty politics and pandering to fear should be normalized as our tactics.
Fight fire with fire.
Either we are the people we say we are, or we are not.
That’s what I said in Resolutions. That’s the pull quote I used on Twitter.
But the “problem” with that line of thinking, as epitomized by the response above, is morality, integrity, principle – all of those ideals that were of such supposed vital importance to the left for the last eight years – suddenly those things don’t seem to matter. What matters is expediency. The ends justify the means.
“We’re dealing with a criminal entity that doesn’t deserve ANY respect.”
Boy, where have I heard that before?
Leaving aside the part where I never used the word respect in reference to the man or the office, I’m not really sure how the above commenter determined the message of my article was forelock touching deference to Donald Trump when the pivot-point of the essay was this line
I stand foursquare against this guy and nearly everything he represents and I will continue to do so until I no longer have the means to resist.
You know, it’s funny.
My various inboxes are full of outrage from hardcore Lefties, Bernie Sanders supporters, who tell me they couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because they will never ever compromise their sacred principles – even if Bernie himself did. And yet – and yet – in the same email, in the very same email, they are willing to throw away their uncompromising principles and adopt the same tactics as the people they profess to despise.
In Resolutions I never said anything about Donald Trump’s fitness to hold office. I said it was irrelevant. While you are arguing about his fitness, Donald Trump is taking office.
I never said anything about Trump winning honestly. I said he won. While you argue over honesty and fairness and Russian interference and DNC chicanery, Donald Trump is taking office.
While you petulantly pretend that he is not your president, Donald Trump is taking leadership of your country.
You can unfollow me until the goons come to haul us all away if it makes you feel better, but Donald Trump is taking office.
Let me ask you something: if, when the war is over, you look around and discover that you have become your enemy – that is to say you have adopted everything about him that you once despised – then what was the point of the war in the first place?
Because no matter how pure your motives, if you adopt the morals, tactics, and rhetoric of your enemies, then in the bitter end you're no different whatsoever. If you adopt the tactics and morals of those you profess to despise, then the difference between you is only one of semantics.
You could have avoided the conflict altogether by just throwing in with him from the start.
The simple truth of the matter is this: if you’re willing to become what you despise solely in order to win, then winning is what is important to you.
And you’re lying to yourself by pretending otherwise.
So let’s get down to it.
In the essay, Resolutions, I asked commenters on my social media pages to:
1) Face the fact that Donald Trump will be President of the United States
I didn’t say he was prepared to be president.
I didn’t say he deserved to be president.
I didn’t say I wanted him to be president.
I didn’t say you wanted him to be president.
I said it’s time to stop fantasizing about alternate endings.
I said Trump is going to be president
That’s a statement of probability with a high degree of certainty. You’ve had plenty of time to come to grips with it. You can’t formulate an effective counter if you refuse to face reality. So start facing reality.
2) Face the fact that Trump will not abdicate the position or refuse to accept it.
I didn't say you had to like it.
I didn't say you had to "bend a knee."
I didn't say you had to take his orders.
I didn't say you had to respect either him or the office.
I said Trump is going to be president.
3) I asked you to please not wish for his death in my presence.
I didn’t say I want this guy to be president, because I do not. Adamantly do not.
But that doesn’t mean I wish him dead either.
If you do, then that's on you.
Donald Trump may be a deplorable excuse for a human being, but nothing he’s done warrants death. Certainly that may change in the future – or it may not – but in America we don’t execute people for what they might do. If you think that sounds sanctimonious, take it up with the men who wrote the Constitution.
4) I asked you to refer to him by his name, "Trump," instead of using childish playground epithets on my social media pages.
5) I asked you not to engage in slut-shaming, body-shaming, or personal attacks on the future First Lady or Trump's minor children on my page.
I’ll be honest, neither of those requests seem like any great burden to me.
It doesn’t seem that I’ve demanded any great sacrifice from you.
I didn’t come up with either of these standards. This is what reasonable adults, both liberal and conservative, are supposed to act like, isn’t it? I realize we all, me included, fall short of these ideals from time to time, that’s just human nature. But isn’t this the foundation of liberalism? isn’t this the Golden Rule? Isn’t this the cornerstone of Christianity, do unto others? Isn’t this how we want our children to behave? Isn’t this the world we want to live in?
You’ll also note that in the original text, I said “on my social media pages” and said that what you did on your own time was your business.
6) I pointed out that whether you like it or not, Donald Trump will be your president (so long as you are an American).
If you're an American his decisions are going to affect you directly.
Whether you like it or not, he’s going to be our president.
Now, look, you can hashtag every comment with #notmypresident until Russian tanks roll across the border, but Trump is going to be the president of the United States nevertheless.
You can say you don't acknowledge gravity, but it'll kill you whether you believe in it or not.
Twenty years of war taught me it's better to face reality than deny it – you tend to live longer that way.
Now, I concluded the article by asking you to check your facts, your sources, your memes, and your reasoning and to avoid deliberately engaging in conspiracy theory and rumor and hate for hate’s sake. I said what Donald Trump is doing right now, what he will likely do once in office, those things are bad enough already without resorting to the unhinged conspiracy nonsense that conservatives have exhibited in spades for the last eight years.
I did not tell you to respect Donald Trump.
I didn’t even suggest you respect the office.
I did not tell you to play nice.
I did not tell you to bend a knee.
I did not tell you to go along or to refrain from criticism.
I did not tell you to compromise your principles – you did that on your own.
I did not suggest appeasement in any fashion whatsoever, expressed or implied.
So, please, tell me which part of “act like a rational adult” is moral cowardice?
Please tell me which part of “resolve to be the people we say we are” is selling out?
Don’t be shy. Step right up. And tell me in detail, point by point and line by line, why I have set an impossibly high standard. Tell me why liberals can’t compromise their sacred principles when it comes to abortion or gay rights or the goddamned endangered snail darter or some pipeline in North Dakota, but you just can’t bear the thought of not being able to call Melania Trump an orange cum-guzzling whore on my Facebook page.
Please, by all means, step right up to the mic and explain it to me. The comment section is open.
Oh, I sound a little pissed off do I?
Well, you know, being compared to the guy who sold Europe to the Nazis for cheap tends to do that.
Listening to liberals crying into their beer, bellyaching because they just discovered politics are dirty and mean and unfair, resorting to the same silly childish bullshit as the people they claim to despise, tends to get on my nerves in short order.
I am pissed.
Frankly I look at how the opposition acts when they think nobody is watching, when they don’t realize the mic is live, and I tell myself I’m better than that.
I tell myself you’re better than that.
Maybe it’s my background. What distinguishes a Navy Warrant from other officers is the ever present awareness that the mic is never off. You must lead by example at all times and that the true test of integrity is not how you act when others are watching, but how you act when no one is.
Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, and that’s your business.
But it matters to me.
It matters because I have to look myself in the eye.
It matters because I have to look my son in the eye.
It matters because I have to look the men and women I once led into harm’s way in the eye.
It matters to me because I have look you people in the eye and either you lead by example all of the time, or you don’t.
It matters because if you want a better nation, then you have to be better citizens.
It matters because either we are the people we say we are, or we are not. There is no middle ground.
It matters because even though I never used the word in the text, Resolutions nevertheless was about respect.
Not respect for some politician. Because I’m an American and I don’t owe any politician a goddamned thing and neither should you.
Resolutions wasn’t even about respecting an office, not even the office of President of the United States.
It was about integrity.
It was about respect for ourselves.