There have been several post-election step programs published. They're presented with the idea that many are still stunned, and living in disbelief, over the election of Donald Trump as president. With that in mind (and drawing inspiration from the articles), I am copying and putting together the following 10-step program for dealing with politics in our post-election Donald Trump-filled horror show.
Some of the steps below are serious, others not so much. I'll let you be the judge on this.
In all cases, here's my prescription for those of you who want to make it through our national electoral horror show. These are the 10 steps we need to embrace ...
1. DRINK: I agree with the NY Times' Gail Collins here because it's real simple. Some of you did this election night, and got it out of your system already. Good for you. You're now ready for the remaining 9 steps. For those of you who don't drink, you're in luck. Proposition 64 passed in California - and in a few other states - so you just might be able to spend the next 4 years in a smoke filled bubble.
2. CHANNEL YOUR INNER MICHELLE OBAMA: Remember, we live in a democracy. More importantly, while we can point to the FBI director putting his thumb on the election scale (and he did), or to the fact that Donald Trump sold Americans on promises he can not deliver on, the reality is we need to keep our chins up. We need to go high, in spite of how low this election cycle went.
3. OUR PRESIDENT?: Stay with me on this one. While my conservative friends are saying we need to unite behind President-elect Trump, the reality is I can't sign off on his rhetoric for stigmatizing and banning Muslims, scapegoating Mexicans, creating a hostile environment for the LGBT community, or the misogynistic and "locker room" language that he used during the campaign. So, is he our president? Yes. Was he my choice? No. Do I have to support his position, or his rhetoric if it continues? No. Trump has to earn my support. While he may be our president, I can't support a man whose rhetoric creates division and hate. If he wants my support, and to become "my" president, Trump needs to earn it.
4. TRUMP'S ACTUALLY A SMART GUY: You might not agree, but we have to start recognizing that Donald Trump might be smarter than we gave him credit for in the past. Sure he's used the tax and bankruptcy laws in ways many of us find repulsive. But it was legal. Ergo, we need to acknowledge that Donald Trump has used and abused the GOP, and our electoral system, in the same way that he does our tax laws. We might not like the outcome, but there might actually be something to Donald Trump's ability to read a mob while conning an entire party into believing in him. This takes some kind of smarts.
5. SECRETARY OF STATE: How does Donald Trump begin to win my trust? Let's start by making good choices when it comes to his cabinet. The big one for me is Secretary of State. If he picks someone like Newt Gingrich or John Bolton we're pretty much done.
6. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Another trust builder for me is who he picks for Attorney General. Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani (or others like them) are two additional "trust busters" for me.
7. DOMESTIC POLICY: How Donald Trump approaches issues like Obamacare, the LGBT community, social security, our national parks, and energy. It's one thing to run a clown show during the campaign, but if he's as crazy and incoherent as his campaign rhetoric sounded then it's almost impossible for me to embrace Trump as "my president" over the next 4 years. On the positive side, we know that Donald Trump has already walked back his language and tone on 9 issues that got his base riled up, and helped get him elected.
8. EVERY TRUMP SUPPORTER'S NOT A RACIST OR A MISOGYNIST: This one might be tough for many to handle, especially when you heard the rhetoric, saw the rallies, and know that his supporters STILL voted for him. Here we need to recognize that many of Trump's supporters are simply hurting from economic insecurity and the sense that the Democratic Party (and Hillary Clinton) was not their path forward. Keep in mind that President Clinton pushed NAFTA across the finish line (which lost blue collar jobs in places like Michigan), signed the FSMA in 1999, which gave Wall Street the keys to the bank, and that President Obama did a great job saving Wall Street while pretty much stiffing Main Street after 2008. Trump knew how to fan the flames here. Once we recognize this we can understand what happened in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
9. THERE WERE POSITIVE RESULTS LOCALLY: In California Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate while several initiatives (including Prop. 64) were passed. Locally, here in Kern County Andrae Gonzales took on and beat a Republican incumbent for city council, while 23-year old Jose Gurrola became mayor in the city of Arvin.
10. STILL DEPRESSED?: If all of this is too soon, or asking a bit too much, revert back to #1. Rinse and repeat ... until you feel better.