Know what? I like Donald Trump more than Sarah Palin.
Oh, I’ve gone through all the stages of grief. Anger, denial, bargaining. I’ve reached acceptance. But I don’t believe that this is the worst possible outcome. I think my fellow liberals and I have spent the better part of a year demonizing Donald Trump. I also remember demonizing Mitt Romney who, though a cad, was otherwise relatively harmless compared to Trump, and at least comported himself as a statesman.
Here are my points of solitude.
1. Trump doesn’t seem to think God got him here. It’s not that God doesn’t act in our lives; I’ve felt compelled toward acts of kindness I would otherwise ignore by a sense I’ve no other explanation for except that what God wanted me to do. Crazy? Yeah, I think so too, actually. But I don’t think he believes that he’s somehow anointed by God to be president, and I take some relief in that. I don’t want a president who views his policies as a mandate from God. Because that’s just crazy, and there’s no reasoning with it.
2. He says what he thinks people used to hear. I’ve read so many accounts of staff members abashed because they had gone over the message they felt Trump needed to deliver, only to watch him go out and incite the crowd with his oratory by saying what they want to hear. I disagree in the strongest sense with what the crowds want to hear, but I honestly think there’s a way around it: surround him with love. Go to the speeches with your “Make America Great Again” signs and red ballcaps and hear him out. When he goes off-script and starts spouting hate, give him negative reinforcement. If he changes course and says things that seem remotely kind, provide positive reinforcement. Think of it as the “Laugh-O-Meter” on Nashville Now when Minnie Pearl would read jokes; you want to move the meter higher on the lines you like.
3. Remember: He’s a New Yorker. Even Hillary was from Chicago by way of Little Rock. New Yorkers are coarse, brash and less-than-friendly, but they’re also pragmatic and resilient. These are important qualities in people who identify themselves as New Yorkers; who believe that being a New Yorker is a critical part of themselves. I’ve had the pleasure to know more than a few New Yorkers, and once you get used to them, they’re not so bad.
4. As bad as Trump is, his acolytes are WAY worse. Again, Trump’s a cad, but Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani are worse by a magnitude. These are the top candidates for prominent positions in Trump’s cabinet, but I’m ill-convinced they will hold as much pull as his more trusted advisors, such as his daughter…
5. Ivanka. There’s never been a more creepily doting father than Trump when it comes to his daughter, Ivanka. We worry about Trumps antisemitism, but his beloved son-in-law is an observant Jew, and his daughter has also adopted that religion. I know someone who adopted the Jewish religion; it’s really, really hard. Once you’re in, that’s who you are. His daughter did that, and if she tells daddy he’s out of line, he’s going to listen.
6. Four years. We’ve got four years to get out shit together. That means we need to quit blocking traffic and setting stuff on fire and looking like jerks, and start positioning ourselves as leaders. We need to cultivate the candidates who will make a difference in a few years. The first time Barack Obama tried to attend the Democratic National Convention, they wouldn’t even let him in. A few years later, he gave the keynote address, and a few years after that, he was the nominee. We need someone young, well-spoken, likeable and eager. Male or female, black or white (though black might get more people to the polls), Trump only has four years before he faces another referendum. We best be ready.
7. I’m not adverse to ALL his ideas. Oh, yeah, the vast majority are terrible. But term limits for Congress? No more career politicians? That actually sounds OK. And who knows? Maybe there are others.
8. There is no mandate. This wasn’t as close as Bush and Gore, but Clinton still got the popular vote. The fact that he won is tempered by the fact that he didn’t win “big.” That should temper his first 100 days.
9. We get to vote against him again? Wait. Covered that in No. 6.
10. He’s not Ted Cruz? I got nothing.
The difference is, Trump is at least aware of what’s going on. Palin had no idea. And we know now — since he’s still alive and serving in the Senate — that concerns about McCain’s death were premature. I’m a white, heterosexual male in the American South; I’ll be OK. I weep for the others, the gay, the black, the immigrant. But I’m beside you. I hope I can shield you. MLK did a lot of great things — but it was LBJ who got the Voting Rights Act passed.
So we wait. We have a long wait. We’re going to lose a lot of what we thought was safe. I’m scared. I haven’t slept well. I won’t for a while. But I’m trying to find a silver lining. This is all I’ve got.